A few things have happened that have nudged me towards car ownership once again.
- my 71 year old neighbour has lost her license; she had an accident a couple months ago which was deemed her fault. She got a driving coach and then tried once again for her license. She didn't pass. She has taken me to appointments and vice versa - I was feeling vulnerable for both of us.
- my daughter, like me, suffers from anxiety. I could tell she was nervous about me not having a vehicle. She was very happy when I would rent a car from her place of work but I can't do that all of the time.
- I didn't like the restrictions in my life due to not having wheels especially with winter coming up. I was worried about being more isolated and unable to attend activities in and around and outside the city.
- I don't like hitching a ride with others - I want to rely on myself. There will come a time when I'll have to give up driving but for the next 20 years or so I'd like to drive myself.
- Figuring out how to get to an event/protest etc (other than using my bicycle) is a pain in the arse!
- Can't be spontaneous. (Hey, you want to go to the beach? Sure, just a minute while I rent a car!)
- My best friends don't drive so I feel I need to.
- I found a used car that my daughter (the car expert!) deemed good enough for me :) She doesn't want me driving a sub-compact car. It was within my budget (about $1500 under budget). It's also a Honda Civic Econ model that uses less gas when in Econ mode :) Two thumbs up!!
- I calculated how many kms per year I was putting on Dougie the Dodge and it worked out to be about 8,000km per year and that includes three 2000km trips to PEI! Obviously I don't drive the average number of kms that most people do. At that rate this car should last me about 15+ years!!! And now I can visit my two sisters - one in PEI and one in Bracebridge, ON (about a 4.5 hour drive). (One sister can't drive more than 30 minutes at a time due to back pain and the other sister never got her license.)
- I've had the newish car now since last Wednesday and have driven it twice. I continue to use my feet and my bicycle :) I think the combination of walking, biking and occasional driving is the best fit for me and my lifestyle. Sunday I cycled 20km and yesterday I cycled 30km. Today I am walking to where I play volleyball and then walking to the grocery store which is right on my way home. If I can avoid using the car I will.
- I have a brother who doesn't drive and I usually pick him up to attend family events. It makes things rather awkward if I don't have a vehicle. I am imagining taking a taxi to Christmas dinner along with all of our gifts and food!
Going car-free, even for such a short time, has helped me sort out my needs and wants when it comes to car ownership. I could live car-free but find I don't want to. Not yet anyway. As far as my budget goes I have put the insurance and gas budget lines back. I paid cash for the car as I refuse to have any debt. So now it's SAVE SAVE SAVE until I get my savings back to what they were before. That would take about a year or so except for the fact that I am already thinking about three possible trips for next year. Whether I can do all three remains to be seen but so far I'm thinking about British Columbia (again), walking in the Cotswolds (again and with Annie), and Scotland (again) with my brother.