I thought I would end my series of posts on living car-free with a more positive note. I’ve found a lot of joy and happiness along the way! There are so many other paths that a person can take to experience life, and my walking out of car culture helped me to see and feel a richness that I couldn’t have experienced in an automobile.
As an introduction of sorts, here is a video by the Swapathgami Network in Udaipur, India. Many thanks to Manish Jain and Shikshantar for producing wonderful films like this! While this video addresses more of the system of Education, I believe it applies to our very thought processes and lives. We can close the book on what everyone expects us to do or be, and truly live!
As early as 2006, I really reduced my driving when I still owned my car. I went back for a time to graduate school and did a self-designed summer course all about bicycling. I traveled by bus or train to other cities to experience them atop a bicycle. I mapped my journeys in Minneapolis, Madison, WI, and Portland, OR. I used to live in Madison in 2000, but never rode my bike once back then. What a shame, because Madison is just awesome to tour on a bicycle.
Portland opened my eyes to how a city can really function as trains, busses, and bicycles comingle with cars so easily.
And now, Minneapolis, the city I live in, has been voted the number 1 bicycling city in the United States by Bicycle Magazine!
I joined a bike sharing program called NiceRideMN last fall, and I’m also a member of HourCar in case I do need to travel by car in the city (which averages less than once per month).
I feel like I’ve gained so much back in my life. I love the exercise of walking and biking, and I love how economical it is to travel by bus. I have my time back, where I can sit back and relax while I travel. I can read books on the bus. I can write and journal on longer bus trips (I’m writing this blog post as I travel from Minneapolis to Madison on a bus!).
I have a lot more hope and joy in my life that I’m doing something right for myself and right for the planet. I want to be bicycling still in my 70s and 80s, still enjoying life to the fullest like this.
So definitely, I began my car-free journey because of finances, and possibly because of the car accident I experienced. However, I’ve stayed car-free for the sheer joy it brings me!