Monday, 26 March 2012

Carfree: The Hicks Family

Lyvia Hicks sent me this, about taking the four wheel detox - it’s a great example of how deciding to not own a car can be just, kind of, normal. And how the new “normal” can be a lot better than what came before.

“Our car died a year ago. I remember feeling very perplexed, wondering how we were going to survive, which is strange because when we sat down and looked at all our options, we realised that not having a car was distinctly feasible. I could get to work on the bus. The children always walked to school anyway. We live just off the town centre. The public transport around where we live is good, really good. My public sector pay was frozen and inflation was rising. Could we afford the petrol, the tax, the parking permit? Actually, even if we had wanted another car, we realised we probably couldn’t afford one.

But rather than feeling emasculated by being at the mercy of rising inflation, we noticed a creeping self satisfaction. We’d be a progressive family. We’d be bucking the system. No more parking nightmares or traffic jams for us. And then there were all the other benefits to consider: the environment, our health, our pockets.

It’s been a liberating year. We haven’t suffered. We joined a car club for those times we needed to get the children to the out-of-hours surgery in the middle of the night. We’ve walked, sauntered and dashed. We’ve interacted with our environment on beautiful sunny days and harsh, wet, windy days and it’s made us feel alive. They talk of the freedom afforded to us by our cars, but we’ve found more freedom by living without one. Now we wouldn’t buy a car even if we could afford it.”

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