I wish I could say that I never longed for a car. It’s easy to ignore the desire when bus trips and rides with friends are smooth and available, but there are moments when my lack of four-wheeled convenience grows difficult, and I have to remind myself of all the reasons I’m glad to be carless. It’s still quite possible, of course, to be an eco-friendly person and own a car. Many environmentalists, however, choose not to have one in support of a greener lifestyle, not even giving themselves the option of solo transportation. My own reason for being without car isn’t quite so noble, having more to do with a lack of cash than environmental ideals. I do hope, however, that my current experience will act as a sort of training, lessening any future inclination to rely solely on a car, whether I own one or not. If you’re on the fence about buying a car, or are trying to use yours less, I’ll attempt to draw a little picture below detailing the positives and negatives of my experience.
1. Absolutely any situation in which you need to get somewhere at a certain time and you have to rely on the bus. This leads to stress over how late the bus may be, how long its stops will take, etc. Waiting for a late bus can be excruciating in these moments, with the simplicity and control of jumping in a car and going where you need seeming more attractive than ever.
2. You attend a party with a friend who gives you a ride. This friend of yours ends up wanting to leave a lot earlier or later than you do, and because you’re a polite person you don’t force your preference on them. Instead, you’re stuck with their decision.
3. You have to transport something heavy and large, leading to a grand old time on a crowded bus.
1. You don’t have to worry about car insurance or buying gas. These two always bring me relief. Having no wheels means less expenses you have to think about and factor into your life.
2. No parking stress. All you need to do to feel perfectly fine about your carless existence is to get a ride with a friend pretty much anywhere in busy, crammed Seattle and watch them go through the ordeal of trying to find free parking before eventually caving and paying the ridiculous prices of a parking garage. You’ll open the passenger door washed in thankfulness that no part of you is attached to it.
3. You’re doing the environment a big ol’ favor. Again, I think it’s very possible to be eco-friendly and drive a car (being more about how you use the car than whether or not you have it). Relying on nothing but your own two feet, your possible bike, and public transportation, however, is a lifestyle that doesn’t contribute to the environmental negatives of gas-fueled vehicles. It also means one less car on the already clogged streets of Seattle.
4. Exercise! You’re often forced to walk or bike long distances when you don’t have the option of a car, which means you get in a lot of exercise while doing something that you need to do anyways. The carless lifestyle can be both environmentally and personally healthy.
Overall, it’s Worth it.
The inconveniences that come with no car are definitely a burden at times, but it’s easy to forget about the burdens that come with having one, and the urban landscape of Seattle makes traveling without your own wheels much more doable, and in many ways, practical.
If you’re living without a car, feel free to tell us about your experiences below.