[ed note:] This post was sent to us by Tammy Roberts, from West Yorkshire, UK:
I’M GIVING UP MY CAR
I didn’t learn to drive until I was 30. Up until that point, I hadn’t seen the point of having a car or even having the ability to drive, as public transport was convenient enough. However, 2 months before my 30th birthday, I moved to Plymouth for a new job and for the first time, I discovered how difficult it was to do my outreach work without a driving license – my job covered the whole of Devon and Cornwall. Within 6 months, I passed my driving test and around 4 months later, I bought my first car – my beloved Fiat Tipo. Yes, it was cheap and a bit of a banger and had all the quirks and faults that are found on most Italian cars (it’s a standing joke on Top Gear), but I loved it nonetheless! And, my goodness, did I love the freedom that being a car owner gave me! I was off to the beach at weekends and I drove back home to Yorkshire once a month to visit family and friends. No more sharing my personal space on a 7 hour train journey, and trying to carry my own weight in luggage. It was fantastic! I even moved back to Yorkshire with my car full of my belongings, with a friend following behind, his car equally laden with my stuff. I could not believe that I hadn’t learned to drive sooner and found that I needed my car for work more and more as I moved from job to job When I had my son, 4 years ago, having a car was a bonus. I remember a childhood of long bus journeys to shopping destinations with my mum, gran and my sister and it was so nice to be able to jump in the car with William in his baby seat and set off on day trips or to visit friends.
Now my son is almost 4 and I no longer need my car for my job. I also only travel 1 mile to work now, instead of 24 each way that was my daily commute in a previous job. Yes, the car is convenient for popping to the gym or supermarket, but it’s no longer a necessity and, with the cost of tax, insurance and increasing petrol prices, it’s no longer a commodity that I can afford. And so I made the decision to get rid of the car. My son’s school is 10 minutes walk from our house, we have a supermarket within a 20 minute walk, and the walk to work takes about 40 minutes, although there are plenty of buses from our village too. Luckily, this has coincided with my parents’ need for a new car and, as my car is 8 years younger than theirs, so the decision was to ultimately benefit them too.
It’s scary though – I have to admit. As lifestyle changes go, this is a biggy! How will I just pop to the rubbish tip to do my recycling, or drive to Aberdeen or Plymouth to visit friends for a break? It’s daunting to think that my freedom will be limited and I will, once again, be reliant on buses and trains for all my transport needs. However, I will lose weight and get fit from doing more walking, have more of my disposable income at my disposal and help the environment – what could be simpler? I can’t ride a bike, as I never had a bike when I was young. Perhaps, I’ll learn now, side by side with my son…….
[ed note: any other GG readers out there who’ve gone car-less? I’m sure that Tammy isn’t going it alone. Great job Tammy! I hope you keep us informed of your progress.]