I have been car-free (d. not owning a car) or car-lite(d. owning a car but using it on a limited basis) for 11 years now.
In 2000, I realized I was living my life for the wrong reasons: just to make a lot of money, accumulate things, get others to respect me for my business success who really did not care who I was or what I did.. I was also very depressed, out of shape, and very overweight.
One day I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw-a sad, unhealthy person.
I had always admired the people I knew who lived car-free or car-lite and thought “that is cool, maybe someday that could be me”.
In 2004 I ended up taking a new job, and a short time later starting a business. I gave into pressure from my family to get a car (even just for emergencies they said) and become car-lite. For the next six years I became car-lite and missed the car-free life. I kept riding my bike and walking most places. Even car-lite I rode thousands of miles a year for transportation purposes.
In June of 2009 I decided to go car-free again, but this time for these reasons; for my health, my way to help clean the environment and respect the Earth, support my community relationships like buying only local products, and saving money by not owning a car, around $8,000 per year- per car.
In the last 11 years I have biked a minimum of 50,000+ miles most of which was for transportation, I have also walked hundreds, maybe even a few thousand miles. I have gotten more involved with alternative transportation advocacy groups, but still strongly feel the BEST way to advocate alternative transportation is to live a life where you incorporate it on a daily basis.
There are times when I wish I had a car, only for the convinence. I do love this life style and I realize, for those who live in a big city it may not even be interesting, but for the rest of us, living with out a car is a true adventure breaking all rules of the American tradition of having a car.
So, to you, want to be an advocate, go walk or ride your bike and let people see you do it. As Gandhi said,
Carfree is a good way to slow the ravaged plagued society of Obesity, Pollution, and Community degradation.
Being carfree you will be healthy in your mind and body, the health of the environment, and you will engage in a positive way in your community.
How I have benefited personally living carfree?
Here is a short list:
Healthier both mentally and physically
Doing my part for the environment
I have many friends in my community and meet more every day.
I feel great.
I am more passionate about living and life!