Not having a car makes for some interesting discussions when developing new friendships here on the Isle of Man. Because our new friends know the island as car owners they aren’t as aware of the transportation options available. People have offered us rides multiple times when we have been fine to walk. We had some stunned looks the other weekend when we explained that we had walked to an event, a pleasant 40 minute stroll, and that we planned on walking home. A few people have been puzzled by our decision not to buy a car and we have had to, rather self-consciously, explain that it’s not because we can’t afford it. We just enjoy the lifestyle of getting around without a car.
We’ve been here less than two months and have already visited a handful of little towns. All by train, bus or on foot. Sure it takes longer and a bit of planning is required, but we love it.
I’m hesitant to say we’ll be car-free forever. We haven’t experienced a winter here yet and we’re on a short term lease in our current flat. If we move farther away from Chris’s office it might not be as practical to go without a car. But I hope we stick to it. There are so many advantages to going without a car.
- Health: we walk a lot. Somedays I might walk up to 10 kilometres if the weather is okay and I have errands or playdates on opposite ends of town. For Chris his 15 minute walk to work with a small hill is a great way to start the day and then unwind before arriving home.
- Conversation: walking together and chatting is a nice way for my husband and I to relax and connect. Since we ditched the iPhones we’re finding our walking time even more enjoyable.
- See more: in a car the greenery and scenery just whizzes by you. By train or on foot, or even by bus, we’ve been able to really see our new city. We’ve wandered neighborhoods and found parks that we wouldn’t have found or seen in a car. On the train we’re free to enjoy the breathtaking views as the train slowly chugs its way to our destination.
I know going without a car isn’t possible for everyone. Schedules, lack of public transport and city sprawl can all thwart any possibility of being a car-free family. But I urge you to give it a try for an outing a week. Dust off the bikes or look up bus service in your area. Ask around to see if there are any local walking paths into town. Slow down for one day a week. I promise there is more to be enjoyed than just the gas savings.
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