Today is the first day of my 30-day no car challenge. And I have to say, I have mixed emotions. I’m excited by the challenge: reacquainting myself with my bike, getting more exercise through walking, discovering the possibilities (and likely frustrations of the Chicago public transit system), reducing my impact on the environment, and hopefully my wallet. But of course I have reservations: It’s going to take a lot longer to get where I want to go … or maybe I just think that’s the case. Because time passes a lot faster when you think you’re in control. Or better put, I feel more in control of my destiny behind the wheel rather than having someone else direct my travels.
In reality, there is probably only a few trips I routinely take that will take me longer. Once you add in getting into the car, driving to my destination and parking, it’s about the same as it would be to choose another option. The problem, the predicament, is planning ahead. Knowing my route, and my travel options besides my car, is probably going to be the biggest lesson in store for me in the next 30 days.
For example, going to work each day may take me an additional 15 minutes each way, but I’ll have to time when I leave my house just right and know the train schedule. Going to my weekly karaoke bar may take longer, but I can enjoy my evening’s worth of beverages without worry. Grocery shopping will be different, but as many of my friends, I tend to have way more food in the house than I need, so it will be good to get to the point where I’m only getting groceries for that I need for the week.
All of this time spent on the train or bus won’t be time wasted. No, I look forward to knitting and reading during my commute. It’ll be good to tackle my WIPs and work my way through the giant stack of unread magazines that have piled up this summer.
So although I am a little worried on how I’ll make my way around, I think it’ll be fun. And of course, there’s a reason I chose a summer month to do this challenge: less weather to contend with.
Happy 30 days without a car!