How Selling My Car, Saved My Life

When you grow up in California, having the right car to drive is very big deal. I mowed lawns and slung pizzas to pay for the privilege of driving. On my 16th birthday, I made that mythic teen-age journey to the DMV for a driver’s license. I was cool, in a 1965, baby blue, Mustang.

Well, times change. I decided that paying car loans and insurance, and circling for hours for a parking space, just doesn’t make sense anymore.

I sold my 5th car and I don’t plan to replace it. Sure, this was frightening. Would I become a hermit, or get stranded all the time? How would I get out of town?

Well, guess what, life without a car is much happier, and healthier. I ride my bike to work and through the park more often; I take the train to go visit friends and family; and rent a car for camping trips down on the Coast. The biggest hurdle was my own ego. I had internalized all those ads that said, ‘what you drive, is who you are.’

These days, my self-image is based on the books I read while riding transit. I’m smelling the flowers and smiling at strangers. I never feel that blood pressure spike of sitting in traffic. I can get anywhere on a bus or train, and occasionally I’ll spring for a late-night taxi. With the $600 a month I’ll save, I’m planning a trip through Europe and saving more for retirement.

That tumor in my brain that thought about cars for two decades has been removed. Perhaps I will fill that space with learning Italian or memorizing limericks to entertain my loved ones.

One thing is for sure, auto-free, my quality of life has improved dramatically, and yours can too.

Here’s one of the grandaddies of the US Carfree movement

Track the carfree movement here: