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A primal challenge for Mark

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  • A primal challenge for Mark



    Here goes


    Mark I'd be interested in your experience if you committed to not driving in a car for a one week period.

    For example, when you head to the markets you don't take the car but instead grab the carry bags and use public transport (or walk if reasonable), then carry those groceries home.

    Sound primal?

    I had a similar experience a few years ago when I had to work interstate. Being a 1 car family I left the car with the wife and had to use public transport or walk everywhere for 3 months. What a change in lifestyle that was, and mainly in a good way.


    Anyway, you give us lots of challenges, thought I would throw one back at you.


    cheers


  • #2
    1



    We've been carless by choice for over two years now and generally people's reactions consist of 'Oh my god...how DO you do it.' We tote around our two kids (8 and 10) and they don't seem to mind (most of the times). We're instilling quite a bit of 'move slowly' into them at a very young age.


    It's actually quite a bit easier to do than people really realize. We walk everywhere, even in the -30C cold Canadian winters. Taxis for grocery trips, buses to get to those further destinations when it's not biking weather.


    We also live in a city of 50K so I'm sure that helps out a bit living in a smaller city.

    I grok, therefore I am.

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    • #3
      1



      I have survived without a car quite easily. But the convenience of having a car is something that is hard to live without once you have experienced it for a decent amount of time. It is like getting high speed internet. When you lived with 56k, it didn't seem too bad, you did what you had to. But after having high speed for a year, and you try to go back to 56k, you ready to kill yourself.

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      • #4
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        Hahaha...yeah. I had a buddy leave his jeep with me for a week while he was out of town. Man it was nice!

        I grok, therefore I am.

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        • #5
          1



          Interesting post, as I've been thinking a lot lately about how much exercise I've been getting since I gave up my car back in May of this year. I guess that's six months ago now. When I did it, I committed to going carless for six months, and then, depending on how it was going, try for another six months. I've decided to go the full year, and I've been thinking of getting a small pickup truck when the year is up.


          The thought of having a vehicle again (6 months from now) got me wondering if I'd be able to maintain a carless lifestyle if there's a vehicle in the driveway. It seems easier when there's no choice.


          I live about 2 blocks from my bus stop. I take the bus to work every day. The bus drops me off exactly half a mile from my office, which is a nice uphill walk, then down hill on the way back. There's a great Asian grocery store across the street from my office, so I often stock up on fresh veggies and coconut milk there, carrying it home in my backpack.


          About twice a week I get off my homeward bound bus near a Trader Joe's and a Safeway, where I buy some essentials, and then with my purchases in my backpack, I walk half a mile to the bus stop for the ride the rest of the way home. I always carry a pedometer in my pocket, and aim for 8,000 steps a day, but often go well over 10,000, and a lot of that time I'm carrying an extra 20 pounds or so in my backpack.


          In the past 6 months I've ridden the bus a LOT and only taken a taxi once. I've borrowed my daughter's car every two weeks for a quick shopping of larger items, like dog food, laundry detergent, etc. We had large stuff delivered once, too, from shopping at Safeway.com.


          It's been an adjustment, but it was fairly easy because for the last six months while I still had my car, I did not allow myself to drive it more than once a week. As this adjustment period went along, I found that by the 4th month or so, I was only driving my car maybe once every 10 days, and by the 6th month, maybe once every 15 days, and that's when I knew for sure I could live without it.


          Truly, the only reason I'm thinking of buying a small pickup is that I have a large garden and backyard chickens, and it would be a handy thing to be able to drive to the hardware store and the feed store without needing to borrow someone's vehicle. Plus, I could loan it to friends/family for hauling stuff. I still haven't totally convinced myself that I need it, so I'll see how I feel after the next six months.

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          • #6
            1



            I have never had a car in my life, but then again I have always tailored my life in a way that facilitated that choice.

            Public transport is very good and subsidized in Austria and if I am in need of a car I get a cab.


            So far, it has not been a big challenge in my life, although at times, convenience goes out of the window and Germanic planing steps in.

            M

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            • #7
              1



              While I like on and off-roading driving, after living in cities like SF or NY, I never want to go back to not being a pedestrian and public transport user. Plus there is something about cities with a good public transport that makes them, imo, very enjoyable. People hang out more in the streets, and the city businesses morph to take advantage of that with street cafes and the like.


              Plus people seem to take care more of themselves when being pedestrians. The fact that they expose themselves to other people more seems to be a good source of motivation to work on their appearance.


              I have never seen so many beautiful edgy people together in the street as in NY or SF.

              “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde
              "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw
              "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull

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              • #8
                1



                I am also car-free, granted I live in a reasonably bike friendly town, so biking isn't as scary as it might be in a larger, more sprawling metropolis.


                I have two water-proof panniers (saddle-bags) and can pretty much hoist around anything I would need in those, from big grocery trips, to changes of clothes and shoes when I have to ride up to the high school to coach. I also from time to time load up camping gear and go for bike excursions for the weekend.


                I enjoy the freedom of self-propelled transportation. It's also EXPONENTIALLY cheaper, physically rewarding, and better for the environment and my community then driving.


                Not that on the odd occassion (i.e., from October-May when it rains virtually EVERY day)I don't think about how convienient and easy driving would be... haha

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                • #9
                  1



                  I'm all for people choosing to go carless.


                  But will you be walking everywhere or using public transportation when you are 92 and frail? No, you will be depending on others - with cars - to get your groceries, get to the doctor, etc.


                  Just some perspective from one who is 29 years from that age, which my parents are.

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                  • #10
                    1



                    Thanks for the challenge, Aussie. I may give it a try if I can conceivably do it all out for a sustained period of time. It would be hard to say I'd done it while also doing a good deal of traveling for the book promo. I'll keep it in mind and report back if and when. Cheers!

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                    • #11
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                      I'd love to go carless. Maybe to get some groceries but it's not practical for getting to/from work.

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                      • #12
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                        OTB..it is a cultural thing! My grandfather who lived up to 94 used the trams and buses up to his very end.

                        We have special ones that are low on the ground for disabled people, the elderly and prams.

                        I am not saying cars have no place in our world but sometimes we chose convenience above everything else.

                        m

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                        • #13
                          1



                          I grew up in the country, so our family always had 2 cars.. more when we got older and had jobs at all hours of the day. I moved to the city (small by most standards) 2 years ago and found myself using the car very little, but it kept taking the same huge chunks out of my account. When I lost my job in April I made my mind up and sold it. I walk and cycle everywhere, and I have a motorcycle for longer trips outside the city.


                          It's a great way of living. If I'm in money again, or move back to the country I may consider another car, but it's more likely to be practical, rather than the sporty classics I was so attached to before

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                          • #14
                            1



                            I'm carless and happy. I live in the city centre, which is great. Walking, cycling, buses, and trains can get me anywhere I need to get. Not always in the most convenient way, but beats the hassle and expense of running a car. Obviously the rent's more expensive since I'm in the centre, but again running a car is expensive, especially with the huge fuel prices outside of the US.


                            There's maybe a few moments a year when I wish I did have a car. These generally involve either moving heavy things (furniture, guitar amps...) or getting to a particularly remote location.


                            Then again I live in the UK, which is a bit better in terms of public transport than the US, although not quite up there with most of mainland Europe. Friends from the USA and Canada have said that the massive sprawling cities there combined with poor public transport basically necessitate having a car. Not sure if this is an overgeneralisation or it's true?

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                            • #15
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                              @gazb

                              I live in Toronto, Canada, and have been without a car for a few years and it so easy to go about my business. When I got rid of the car, it was like a weight of my back. However, that is only because I live near the city centre near subway and buses, lots of shops, cafes, etc. with much pedestrian traffic. However, had I not had a car when I lived in the suburbs, it would have been a living hell. The public transit here is okay-ish, in parts, but not nearly as good as any similarly sized city in Europe (6 million).


                              @lovestoclimb

                              I'm surprised and impressed that you can manage your way so well in North Bay. My brother lives in Lloydminster, Alberta -- which is smaller -- and the public transport is non-existent. Being car-less is like being homeless there. I think there are many towns and cities, and lifestyles, particularly in North America, that are built around having cars, so being without one would be a lonely existence, indeed. Sadly.

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