Wednesday, February 20, 2008


My partner and I choose not to own a car. This is a rare, and fairly controversial decision in the midwest, even in the urban midwest. I have never had a car (Or a license), but my partner likes driving, he worked with the Auto Industry for almost ten years, he's from L A. After living in Europe for two years, he returned to the states and decided he did not need a car and sold it. A brave decision in my opinion!
I have had it easy when it comes to car free living. For 7 years I lived in Minneapolis, a mile and a half from work, about three blocks from the grocery store, near 6 or 7 bus lines and surrounded by friends and bars with in a stumble-home radius. It was a great place to live, but after graduating, beginning a career and settling down in a relationship I was over the wild party life and craziness. When the decision to co-habit was finalized I joined my partner in a first ring suburb which definitely made things a bit more challenging.
Work here is 4.5 miles away, the nearest grocery store is a 20 minute walk away and we have one bus line nearby. It is not unbearable--the bus is half a block away and goes straight downtown where we work. There are several stores along the bus route which are easy to get to. We belong to Hour Car and use that for errands every other week or so. Every couple of months we rent a car for the weekend for larger errands and to visit my elderly father. It works. It takes a lot of planning and forethought, but it works. In the summer we use our bicycles to go to farmers markets or the library and the bus works, it just takes a transfer these days where I used to be able to go almost anywhere in one trip.
Bottom line is that life without a car is possible, even in flyover land, even in a suburb(albeit a first ring suburb). We save money by not owning a car and by not having stores immediately available. If we forget to get something we cannot jump in the car and head to the store. Impulse buying is very much curtailed. Our life is already filled with too many things in our opinion anyway so not having this outlet to go consume is actually a good thing.

We know and understand that not owning a car is not possible for everyone. Especially with the way our cities our planned and created. We do think that if you try, you might be surprised at what you can do without. As Plato said, "In order to seek one's own direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life."


Sunny said...

Am much relieved that instead of saying goodbye to blogging forever, you've taken it in a new direction and in a new space, very forward of you! It doesn't hurt that you always seem to be interested in the very things I am.

Kudos to you guys, hopefully more take your example and give up worshipping the petrol. (To be Bridget about it.)

insulsus said...

Good to see you about the place D!