A Year of Living Carless

5 01 2011

Have you ever thought of giving up your car? Does the thought make you break out in a cold sweat? Does it sound impossible? It’s not. I’ve managed for over a year now without a car. I must admit that when I first thought of selling my car and going without one, I felt fearful.

I was living in Austin, Texas…a really hard place to get around without a car. I made the decision to move out to the Berkeley/Albany area (East Bay) in San Francisco to live near one of my daughters and baby grandson. They moved out here and have gone carless. I saw that it was possible and decided to give it a try. It certainly simplified my move. I just put all my stuff in a 16-foot truck and drove it out here (okay, that wasn’t simple…that was scary and long and challenging) and didn’t have to worry about how to get a vehicle out here too.

So how DO you go without a car? How does that work?

  • You do a lot of walking. I walk to see my daughter. I walk to the YMCA (gym) to work out. I walk to the grocery store…and yes, I carry groceries home (just not $150 worth at a time…more like $15 or $20 worth). If I want to do anything, I start out walking.
  • Sometimes…though rarely…I take the bus. If I do, I walk to the bus stop.

    Credit: “The Carless Generation” article on http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com

  • More often, I’ll take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit…light rail system) if I want to go downtown San Francisco or other places too far to walk to. Of course, I walk the mile to the BART station and the mile home from the BART station.
  • On very rare occasions I’ve gone places in a car with a friend (still making those out here).
  • I’ve taken a taxi once when I came back from a trip later than expected and didn’t want to lug my luggage the mile to my house late at night.
  • And of course I could always rent a car, but in the 12.5 months I’ve lived here, I haven’t yet rented a car. If I did, I’d walk to the car rental place.
  • To repeat the first point…you do a lot of walking…and that’s a good thing!

What have been the benefits of going without a car for over a year?

  • I’ve lost weight! Remember all that walking? It pays off!
  • I’ve gained stamina and strength…not only from the walking, but carrying groceries or whatever.
  • I don’t have to pay for gas, car insurance, car maintenance, parking, car washes, or anything to do with a car. I’ve avoided spending a LOT of money.
  • I was able to sell my car and use that money for other things.
  • I don’t have to try and find a parking spot. In this area, that’s a big deal.
  • I never get stuck in traffic. I walk right past all the people who are backed up in traffic.
  • I just walk out the door and I’m on my way and never have to worry about a car that’s broken down or not working properly.
  • I’m not polluting the environment.
  • I get to be outside in nature, get more sunlight (and that valuable Vitamin D), and enjoy Mother Earth more.
  • I have slowed down and experience less stress.

Are there any negatives to not owning a car?

  • If you live in a spread-out urban area (like Austin) that doesn’t have good public transportation, not having a car is surely a real challenge.
  • I haven’t shopped at Costco during the whole year (and I really miss it). I just can’t carry enough at a time to make it worth the 2.3 mile walk each way to Costco.
  • Sometimes during the rainy season (which we’re in now) when it’s also cold, windy, and the rain has been pelting for days, I wish I could travel in a car.
  • It may take more time to walk somewhere than to ride in a car (depending on traffic). I have to allow the time to walk somewhere when planning on going somewhere.
  • I can’t give anyone a ride anywhere (maybe that’s a positive!).
  • I can’t transport really large items. If I must have them, I order them online.
  • I don’t go places at night as much as I used to.
  • I don’t venture out to other areas as much as I would if I owned a car.

When I look at the two lists, in sheer numbers there are almost as many negatives as positives, but the positives are a lot more important to me than the negatives. The thing I’ve gotten from going carless for a year is a real sense of freedom. Owning a car is EXPENSIVE and a HASSLE. Walking is CHEAP and EASY plus it has the added benefit of improving your health and fitness.

Will I always be without a car? Not if I move to an area less friendly and accessible to walking than Berkeley and Albany. But for right now, I’m enjoying this freedom of being carless. Try it…you might like it!

7/20/11 NOTE: Of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., San Francisco is now ranked the 2nd most walkable behind New York. Check out the scores at http://www.walkscore.com/rankings. Oakland, which is in the East Bay (where I live) is ranked the 10th most walkable large city. And Austin? My former home town? It is ranked the 31st most walkable large city and scores 91 out of 100. That might be true if you live downtown. Albany, CA, where I live now has a walkable score of 95 out of 100 and is called a “walker’s paradise.” I’d have to agree!

7/21/11 NOTE: Thanks to WordPress for putting this post on the front page! I am loving reading all the comments that you are leaving about your experiences of going carless…or desires to. After 19 months without a car, I’m still loving being carless…at least most of the time!

6/21/13 NOTE: I am still carless…now for 3.5 years…and still loving it!

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204 responses

6 01 2011
dressingmyself

I live in England, but visit the USA once or twice a year. I have wondered if it would even be possible to live without a car there.
I live close to a bus route and train station. I own a car, but most days I don’t use it.
Once a month I order all my heavy groceries on the internet and they are delivered to my house for a very small charge (I guess $5). I don’t know if this is possible in California. I do this more because I hate supermarket shopping than because of the driving part.
At present people over 60 in England are entitled to free bus travel. This may not last forever because of the economic climate, but it does enable people like me to travel to nearby cities for free.

9 02 2011
MaryAnn Reynolds

I’ve done this a couple of times in Austin for a few months. I live in a central location and used my bike a lot! (Best shape I’ve ever been in!) Austin now has a car2go franchise and light rail, which might make it more feasible to go carless.

23 04 2011
Janice Bera

ive done it too

20 07 2011
Mikalee Byerman

Wow. Congratulations on this — I can’t even imagine going without a car for any length of time.

I do wish more communities would embrace models of public transportation making this idea an easier one for people living there…

Fun post!

🙂

20 07 2011
PCC Advantage

I haven’t lived without a car since I was old enough to get my license…that makes me sound a bit spoiled, huh? lol. I am so impressed that you were able to do it! Kudos to you! 🙂

20 07 2011
purna pragnya

Very interesting.
If work and errands can be managed without a car that’s great.
I have car, but driving in the city gives me a backache. So I’m learning to do the walk.. “a little shopping at a time, and use buses for longer distances.
I like the idea of using internet to purchase groceries, that may not work here in Bangalore but some shops do deliver home if you place an order on the phone. I have to try that.
Thank you.

20 07 2011
Kathryn McCullough

Great post! I lived for nearly 4 years in Dallas without a car, which was really, really difficult! I had no choice. I couldn’t afford one. Now I don’t know how I did it!

However, it sounds like your situation is very doable. My partner Sara and I also lived for a year in Vietnam without a car, and we managed to get by.

By the way, congrats on Freshly Pressed!

Kathy

20 07 2011
Jennifer Clayton

This is really cool. This is one of the great examples how technology has messed us up. I always liked the idea of walking, or either riding a bike from place to place. You get tons of exercise, and that’s super important in a like America where people are gaining more and more weight in general. You get to see the beauty of nature, enjoy it and de-stress. You don’t get caught in traffic jams, have to pay for gas or car maintenence or insurance.

I am sure living without a car is difficult, at least at first. But I can imagine the benefits really are worth it, as you have posted. Right now, I don’t have a car and I have to walk to work if I don’t get a ride. It is a lot of exercise and the weather can be so beautiful. 🙂

Thanks for the post!

20 07 2011
sallyjeangenter

Hawaii is a good place to go carless. Nothing is far and they have a great public transportation system. The bus gives a person time to read or take a nap.

If going carless is impractical, try to keep driving to a minimal. Plan trips that take advantage of several stops on the same route.

20 07 2011
pezcita

I’ve often wished I could go without a car, but since I’m 3 miles from the nearest bus stop and at least 10 miles from all the active (better) parts of the nearest big city, it’s just not possible, even in the summer. Hats off to you for sticking it out all year!

20 07 2011
courtneyrachelle

You forgot to mention that you could buy a bike and use that if you don’t feel like walking.

20 07 2011
The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

Good for you! We wouldn’t make it without a car living in the country, but at the same time, we drive less because we have to consider how important the trip is. It balances out.

20 07 2011
Lonnie

Taking public transportation does give you the opportunity to meet other people and interact them. I choose to take the train or bus over driving lots of times.

Congrats on the FP!

20 07 2011
reelcat

Very impressed with you.
And a great post. I agree that there are places where not having a car is definitely better than actually having a car ( Like London U.K. or New York where having a car is just useless 🙂
But If you live in a smaller town which is just big enough that you can’t walk everywhere but is, on the other hand, small enough that public transport is more like in the third world countries one in an hour or so, being without a car can seriously disrupts your day to day life. So in my case I compromise: where I can walk or take a train or a bus, I do, when I have to be on time on different locations in a short period of time, I take the car. So all in all, I think I’m doing just fine on the walking part 🙂

20 07 2011
abbylorenz

I have thought about it, but I live in L.A. I think the least amount of vehicle you need to survive there is a Vespa.

20 07 2011
MrPopularSentiment

I’ve never owned a car. At first, it was the cost. I was a student and barely able to feed myself, so getting a car would just have been stupid. Then, it was the security of being able to put all that extra cash into savings! And now, there’s also the fear that if I ever get a car, I’ll never be able to not have one again because I’ll just get too accustomed to the convenience.

For shopping, I still do most of it at Costco (about 2miles away). I just use a big camping backpack (it’s huge! designed for longer trips). If you get a really good quality backpack, you can carry some really heavy stuff without much back and shoulder pain. Just remember to keep the straps tight!

Now that I have a baby, I imagine that I must make quite a sight! I carry my son in a front-carrier and then put my groceries on my back, plus whatever additional bags I carry with my hands.

The health benefits are great, and the financial benefits are just amazing!

20 07 2011
Laura

Nice post. I grew up in Texas, actually, and I agree that it’s difficult to live without a car when everything is so spread out. You can’t walk outside for even two minutes before you start to sweat. It’s also bad for your skin to be under the sun so much. As I write, it is currently 101˚F at 10:32 AM.

Having a car is expensive to maintain, but in the south it’s worth it. The cost of living is already much cheaper than say, NYC or Boston, where they actually don’t need cars to move around. So it evens out.

Congrats on FP.

20 07 2011
Rachel Heu

I resisted owning a car for a long time. Like you, I did a lot of walking… and a lot of long-boarding (big board with cushy wheels). Where ever I lived, it was in a downtown area, so it made it really easy… and it helps with the figure, as you say. Where I’m from, there were always a lot of bike paths and it was very pedestrian-friendly. I don’t have experience with Austin and gathered that going without a car must be a little more difficult to do there through your story. Way to go!

20 07 2011
wrap me in phyllo dough

Rock on! This is a great post. I just spent 10 months teaching English in Greece, and was without a car the whole time I was there. I used public transportation to get in and out of the city (Salonica, where I lived) and travel all around the country through the long-distance bus system. I’m from Montana originally, so I’m used to driving everywhere, as things are simply really spread out here and we don’t really have public transportation. But I loved the chance to save money and walk as much as possible. I’m striking a compromise now that I’m home of starting to bicycle places instead!

20 07 2011
joehoover

Living London I’m spoilt for transport but choose to cycle everywhere, but can understand how it is difficult elsewhere. When visiting friends in the Australian suburbs and with no car you couldn’t get anywhere fast, there were 3 bus routes but terrible scheduling had them all arriving at the same time so you missed them and you’d be waiting an hour.

20 07 2011
I don’t know, do you 014 « Mirror Universe

[…] does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Sorry, Apple doesn’t allow access to CoreLightBulb.” A Year of Living Carless « IT DAWNED ON ME “Have you ever thought of giving up your car? Does the thought make you break […]

20 07 2011
Lakia Gordon

I’ve never thought of giving up my own car, but it seems like the rewards would be so great. Thanks for sharing.

20 07 2011
Luna de Júpiter

Congratulations, Diane. I have been carless for over 3 years now, and it’s good. By walking more, it’s easier for me to stop at places I wouldn’t stop to go while driving, so now my food shopping is a lot more interesting, less from the supermarket and more from the bakery, the fruit stall, etc. I confess I do use a taxi to come back from Costco a few times a year.

20 07 2011
gothichydran126

Before going to college out of state I didn’t have a car. I walked and used the Las Vegas city bus to get everywhere. I remember those days being really fun too.
But as soon as I started college in Atlanta, GA I needed a car. Not only to transport art materials but to get around because everything (even the walmart) was far away, and the city bus/ subway didn’t go everywhere.
The next place I move to (hopefully Oregon or overseas) I’m definatly going to go without a car. Bus, bike and walking with the help of city transit.

20 07 2011
pedthered

Super post. Well done you. Please allow me to recommend a Brompton (www.brompton.co.uk) folding bicycle, it’s light, can be carried on a train or bus and assembled in less than 30 seconds. There are two dealers in SF. While they are not particularly cheap, they are a quality product. I’ve given up my fixed frame bike as I can’t get it on public transport.

20 07 2011
Emily

I live in a village in Cornwall and I don’t have a car. I manage to get by with walking, bus trips, train trips, the odd cycle ride and some lifts from family members. With the costs of insurance, fuel and road tax being as high as they are in the UK at the moment, I don’t understand how people can afford to own a car let alone multiple cars and there are a lot of households with something like one car per adult.

20 07 2011
Elyse

Kudos to you for this new adventure. I live in Chicago suburbs and take the bus to work as often as possible.

The difficulty I encounter is the weather. It’s a 2-mile walk to the bus stop each way. When it’s stinking hot in the summer (97 degrees today with 110 degree heat index), it’s just not feasible to walk to the bus stop given my professional attire. Different issue in the winter when there is heavy snow and sidewalks aren’t shoveled; can’t safely walk on sidewalks or streets then.

20 07 2011
Tim Shey

I used to work at a lumber yard in Ames, Iowa and would either walk or take the bus.

I have been hitchhiking the United States for most of 15 years, so I walk a lot and thumb for a ride. I owned a pickup for three months in that time and I picked up a lot of hitchhikers and gave them rides. I think Americans need to walk more.

“A Week in the Life of a Hitchhiker”

http://www.digihitch.com/article1946.html

“Hitchhiking Stories”

http://tim-shey.blogspot.com/p/hitchhiking-stories.html

20 07 2011
crazypumba05

I really enjoyed reading your blog.

I have never owned a car. I would like to say that I have stayed car-less because of all the environmental implications of owning a car, but it wouldn’t be true. In my country, roads are very busy and very crowded places, especially if you are in a 4-wheeler that is not a means of public transport. Walking or traveling by bus or train is not only easy but also fun! I get to meet, experience and befriend people who I would otherwise not have seen. The very poor, students, farmers selling their produce, migrant workers with their children, women traveling to and from their office jobs, even people selling peanuts, stringing flowers in a basket while traveling in a bus…I see all of these every day in the buses I take, or in the trains that I travel by for long distances. It keeps me in touch with the spirit of my city…

20 07 2011
mrbricksworld

BART once again says the day! I like BART. BART for President.

Congrats on being freshly transplanted, Opps I mean Freshly Pressed.

Have a great day!

Mir Bricks

20 07 2011
A Year of Living Carless (via IT DAWNED ON ME) « It's impossible to be unhappy on a skateboard.

[…] A Year of Living Carless (via IT DAWNED ON ME) Have you ever thought of giving up your car? Does the thought make you break out in a cold sweat? Does it sound impossible? It's not. I've managed for over a year now without a car. I must admit that when I first thought of selling my car and going without one, I felt fearful. I was living in Austin, Texas…a really hard place to get around without a car. I made the decision to move out to the Berkeley/Albany area (East Bay) in San Francisco to … Read More […]

20 07 2011
Peter

Not only have I had cars all my adult life I’ve also been the captain of one of those land-locked commodity freighters known as an 18 wheeler. It’s wonderful that some are able to do what you have done; many a day I have wished I could too — but at this point in life it would be agony to learn new habits. But old dogs can learn new tricks.
Nice blog.
http://peterpazucha.com
http://ishootpeople.wordpress.com

20 07 2011
mylibrarycardworeout

Wow. I am not sure if I would be able to live without a car. All of the really big stores are far away from me. I also have like no stamina.You could also think if getting a bicycle and get one of those trailer things for the bicycle so then you could go to Costco.

20 07 2011
bigcitybabycarrots

Great post. Since moving out of the suburbs when I was 18, I’ve never owned a car. Now I live in NYC area where you can really get by without one. I’ve loved to learn public transportation and walking.

20 07 2011
fireandair

Yikes, I live in southern California. Giving up my car would be like giving up my legs anyway.

20 07 2011
AvesMomma

I would love to be able to live without a car but where I live it’s virtually impossible. We’re a rural suburban area which means we have a lot of stuff the suburbs have (too many houses, lots of traffic, tons of people and stores) but still have farms (though dwindling) horrible public transportation, and everything is pretty far apart unless you live in an apartment behind one of the big box stores…kinda depressing really.
Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! I really enjoyed your post.

20 07 2011
liradand

If I lived in a place where there was good public transportation, I would definately go carless. Unfortunately, in my city, it would be impossible. But I really wish I could.
Dari
http://www.stillconfusedafter25years.wordpress.com

20 07 2011
Christine Dionese

Living by the ocean in San Diego has afforded me more by owning less. NO car has actually led to other unexpected freedoms and delights such as 90 percent stress reduction, time to respond to my environment thoughtfully, observe more, move a bit more slowly, become more conscious of what people are doing and how things transition from block to block…

As a health care provider and development consultant to socially conscious businesses, I’ve tried to persuade some of my patients and clients to try going car-less. Most feign public transport, but I find it one of the best ways to understand one’s demographics and learn how to live with fellow community members better. Sometimes there’s only one way to get a fresh perspective on your surroundings and going car less is certainly one of them!

Great post, thanks for sharing!

20 07 2011
Jessica Rose

I’m so jealous. I wish I could survive without my car, but I live in suburbia and in addition to everything being spread out, there’s no public transportation what-so-ever. Maybe one day I’ll live the city life & say good-bye to my car!

20 07 2011
misplacedperson

Bikes! Decent bike will quadruple your car-free accessible distance. You can carry a surprising amount in the panniers as well.

20 07 2011
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

Yep, it’s all about the public transit and being close to things you need to be close to. When we lived in San Diego we could walk to the library, post office, grocery store, restaurants, drug stores… we still drove a lot. Here in the South we drive always.

20 07 2011
Shanna Germain

This is a great post! I live in Portland, OR and have been carless for a couple of years. It’s SO worth it. I mostly bike and walk, and occasionally use public transit. I do use Zipcar once a month or so for long-trips and/or hauling large things (dog to vet, furniture, etc.). If I can get away with it, I’ll never buy another car again 🙂

20 07 2011
Elise

I grow up in NYC where most people don’t drive and have no driver’s license for their entire lives. I moved to Los Angeles where I managed without a car. I didn’t mind riding the subways and buses. With my next move a car was necessary. I do miss walking in an urban area. I had great legs, knew how to get around better, and didn’t have all the worries of owning a car.

20 07 2011
Part-time Housewife

Suburbia does not allow one to go sans car.

20 07 2011
gaycarboys

Odd coming from someone who writes car reviews but I love walking. It’s a shame our public transport here in Sydney SUCKS! It’s overcrowded, unreliable and expensive. Not the things you want to hear when you’re trying to get people onto it! Great post though!

20 07 2011
asyuli4211

if I ever move to a large urban area like New York or Toronto I would probably go without a car. I love walking places and do so on a regular basis. It would be a problem in the winter though in a snowy area. Good job and hope you enjoy being carless!

20 07 2011
Eva McCane

brilliant! i’d love to do this…unfortunately, i live in a city where it’s really not an option. plus i have a 2-year-old. but perhaps down the road i’ll give it a go. i commend you.
http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

20 07 2011
creamsupplies

It’s a bold move to get rid of a car – but I did it and found I soon got used to cycling and public transport. I actually find that I have more time now because I only shop online do never even need to set foot inside a store.

20 07 2011
thegameiam

I’ve had to become carless for the last several weeks due to problems with my arms (can’t handle the vibrations). I live in Washington DC, which is comparably easy as a walking / public transit city, and the largest frustrations I’ve had had to do with getting from one suburban area to another. My work commute went from ~1 hour each way to about ~1.75 hours each way. On the plus side, I read more books.

20 07 2011
kelliefish13

I haven’t had a car since I moved to the UK a year and a half ago, instead I cycle around town and take the bus or train if going further. I absolutely love it! I am much healthier and fitter now, I have a basket on my bike for shopping and a kindle for train trips. We have hired a car a couple of times, once to move house and the other to be support crew for Oxfam trailwalker. But the rest of the time its easier and cheaper to be car free. Hopefully we can find away to continue when we go back to New Zealand at the end of the year.

20 07 2011
Happy Scrappy Blogger

I was car-free in Philly, Boston, and Denver. I shopped online a bit more to avoid lugging stuff. But I learned to eat fresh, too. I shop every few days to keep my # of bags to a minimum. I still shop that way, even after moving to a place where a car is necessary. I still walk to the market when it’s not 110 degrees, even though I have a car. For big items in the city, I used car-sharing. It’s cheap, and you can choose the car to suit your need. Budgeting the cost of car-sharing forced me to trip-chain (plan my shopping or other big-item trips) to make the trip quicker and to save money. You might consider that for monthly Costco trips.

As for snow, car-free means no scraping ice or snow off your car! My co-workers were late for work in their car, but with some warm clothing and boots I was always on time on snowy days. I found great rain gear, too, which made bad weather not-so-bad.

Glad you’re enjoying being car-less. It’s easier than most people think. Most are just unwilling to plan a bit in advance. I saved so much money that I could rent a nice, reliable car for day or weekend trips.

20 07 2011
broadsideblog

It’s very much a question of where you live, your health, the safety and climate — and quality of public transportation. I grew up in Toronto and Montreal, both of which are easy to bike in, and never learned to drive until I was 30. I did not own a car til then, when I moved to rural NH then suburban NY where you cannot survive without one. I would love to drive MUCH less than I now do; my town is also filled with very steep hills and I now have severe arthritis in one hip, so walking is painful, carrying heavy loads makes it worse and hills are a no-no. Cars are not simply for lazy folk!

If you live in any major city, you’ve got options: trains/buses, taxis, cycling and walking. Very little need for a car.

20 07 2011
My Camera, My Friend

Congratulations on going carless for so long. I bought my first car about a year ago. Before that, I was in college and either didn’t go out much, took the bus, or walked. But now I’m living in an area that’s not too friendly to walking. Also, it helps to be able to tell potential employers I have a car.

20 07 2011
Butterfly Jewel

Hi. I have gone without a car for almost 2 years now with a brief respite in between of a few months. I pretty much didn’t have a choice as I was living abroad and left my car back at home. So, I know it’s possible.Kudos for you for having had a car and making the brave decision to try life without it all by choice!

20 07 2011
Go Send or Disobey

I didn’t even learn to drive till I was 26, unheard of in my small town. Several years later I gave up my car for financial reasons. It was tough shopping for a family of 4 without a car but I did it for almost 2 years. Now I have a car once again but it’s so that I can live out in the country and commute to the city. As soon as I can find a way to earn an income online I will sell my car again! I love the freedom of being without a car. I can spend money on things I want to rather than that gas-guzzling tyrant. I have a really nice road bike so I keep in good shape when I travel that way. My life was much less stressful and I was so much more in touch with nature and my neighbors.

San Francisco and the East Bay are great for going carless. It is more difficult up here closer to Sacramento. Congratulations on doing it! Keep up the good work!

20 07 2011
Mary Elisabeth Miller

It is hard..I’m really broke, and someone sabotaged my car almost two years ago, and I haven’t been able to replace it (except for one month..and then that one fell apart!) anyway, I used to be in my car at least half the day. Back then I thought the gas prices were killing me, but now I’m pretty sure it was just not slowing down to relax. I’m in the Kansas City area and there’s not much to do on foot, it takes hours to get anywhere. The public transportation is very lacking. But I do know when I get another vehicle it’ll be a moped, and I’ll only use it once in a while, for fun going out purposes, versus all those errands I used to do. Good to see someone else does this as well, and it was interesting to think about switching locations. Thanks!

20 07 2011
myonepreciouslife

Love it. I’ve never had a car and always either walk or take transit. As for your cons list, you might want to look into a car share program like zipcar. Then you can do your occasional costco runs or whatever.

20 07 2011
fergyhun

I’m from the UK but have lived in the US for almost 7 years and it has always struck me how much more of a car-centred culture it is here. Where I live now in the South teenagers drive at 15 and most drive themselves to high school which is totally unheard-of back home. I didn’t drive until my mid- twenties, my husband was almost 30. I know many people at home who can easily get around without a car, by bus, train or yes, even walking!

I couldn’t do it where I live now in the South, we have no buses or local trains, it would really be impossible, but I can see it would work in some other areas. Good for you, really enjoyed your post. Congrats on being fresshly pressed!

20 07 2011
eggosforsupper

Love this post! We are a one-car family and my husband is out with the car all day. It means my two little boys and I do, as you say, a lot of walking. But it’s great – especially in the winter when you’d normally not get out as much (here in Quebec). As a bonus it means my husband does the grocery shopping (yay!).

20 07 2011
Mark Hayden

I’m really happy to read this post. I just moved to Colorado where it is very easy to go without a car, so I’ve decided to not buy one until I absolutely need it. Colorado also has a really big biking community, so it’s as if cyclists get more respect on the streets than cars. It’s going really well so far and it’s very easy. I also found an apartment very close to my job and the grocery store, so I don’t have to ride my bicycle more than a mile each day.

I agree with all your positives and negatives, too, especially the one about not being able to visit other places. But honestly,for me, that has just made other places all that more special when I do actually visit them.

20 07 2011
bravo22

I lived without a car in Provo, UT after mine was taken by the credit union that owned it. This could have capped a terrible few years of financial turmoil but I took it as a “challenge” rather than a tragedy.

As you said… I started walking everywhere, but this was the wintertime and I was walking through snow and snow storms. People thought I was crazy. As finances started getting better, I would rent a car from enterprise for the weekend on their $9.99/daily special. As I got to know them they started giving me extra days on the special. It honestly felt awesome to be able to give it back to them after the few days and many times they “upgraded” my car so often I was traveling in beautiful brand new cars.

Not having anything resembling BART and having a family of a wife and 2 little one’s I had to eventually get a car. I happened into an older Honda Civic with low miles that I paid for in cash. I still try and walk as often as I can and use it sparingly.

I did enjoy the experience and the chance to think creatively in order to survive in a car-obsessed world. I really enjoyed your post as I could empathize…

20 07 2011
Adron

I’m going to write a follow up to your. I’ve been car free for well over a year now, and even when I had a car I was actually car free. I honestly find it hard to imagine all the trouble people go thru living life WITH a car being far away from everything, relying 100% on one or two mechanized vehicles to get them around. Being far from art, music, and culture in general.

I’ll admit, I did move from total car reliance in Jacksonville Florida, which is a horrible place, to Portland Oregon and now live in Seattle Washington. Both places that have many options to go car free and not miss a single thing.

Great job! Glad you’ve joined the car free legions!

20 07 2011
Curious Incarnation

Chicago is a great city for going car-less. I’ve been here 8 years and other than moving vans and the occasional taxi after a night of drinking I’ve relied only on my feet and public transport. Granted a lot of people do have cars in Chicago, but I’d say of the people I know personally, only about 1/5 of them have cars.

20 07 2011
gasstationwithoutpumps

I’ve been going car-free for a long time (40th high school reunion is next month, and I’ve never had a driver’s license). As with any habit, the easiest way to break the car habit is never to start.

I live in Santa Cruz now, which is an excellent place to be car-free. I’d recommend getting bike for those longer (2–10 mile) trips and for carrying more than is comfortable on foot. It is not essential (my wife has never had a driver’s license either, and she doesn’t bike), but a bike does make shopping and errands much easier.

20 07 2011
sustayn

Great post! You’re very brave!

20 07 2011
Kelly

I went without a car for about 2 years and LOVED it. I live in the DC area, so I was able to metro most places I needed to go. Since I don’t like to drive, it was wonderful for me. Now my husband and I have 1 car, but I don’t drive it often, still relying on the metro to get to work and walking to most other places I want to go.

20 07 2011
Leif Josefsson

I moved to Stockholm 5 years ago after living in the countryside for a long time. My old car was stolen and after that we’ve been without car. This summer when we live at our summerhouse on the island of Fårö, Gotland we have rented a wreck for 6 weeks. Not owning a car saves lots of money that can be used for working less, taking taxi when needed or renting cars whenever you want. After having owned cars between 1975-2006 it has become sheer freedom not owning a car. I also believe that the time of individual ownership of a car will be coming to an end. I blogged about that on http://metafari.blogspot.com/2011/07/future-is-in-sharing.html

20 07 2011
gonewiththesummer

I found this post to be really interesting! I just turned 16, and I plan on going to college in Chicago or D.C. My dad now thinks this is a reason I don’t need a car… maybe he’s right?

20 07 2011
bplusblog

I don’t even have a driver’s license. I find it easy to get by without a car and it does make life a lot simpler. It would be even simpler if my mom would let me ride my bike everywhere like I do when I’m away at college, but she worries. If I had to choose though, I would bike/walk/run everywhere I went. Maybe it’s why I love school so much.

20 07 2011
mhasegawa

About 10 years ago, my husband and I decided to become a one-car family. We keep a car for a couple of reasons: First, we have family in the Western part of Massachusetts and Vermont and go out there frequently and, second, he is a musician and has late night gigs often away from the center of Boston. But we take the T and walk often and there have only been one or two times we wished we had two cars. This habit of every household having two cars, especially when living in a city with pretty good public transit is one that, if we end it, could help with gas consumption and and air quality.

20 07 2011
katblogger

I wish I could live without a car. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of living in urban areas, so I think I’m stuck.

20 07 2011
sweetlydoingnothing

Thank you for your post! Life IS possible without having a car… I have lived without one for three years now (in Chicago) and I love it. I no longer fear “melting” in the rain or any other elements, although I will admit the winters in Chicago are a challenge!

20 07 2011
michaelraymond86

nice! May i suggest a bike..you can add a basket to it and be able to carry more groceries…just saying. well best of luck to you mate! I am in the same boat as you. Unfortunately San Diego doesn’t have the best transit system so it makes pretty difficult to get around town unless you live closer to downtown.

20 07 2011
run4joy59

I’ve lived without a car for several years now. Fortunately, the city where I live has a fantastic public transit system (I walk less than a block to catch the bus from my home, then another block from the bus to work), lots of walking and biking trails (with more in the works). I think the fact that I live in a city with a major university helps. I have to admit to not stopping at the grocery store very often and, when I do, I buy a lot, then get a cab home. I walk to the farmers market, health food store, library, hair salon, etc. Great exercise. I’m going to have to look into having groceries delivered…then I could do away with the twice a month cab!! Congrats on being freshly pressed!!

20 07 2011
luckythirteen05

I would love to be carless! But in Houston, it’s next to impossible! I have bike to work on a couple of occasions.. but then I arrive all sweaty. I’m working on getting a gym in a walking distance though! Baby steps!

20 07 2011
VASTUDARSHAN ARTS & ARCHITECTURE

you analyse both the pros and cons of avoiding a car very well. That makes your post more appreciable.

20 07 2011
Imtiaz

I sold my car in June due to the fact that I’ll be relocating back home after 4 years of college. For 40 days I’ve been walking and it really feels great. Yes carrying grocery is a really big problem. So I also use the cab back home few times a month 🙂

20 07 2011
Jessie Spielvogel

I sold my car when I decided to move from Austin to DC as well! I walk everywhere now – it’s tough getting used to it, and carrying groceries IS a huge pain in the butt. However, I’m glad I did it…I just feel healthier!

20 07 2011
Mila Shah

this is awesome.

20 07 2011
Andreas Moser

Very good!
I have taken the same step in 2009 (http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/car-free-by-choice/) and the quality of my life has improved considerably! I learn more about the area that I walk or view from the bus or train. Because I cannot quickly drive to the supermarket, I plan my days and weeks much better. And I have more money for short holidays. (Most people don’t realise how much a car really costs them.)

20 07 2011
mahakhalid

Loved your post. Thanks for sharing. I think a doctor or environmental scientist will tell you of more health benefits than you have accounted for in your post. Regardless, the pain of walking in the rain or the cold is thousand times less stressful than the pain of a broken down car and its maintenance all those years… we’ve become quite the sluggish in life ive noticed with the advent of technology everywhere. So its much appreciated that someone like you is sharing his fruitful experience, while also not sugar coating the cost of it, but ultimately – embracing the freedom.

20 07 2011
Chef Nusy

Great post (and congrats on being Freshly Pressed)!
I live just 2 hours or so south of you, in Fresno – and own no car. We share a car with my in-laws and we share in on the costs, but for the most part, both me and my husband bike. It’s a little more expensive than walking; but a lot less expensive then a car, and you can make it as cheap or expensive as you want to. Same thing applies on the reduced stress and improved fitness – not many things unwind you better after a long day at work than a leisurely ride home. We also enjoy a lot of benefits from “parking” – the bike racks are always by the front entrance! -, not having to pay to get into the parks or zooming by clogged-up traffic.
We borrow the car from my in-laws when we really need to – like if I have a shift until 2am, I prefer to drive, as we have no mass transit at that hour but we DO have a lot of drunk drivers and criminals, especially around the area where I work; or if we need to get large items / a lot of groceries. For going out of town, we usually just take Amtrak – less than renting and gas, and we don’t need to leave my in-laws immobile for 3-4-5 days at a time.

20 07 2011
Laura4NYC

I’m happy to say that I live in New York and i have not had the desire to own a car once since I’ve been here. I have faced the thought of maybe renting a car when going to remote spots such as upstate New York or country-side Jersey. However, most cities are accessible by buses and you can get a good deal.
I didn’t think it was possible to not own a car in Cali, glad you made it without one for well over a year. Probably not feasible in LA, what you think? I like San Francisco and your area, I def want to check it out again and form my own opinion on their public transportation…

20 07 2011
spikey64

I live in the Uk and have been carless for the last 3 years. At first it was a grind having to wait for buses and trying to work out my route to fit in with them. As time has passed i have got used to it and get a lot more execise than i did when i was driving.

20 07 2011
acord40

GREAT POST I to live with out a car at first it was hard now i love it i live in the city all my shopping in walking distanced when ihad a car frends all way wanted me to take them some place now i donot have that problem

20 07 2011
Ana Maria Montardo

What a coincidence! I wrote about this subject two days ago on my blog. It’s a pity I wrote it in my first language, Portuguese. I’ve never had a car, although I’m 31. And don’t intend to have one. I think it’s a waste of time and money! I can get anywhere I want to quicklier (is that right?) and cheaper by bus or on foot!

20 07 2011
marielle2tyler

Personally, I love not having a car. Very strange for a college student to say, but really… you don’t need one to get by! I live in a city and commute to a large city so public transportation gets me everywhere. My friends in smaller towns use bikes when they don’t have a car.

20 07 2011
dfountain11

Hello!

I’m actually considering spending the rest of my life carless, and I’ve found this article to be great motivation! Thank you.

20 07 2011
Susan

I am currently without a car in a rural county in Oregon. they have in small cities in Oregon dial a ride where a small van or bus comes and picks you up and takes you where you want to go.this is really good. Its so simple. Nothing ever breaks down – of course I am a shut-in mostly, but there is no night life here anyway.
sometimes with no car you have to take a taxi like for Costco.
anyway I do less walking because I live on a highway where logging trucks zoom by and its harsh really harsh.
its been almost six months.
the other times I was without a car
were in Portland oregon and san francisco and Seattle and Bellevue wa.
I was young and rode a bike everywhere in Seattle and Bellevue, in portland I walked and took the bus- it is not true Portland has great bus service It is awful and depressing. seriously once I sat down and found someone had urinated on the seat. It also meant walking and walking to the next bus and wairign for buses and transferring. I was not close to shopping at all.
on the other hand I did walk a lot and I was not fat during that period.

20 07 2011
brianlamew

Cool post. I really like the thoughts. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Check out my blog called SIMPLE:
http://www.brianlamew.wordpress.com

20 07 2011
truthspew

I live in Providence, RI and haven’t had a car for years. Though I go through cycles. Our transit provider is RIPTA which is under a perennial funding crisis lately.

So I’ll use the bus for a few years, get sick of it and buy a car. Then I’ll get sick of that, sell the car, and ride the bus.

20 07 2011
AwesomeAim

Wow. I can’t drive yet, but…//looking// at all that walking makes me feel tired already! I guess I’m more of a sit-and-relax person…heheheh…

20 07 2011
chrissie

I lived without a car for most of my childhood and we did just fine. It’s not as hard as people think and it can also be great for family chats. Great Post!

20 07 2011
bonnie

living in Canada, I’ve been driving since 16, then when I moved to HK 3 yrs ago, I decided to not drive since public transportation is so efficient. Believe me, I miss it so much! Espeically when I am lugging bags of groceries home! I’m moving to Singapore next month and the first thing on my list is getting a car! Oh, how i miss being behind the wheel, lol

20 07 2011
Lindsay

I’ve been living without a car for 6 years now. But I live in a major city (Toronto), use public transit and use services like Zipcar for short excursions and rental companies like Budget for longer trips.

I love being car free. Glad you took the plunge!

20 07 2011
spongebobabiore

i’m agree with your post! cause i can’t drive..so live in Indonesia-Jakarta with busway. but sometimes i’ve taken a taxi too…hahahah

20 07 2011
Clareville

Don’t drive. Never have. Life’s great!

20 07 2011
Julee Celeste

I had no car when I lived in Philadelphia and when I first moved to NYC. Of course could get around (v. good public transportation), but felt hemmed in and restricted. Oddly, I grew up in Austin (I mean odd because you just moved away from there) and grew up having a car and being able to jump in the car and go anywhere I wanted to at any time. I missed having that freedom and expansiveness when I was car-less.

I got a car again when I moved to New Jersey (even though I am near public transportation and can get into NYC easily, doing other things out in Jersey was difficult without a car). I will never give up having a car again. For me the expense is worth it just to be able to go anywhere I want.

But to each his own and I’m glad you’ve found not owning a car to be a positive experience. I personally hated it.

20 07 2011
Martin Tjandra

Great post. I wish I could practice it too. It’s not a wonderful idea to be applied in Indonesia though, as the public transportation isn’t as friendly and safe, there’s not enough pedestrian street that can be used, and the “place of interests” is spread all over the city, making walk to the places need hours, and therefore practically impractical. 😦

20 07 2011
newsy1

I try to use my car as little as possible. I have a cute pink scooter I use a lot. But it takes guts and stamina to go totally car-less, kudos to you. Great post.

20 07 2011
thehandsandfeet

I have epilepsy so i havn’t been able to drive for a really long time it makes it really difficult in my city as I live far away from anything really and public transportation doesn’t reach to my house so I’m hoping to move elsewhere with a better transportation system.

20 07 2011
Auspicious Wedding Dates

well, when without a car, I take the pleasure of route planning and exercise walking 🙂

20 07 2011
pushingthirtyy

leaving San Fran tomorrow after a long business trip. Definitely enjoyed the walking city! Back to NYC — the subway city 🙂

20 07 2011
Chrissiemusa

I’ve always had a car to use but mainly take public transport for really long destinations. My grandparents refused to buy one and never learnt but they did become walking bus timetables and were both healthy and fit 🙂 Great post.

20 07 2011
Brittany

I’ve been living without a car in San Francisco for four year now. This past month I’ve been walking EVERYWHERE. It really makes me appreciate this wonderful city that I live in and meet my neighborhood! I’m loving it. SF is very supportive of the car-less lifestyle, other places are not so easy.

20 07 2011
cookwithkelsey

Being carless is the worst! All the best

20 07 2011
joannamv

I miss being carless. I grew up in the UK and my family never owned a car. We walked everywhere, and used public transportation for longer journeys. I love living somewhere walkable!

Of course, I also love living in the country, and it’s hard to be carless there, even in the UK.

Where I live now, our house is over an hour’s walk from the nearest bus stop. And not along safe streets either. It’s nice to know that if ever we were in dire straits we could walk to the bus stop and get the bus to somewhere there might be a job….but it’s not a walk one is going to do for fun. I would walk an hour to get to my destination, but not to get to my bus stop!

We’re an hour from the nearest grocery store, and half an hour from a 7-Eleven.

When we lived in rented accommodation I could walk to the grocery store. But it wasn’t something I did often. People looked at you weird, the sidewalks were buckled and would often stop in the middle of a road, crosswalks always told you to walk when cars were driving at you…and it gets so much hotter over here, eugh.

Right now I’m still carless in a sense, as “my” car doesn’t run and I don’t have my full licence yet. I don’t want to use a car that much anyway. But it would be nice to be able to buy groceries without forcing my husband to accompany me, and nice to go to a doctor’s appointment with bugging my mother-in-law to drive me.

Given the geography of the US, it makes sense that people are more spread out. This can have good implications: people have the space to grow their own food and raise their own chickens, etc. Unfortunately, right now a lot of areas have ordinances that try to stop these activities.

20 07 2011
300hikes

O, how I aspire to such lofty ideals. I live in a city that offers phenomenal public transportation, and yet refuse to give up the convenience of a car. Step by step I suppose. Soon I’ll run out of excuse and it will have to be done.

20 07 2011
drawnoutdoors

Thanks for sharing! I had no car in Sydney for nearly 2 years with a toddler and a new born. It can be done, you just need to be organised!! Well done for taking the leap and making a car free commitment. We have moved to an area of Sydney not so public transport friendly so have had to take the very expensive plunge into car ownership. Though I miss my car free walking days, I try to take the bus and walk as much as I can to keep fit and reduce my impact on this earth.

20 07 2011
Tile Tramp

I just gave up my car this year…best decision I ever made! I live in an urban area, and the public transit is fantastic. I think it would be next to impossible in suburban areas though. But like you mentioned, with all the traffic james during the morning commute and rush hour, I actually get to and from work faster! And, I’m reading my book while doing it 🙂 I love feeling active every day, and it’s so nice to not have to worry about parking or car maintenance. I can’t imagine taking on the ridiculously high cost of a car again!

20 07 2011
jason

haha, cool, this time i read a post like this.. I only had a car for only 1 year.. after I am living without a car T.T

20 07 2011
N Siddiqi

I’m sure you’ve heard of John Francis? Planet Walker? His walking, silence and all other works are really inspiring. As are you. Kudos. I hope I can live this aspiration one day – if only I could escape the clutches of Suburbia! For further reading, I’m posting a link to Planet Walker. Enjoy 🙂

http://www.planetwalker.org

21 07 2011
myfilthyroom

I’ve been carless since time immemorial. I have to agree about the health benefits. It definitely improved and toned my calves. 🙂

21 07 2011
thebigbookofdating

Great post!

21 07 2011
naumountaingirl

Before I moved to Arizona, I decided to sell my car with the intention of not buying myself another one until I finished my education (2013). I am grateful for my town giving its public such easy access to public transportation! I think if more people considered this idea it would create an entirely different set of planning for the future.

21 07 2011
Claire Takacs

I have not owned a car for 10 years. When I travel to see my family (about 300 ks away in the country & little public transport) I hire one. Not owning a car has enabled me to live a better lifestyle in a better neighbourhood. Owning a car and the associated expenses would have meant that I would not be able to afford to live where I do. Even when I commuted the 1 hr to work in the city, I used the train and calculated that the weekly ticket alone was cheaper than petrol. I kept a diary of my travel costs for nearly a year, including hire cars to visit family, fuel costs and the weekly train tickets – it was much cheaper than the running costs for a car plus I don’t have to waste time cleaning it, taking it to the mechanic for maintenance etc.
Now that I no longer commute and work about 10 minutes walk from home, my travel costs are very small (only the car hire). Like you Dianne, I am fitter and am slimmer, I buy my groceries more regularly – the supermarket is right near my workplace & I use a backpack to carry the groceries home or sometimes one of those ‘granny trolleys’. I used to think that any distance more than 2 blocks was a lot but now regularly walk 5 – 8 ks, usually along the beach near my place. I love it – one of the better things I ever did – getting rid of the car!

21 07 2011
TL

Haha, I loved this post. It was so realistic and true. I have my car, and I don’t think I would give it up if I think about it realistically, but YES, I do take the BART every day to San Francisco for work and it saves time, gas, and money for parking! I love BART!!!

Nice to see a post from another SFer/local. Congratulations on being freshly pressed. Look forward to more of your articles!

21 07 2011
albertinascrochetblog

I’m in the UK and every weekday evening I walk home from a part time job, about three miles. I take a local train to work which is very convenient but increasingly expensive, in fact it has almost reached the point where I might have to walk both ways or find other employment. The London suburbs are quite well served by public transport but the cost of using it is rising and some parts of the network can be unreliable.

It does keep off the weight but feels challenging in heavy rain (this week!) and very cold or snowy weather. The skin on my face will never be the same again and I use a lot of moisturiser! I think the secret is to dress for it. I’m a lot fitter than my partner who drives to work but walks and uses public transport when he can. I’ve never learned to drive.

I could get used to weekly grocery shopping on foot and we did do this once but the shops within easy walking distance can’t provide what we want. We were very organised in the past and shopped once a month online for the heavy, non perishable and frozen items, buying fresh food as we needed it. I hope to get back to this routine as we saved a lot of money – no impulse buys! – and we rarely ran out of things we needed.

Well done for managing this. I recognise that it is far more difficult where you are. Consider the FP as a small reward!

21 07 2011
hasitha

Wonderful article. You give a very important message through your article. That is, make your life simple. All what is been thought as our belongings are burdens. Any attachment makes a life complicated. Being a person from an Asian country with a culture that values simplicity, I’m very happy to see how you, a westerner have understood and embraced the value of simplicity.

21 07 2011
rachaelturner

Hats off to you and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

21 07 2011
freshrevelations365

Really like your post! I think that it is wonderful that you have been carless for a year, and have been able to describe so many positives! I currently live in a rural area of Germany, and unfortunately would be forever stuck in my house if I did not own a vehicle. I do enjoy walking a great deal, and found that when my daughter was a baby that I could not get enough of walking her from place to place. I hope that your carless endeavors continue to go well for you =)

21 07 2011
travelwithlaughter

This is really cool! Have a great time walking!

21 07 2011
fifthfloorkitchen

DC is a great walking city as well! Have you tried ZipCar for your Costco trips?

21 07 2011
leadinglight

Two years ago, I used to live in a fairly walkable distance to a railway station. It was how I went to university in the city. First I took the train, then the tram. But I was not working then so it might have been a lot tougher if I was also working. I did have a car but I had been in an accident and it took me a long while to become brave enough to get behind the wheel again. Now I live in the outer suburbs and work in an area where there is no station. Luckily, my parking is free as I buy my coffee from a shopping centre and qualify for the free all day parking for customers!

21 07 2011
Naeem Ahmed Bjawa

In Pakistan, a car means more than merely moving from one place to another, it symbolizes a status, an elevated status in society, it helps you stay clear and disconnected from the ugliness, pollution, beggars, In absence of any decent public transport, for some, this is the only way to live in this country, well shielded. We who are trying to promote bicycling or those who are compelled to use bicycle as primary mode of commuting are doing it at great peril to themselves, because, in addition to all that I mentioned above, they also have to suffer reckless car owners

21 07 2011
Mark

I gave up my car a year ago when I moved to New York. Your story is identical to mine. I don’t miss having a car one bit.

21 07 2011
Sheila

I just bought a car myself, after over a year living car-less in a not greatly excessible African city. Sadly, once i started driving I realised that I have forgotten that I in fact can just walk to the grocery store, to the gym, even to the office – something I swore I wouldn’t do upon my purchase.

21 07 2011
Mitch Leuraner

I’m not sure what the fuss is about…. I’m 31 and I’ve never even owned a car. There are certainly days when I think it would be easier to do certain things, but I’ve never thought it was a necessity.

21 07 2011
remistevens

I haven’t had a car in years. We have a decent transit system here in Toronto as well. . . .It sad that most of the world’s population is being driven into cities, but you can’t argue with the efficiency of urbanites.

21 07 2011
Louise

Hi! I use to live in NYC and a car wasn’t needed. I loved the walking. I now live in the suburbs of Connecticut and a car is more convenient. I love driving, but I do miss the days of just stepping out of my apartment and having everything at my doorsteps.

Thanks for sharing!

21 07 2011
germanymarie

I moved to Germany and have gone carless, and I agree, it is wonderful!! I don’t walk everywhere, but the bus system is amazing and I get a lot of walking in between bus stops. I lost 30 lbs doing this and am much more in shape than I was when I left the US 2 years ago. I absolutely agree with you: maybe not forever, but for now, it’s excellent to not have a car.

What I love most about not driving to work or anywhere is how much free time I have to think, or read, or listen to music on the bus. I love how relaxing it is to NOT sit in traffic, and to NOT have to find a parking spot. or pay for gas. Or taxes. Or insurance. Excellent.

21 07 2011
Alan Gregory

I think it really helps to remember how one’s self entered the car-centric culture in the first place. I remember my entry in the mid 70s pretty well, most notably learning how to drive a V-8-powered monster called a Chevrolet Nomad station wagon with my father in the passenger seat. Three-speed on-the-column shift, a clutch, the whole thing. It was a great car on family camping trips into central and northcentral Idaho but was a real hog. My father had a tendency to drive it until the gas level was miniscule, then he might even add a bit of white gas first intended for a camp stove in order to make it into a refueling station in Salmon, Idaho.

21 07 2011
Frederick

Our family has been down to one car for over a year! My wife and I share our minivan and it just takes some careful scheduling and we have made it work. I pastor a church and so I need to do visits in our area but it has worked. My wife goes back to work this fall and things may change but if she works close to home we could stay away from the multi-car situation. It has saved us tons of money and helped us to see that there are lots of things we want but don’t really need!

21 07 2011
Camille Anne

Great post & I couldn’t agree with you more. Sadly, I live in FL which is spread out (definitely need a car where I live). But reading your post brought back memories to my trip to Germany in March, where the public transportation system is awesome, and many take either the train or bus to get around. And everyone walks. Americans need to do more of that for sure. I don’t think I saw one obese person while over there. And yes the thing about walking everywhere is, you’re definitely less stressed when youre not sitting in traffic and you get to notice things that maybe you didnt notice before, like taking in fresh air and stopping by at a sidewalk market. Cheers to you!

21 07 2011
yolanda1cherise

I have been carless for five months now. At first I was kicking and screaming, but now I really enjoy it. My life seems less hectic and I seem to spend more quality time with my husband. Thank you for your story. I really enjoyed it.

21 07 2011
enmityone

buy a bike

21 07 2011
Xenia Nova

Congrats on being ‘Freshly Pressed!’
I’m from the big city – Chicago, so I had a car -it was the best thing, going places, driving people, buying things and not carrying them….blah blah. Now, for almost 3 years, I’m car-less and living in a different country, it’s completely changed my life! Best of luck to you!

21 07 2011
Mèo Lười Việt

I like walking too. But now I become too conspicuous here, so walking doesn’t give me a sense of freedom as it did. And I like biking too. Among methods of keeping fit, walking is one of the best. It helps to reduce stress, and especially good for your heart. 😀

Not to mention walking saves our planet. 😀

21 07 2011
donationcan

I live in central San Antonio and still own a car, however, we did sell 1 of our cars. We are close to needed services like banks, grocery store and etc. However, it’s hard to walk every where in 100+ degrees weather. My apartment complex is on a bus route and I enjoy taking the bus to work. It gives me extra time to read.

I grew up in Pennsylvania and my parents didn’t own a car. My dad is 69 years old and has never had a license. My grandmother passed when she was over 90 and has never had a license. I think getting around is a little easier in north eastern states. My dad now lives with me in San Antonio and uses his senior bus pass and enjoys walking, when it’s not 100+ degrees out.

21 07 2011
donationcan

I wanted to add. When I first entered the military I didn’t own a car. I was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska where I bought my first car. Moving to Wichita Falls, TX was a HUGE culture shock to me. I couldn’t believe how a car was literally NEEDED. Plus, most cowboys and Texans own big truck gas guzzlers. I couldn’t believe how much people spent just to own a vehicle. Between car payments, insurance, gas, repairs and car washes. It was a new idea for me. I HATED living in Wichita Falls, TX because of the need for a vehicle. I’ve learned that I hate driving. I’m happy to live in San Antonio. It’s not as walker friendly as northern cities like New York or Philadelphia, but it’s much better than Wichita Falls. I also live in central San Antonio, I’m sure if I lived in a more suburban area walking would be hard.

21 07 2011
makingmomproud

Thanks to the excellent public transport system here in Vienna it’s easy to abandon the car. Vienna is also very bicycle friendly. If you don’t have a bike there are bike stations all over the city where you can borrow one for free and cruise around Vienna. The countryside, however, is another story. There you are lost without a car.
I hope you’ll enjoy your project for a long time! And congrats on being freshly pressed!

21 07 2011
lovetotrain

hi, interesting post. I saw the title on freshly pressed and had to have a read because 2 and half years ago I moved countries and have had no car since! It can be sort of annoying sometimes but also liberating not having to stress about parking/ petrol/maintenance checks- and I feel better about the environment!
amy

21 07 2011
dreamtea89

I’m three months with out a car now and have enjoyed biking and walking everywhere. I’m moving to Moses Lake (WA) and thankfully it has a bus system to take me to and from the college. I made a similar list to yours when I chose to sell my car. Thank you for helping me feel less alone. 🙂 Everyone thinks I’m crazy.

21 07 2011
thevuefromthebridge

I have owned a car since I was twenty-one, and I am now sixty-seven. I live in a suburban area with no public transportation. However, lately I’ve been considering moving to a more urban area with good public transportation and selling the car. At this point in time the cost of just fuel and insurance is running $350/mo. At .50 cents a mile the actual cost is closer to $9000/yr. Maybe it’s about time to rethink how I live my life.

21 07 2011
sally

Looking your two lists,yeah, the lists show the positives are a lot more important to you than the negatives. As i am a teen-agers,i have no car, so i go everywhere by bus,by train,or walk, or ride a bike,i think this is good, althiugh take public transit is crowded,but it convenient and saving monery.Don’t worry where you parking, you need pay how much insurance.If i will go home, maybe i will ren a car.

21 07 2011
Tanja

Well Done on this article. It is well cataloged, researched & experienced fully:) Sometimes people would be better off going car-less than buying one… especially if they don’t know anything about them. Could save them A LOT more money than just gas or insurance! You are a smart lady…

21 07 2011
Going Carless [via It Dawned On Me] « Pandainabattlesuit

[…] This is a great Blog Post (currently freshly pressed I might add, congrats!) […]

22 07 2011
Dian Wijayanti

San Francisco, eh? I’ve been dreaming to live there someday. (Someday soon!! I’m crossing my fingers for it!)

You should try to live in Indonesia, one day, where owning a car and being a pedestrian are both as dangerous as ever. I’m a pedestrian myself, and I walk massively every day. I walk to almost everywhere, and I wrote about this once in my blog (please do visit sometime! 😀 http://abunchofnonsense.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/a-confession-of-a-pedestrian/ ). Here not so many people are fond of walking, even in small cities, and motorcycle is everyone’s favorite vehicle. They should read those benefits of being carless! Thanks for sharing this!

22 07 2011
254chronicles

haha…everything does have its pros and cons, but, good to see you’re enjoying the experience!

22 07 2011
Aimee

Since I’ve moved to Seattle, I learned quickly everyone up here walks around.I come from Phoenix where a car is a necessity. Not having a car myself, I’m forced to do it. Someways I do miss having a car but like you mentioned, I’ve never felt so healthier in my life from walking everywhere! It’s only been a month but in a weird way, I enjoy walking now. I’ll probably never buy another car as long as I live here 🙂

22 07 2011
Liza

Good for you! Great post, too. I’m particularly impressed that you are carless in the Bay Area, outside San Francisco. I actually bought a car (being previously carless) when I moved to the Bay Area. I was in South San Jose, though. It’s not as great for walking.

I’m currently in Montreal and carless again. Actually, a lot of Montrealers choose not to have a car because there isn’t much need for one. Instead, a lot of us use a car sharing service for doing runs to Costco, etc. You may want to see if there is a similar service in your area.

23 07 2011
Unruly101

Great post. I don’t have a car after giving it up nearly 3 years ago. There are times when it really would be convenient to have one but most of the time I manage very well without one. We make use of car sharing services when a car is absolutely necessary but otherwise walking around sunny Sydney is beautiful and a healthier option to boot.

23 07 2011
himanshuvasistha

Hi..i live in India. And here…people are just so reluctant to do away with their car!! if you stop using your car, then it is assumed that you are not doing well in life!! I mean that is stupid of assessing a person’s growth!!!

24 07 2011
Kelly

This is great! I am glad you have put into words all of the pros of going carless. I lived in a small country town where a car was necessary until I went to college in Chicago. I spent all four years in the Hyde Park neighborhood sans car. I lived a mile-ish from campus and a half mile or so from the grocery and didn’t every feel confined to my neighborhood. Besides walking and biking, I am a huge fan of public transportation because, unlike driving, you have time to concentrate on other things during your commute. Now, I again live in a place where it is impossible to go without a car (we tried to walk to the closest grocery store after I insisted that it had to be possible… 1.5 miles of no side walks on a well traveled road with no shoulder = tromping through uncut grass in a most unpleasant fashion). As my husband and I plan to move to Austin in a couple years, I have been impressing on him the importance of living in a part of the city with a high Walk Score (I love that website, too!). He totally doesn’t get it, having always lived in car dependent places, but I’m working on him.

24 07 2011
The Wandering Mind

I’m in the process of selling my car since I haven’t been driving it for a while now. I’ve lost plenty of weight over the past few months and I couldn’t be happier.

25 07 2011
pqar

Nice post.
If work can be managed without a car that’s great.
I have car, but very often use my bike, even for longer distances.

25 07 2011
brittany220

Wow a year without a car must be difficult, good job! Have you read “No Impact Man”? This was a book about a guy who lived without a car too, and without making any trash, eating meat, using electricity, and so forth. It’s a great book and very inspirational!

25 07 2011
Candice

Living without a car is a healthy way!Walking or riding a bike can reduce the environmental pollution.Support your plan of living carless.

26 07 2011
Zak Suhar

Awesome post.

26 07 2011
Jacklyn Chrusciel

Thank you a lot for sharing!

26 07 2011
Marina Eckstrom

This is a well written article that I have bookmarked for future reading. Have a wonderful.

26 07 2011
Dr Marsh

Enterprise is an awesome word. It is used for so many different companies and shows that are excellent. Enterprise rental car, Star Trek to just name a few. I think I will use the word enterprise for my small business then i should be guarenteed success.

27 07 2011
kat

That is amazing! Such an inspiration story too! I do have one question though. As a girl, I find it to be very scary to walk alone at night…what do you do? Do you live in a safe neighborhood? Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging here and I just love how supportive and creative everyone is! If you have time, could you please check out my blog? http://shecooksandheeats.wordpress.com/ I would love some advice or feedback, and how to get more exposure 🙂

27 07 2011
strefster

I decided to spend my driver’s licence money on a bike…so here I am almost 4 years later, walking faster than ever (sometimes faster than urban traffic). It’s healthy, cheap, and there are always other people with cars 😛

27 07 2011
Manu

Hi diane,

Congratiulations! One down, more to go!
I’ve been living without a car for 5 years now and doing everything on foot or by bicycle. Yes, the exercise are good for the body, but sometimes i truly miss my car and am seriously thinking of buying a new one again. I live in the city and miss the freedom of taking of on a sunny afternoon to the country and talking lang walks.

Hope you stay ‘clean’ lol
Manu
Rancilio Silvia

27 07 2011
Desi

Good for you! I’ve never actually learned to drive, so I’ve been getting myself and my kids around by food or by transit for years. My husband does drive, though, and we do rely on him to get us places in the evenings and on weekends. My excuse? It gets COLD here in the great white north, and sometimes the windchill is too risky or the snow is too deep. Awesome post!

27 07 2011
mhasegawa

Any one have Zip car in your areas? that is a way to have wheels when you need them – like for a trip to the country.

27 07 2011
anooptirumale

Hey 🙂 I too strongly believe that using a car or any motor vehicle does make u lazy and less strain for your body, but at times you wouldnt realy have the time to walk all the way and back. only people with lots of time to kill can afford that I believe 🙂

28 07 2011
thevuefromthebridge

Going carless is ideal. One factor that has not been mentioned is auto insurance. Once you drop your auto insurance you are put into a high risk, high premium category if you ever need to use a car again. Even if you have a clean driving record insurers will find a way to stick it to you.

29 07 2011
dreamhost promo

I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

29 07 2011
war craft guy

losing your car is actually a blessing in disguise – just imagine all those excess weights you finally lose! Great post indeed!

29 07 2011
how to earn extra money

Nice post. Good job.

29 07 2011
Stephen Susong

Hi! Very good tip on this post!

29 07 2011
Dreamhost Coupons

Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

30 07 2011
Financial Sensei

We love the post, we are not carless yet but a couple of us at http://www.financialsensei.com just got bikes (check out our recent post – http://financialsensei.com/2011/07/27/reasons-to-buy-a-bike-to-save-money-while-staying-fit/) on Monday and though we’re a little sore from a week of biking we’re loving it so far! We love the financial, physical and environmental benefits too.

30 07 2011
admin

I enjoyed reading this post… Great report.

31 07 2011
LEDs

I don’t completely agree, but regardless a very well written post. I’ll link back from my weblog in the links area, when I get time 🙂 Cheers!

31 07 2011
The Exiled Muse

I wish I could go without my car, and I wish more areas were more accommodating to the car-less. It would be better for my health.

However, I live in the country, and my area has little public transport. I need a car.

31 07 2011
Nick

Awesome post! As a Manhattanite, I must agree that losing the car and having the freedom to get where you need to be without driving is euphoric. Especially on those nights out that involve a few cocktails!

31 07 2011
anewlifeofhope

So, true. I just recently had my car break down. It is quite interesting how much more walking and less spending you do when you do not own a car. It is in essence freeing, just like keeping laws and commandments can be freeing spiritually.

1 08 2011
elizabethinnes

This is great,a real achievement! One day I hope I will do the same, at the moment I’m at university, which is 200 miles away from dad, and 283 miles away from mum, to get a train would cost £200 if i were to buy it that day, to get a coach I would have to go completely off course to get onto the ‘direct route’, it can take 8 hours just to get to dad!
However, aside from the long journey three, four, maybe five times a year, I use my car very little. I carpool to take people food shopping (filling all five seats), sometimes I will pick up friends who arrive late at the station, and if I have a late shift at work I will sometimes drive because I feel it is safer at night.
Like I said…one day

2 08 2011
seragam, seragam sekolah

I really like following your blog as the articles are so simple to read and follow. Excellent. Please keep up the good work

2 08 2011
Alex Foster's Trek to Change the World

Thanks for sharing!

I live without a car, and I am embarking on a trek in September on a self built solar powered trike to film a documentary and help raise awareness about renewable energy.

Hopefully with the help of more posts like yours, and more treks like mine – we can help shape the way our communities view transportation options.

3 08 2011
thevuefromthebridge

Best of luck on your journey. If more of us could go carless perhaps we’d be able to reduce many of the ills we have as a nation, like dependence on foreign oil.

4 08 2011
Cacaphony of honks « apassagetopondy

[…] blog It Dawned on Me has a great post on what it was like to go a year without a car. The author concludes that the positives far outweigh the […]

4 08 2011
realanonymousgirl2011

Good for you! I’ve always wanted to do something like that in a walkable city. But I live in Los Angeles and rely on my car a lot! Especially since I have a small child….maybe one day after I’m finished having children and they’re older.

5 08 2011
8 08 2011
raecal08

I lived in Berkeley for six years and was car-less the entire time. I then moved to New York City and like 90% of the population here, am car-less too. But I’m moving back to LA (my hometown) at the end of this month and I am fretting about transportation. I would LOVE to not get a car. Most of my friends think I’m nuts to even consider this option. But I would save so much money and I would feel better without one as well. (You have a lot much more energy when you get used to walking all the time, plus my conscious feels better knowing that my carbon footprint is significantly smaller.) If anyone else is car-less in LA, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

8 08 2011
gasstationwithoutpumps

My nephew is carless in Santa Monica with 2 kids. The weather is good enough year-round for bicycling and the Big Blue Bus is not so bad, so there really isn’t a need for a car there (though all the car addicts will swear that it is absolutely impossible—like tobacco addicts claiming they can’t lie without their smokes).

11 08 2011
Claire

You are certainly an inspiration. Good for you!

16 08 2011
environmentgirl

I think a lot of people who live in cities take their ability to walk places instead of driving for granted. Currently, I live in a mountaneous area where the nearest town is 10 miles away and the nearest city is 25 miles away but I would die for the chance to be able to walk or ride public transportation. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I live but this is one of the negatives that I absolutely hate.

17 08 2011
HardDrink

good idea for reduce pollution and money also

19 08 2011
2 Years Belgium: Car vs. Bike? « My Other CV

[…] is an interesting blog about living carless for a year, as well as a site that lets you calculate your WalkScore based on the area you live in. Areas […]

22 08 2011
Bery

Enjoy and be grateful for the material things, but don’t become burdened by or attached to what you have. Instead, achieve balance in life.

26 08 2011
2 Years Belgium: Car vs. Bike? « Still In Brussels, Belgium

[…] is an interesting blog about living carless for a year, as well as a site that lets you calculate yourWalkScore based on the area you live in. Areas like […]

22 09 2011
CarLess « Cat, Le Chef

[…] também o depoimento da Bloger, sobre seu primeiro ano vivendo sem carro nos Estados Unidos. Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

8 04 2012
Dee

I never owned a car while living in Chicago. When I moved to Albuquerque, I continued being car-less.. for a while. That was a while back, being over 50, I do drive. I must admit it’s a time saver compared to waiting hours for a bus. I use to have a large shopping cart for groceries and walk home, quite a challenge during the hot summer months. The plus however was the built in fitness and being fit.

19 12 2012
magic mesh

Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

6 05 2013
Michael Dale

We moved from Denver to Germany about 4 years ago and have been carless for the first 3 1/2 years, and I must admit that those were some very difficult 3 1/2 years. While getting to and from work by bus and food shopping (two big stores right outside our door) was easy enough – nothing else was. My wife is unable to peddle a bike for very long due to a broken ankle she suffered as a teenager so, we could only go as far as our feet or the bus will take us. Contrary to popular belief “taking the bus everywhere in Germany” it not a realistic option, especially on the weekends when they only come every 60 or 90 minutes if at all with transfers necessary. Having to rely on public transportation on the weekends here can turn a 20 minute car trip into a half day affair and that’s provided that there even is a bus that goes were you want to be. (Remember, you always have to think about how you are going to get back too!) Before we had a car, we weren’t even able to visit the few surrounding towns nearby due to our lack of mobility. There were also more times than I care to admit that we found ourselves walking into some of the local bars out of shear boredom, which can turn out being most costly than owning a car.

I am now thoroughly convinced that, at least in my situation, the cons of not having a car far outweigh the pros. I grew up in NYC and there a car is truly more of a nuisance than a necessity but that’s not true in all situations.

4 10 2013
Anita

Thank you for this article! I just sold my car today and was having big regrets and even tears! But having read your very positive article I feel ready to face the challenge and look forward to reaping the benefits – despite living in the wet UK!!

6 11 2013
Donna

I enjoyed reading your article Francesca! I recently started going carless in Los Angeles and so far I love it. It is freeing! I walk a lot and rely on buses. In the evening, occasionally I get a ride with a friend coming home from an event. And I’m aware of LYFT, which I haven’t tried but am open to this ride share if I’m stuck at night. My wish is more people take public transportation and walk.

6 11 2013
francesca

Thanks, Donna! I’m now one month shy of going carless for four years! You are brave to try it in Los Angeles. Good for you! It is very freeing.

20 11 2013
Justyna

Kudos to you!!! I am at the same point as you were at the beginning…contemplating giving up my car. I will in a fairly well connected area of Austin (near Mueller) though it could definitely be better.

10 06 2014
Why I've Gone Carless (And Why You Should Too)

[…] they’re not the only ones. Turns out Phil is doing it in Strasbourg. This CEO is carless too. Francesca is rocking the carless lifestyle in San Francisco. And the list goes […]

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