I had never owned a car until I was 26. Not because I didn’t want one, or I was afraid of driving-it simply did not make sense to have one. Owning a car is a luxury, one that I could not afford. Once I decided that the one big thing missing in my life was adventure, having a car was a key component to manifesting that reality. My pre-car days and post-car life are two very distinct lifestyles that really impacted my everyday life.
Not having a vehicle for most of my life meant decisions based on convenience. I always lived within walking distance of where I worked and went to college. From graduating high school up until my mid 20’s I always lived less than a 20 minute walk from work- except when I reverted to a soul sucking retail job right out of college for a few months and had to commute by bus. Sacrifices…
Living near to where I worked usually meant living in the heart of town. I enjoyed the convenience of walking down the stairs of my apartment, grabbing a coffee and then walking a block to work, all within 15 minutes of needing to be there. I could go out dancing around the corner and walk out of the bar, straight to my bed within minutes, never having to worry about a DD or someone else’s schedule. Hell, the after-party was frequently at my place! I felt good about myself not having a car because I was saving money, and minimizing my ecological footprint, and being totally self reliant without one. The only problem was that I didn’t want to be stationary anymore.
So when I decided that I wanted to change my life and make it mobile, it meant four wheels. I had very little driving experience before I purchased ‘Black Beauty’ and really learned how to drive while traveling across country. Six lane traffic? Whatever. Two years ago, city driving was a terrifying thought. Now, friends prefer me to drive.
I also get to experience the woes of owning a car. I truly understand how plans can go awry when car troubles ‘pop’ up. While passing though New Mexico, 2 of my tires were punctured by nails and I had to get them all replaced. It’s times like those you just have to say, it’s just money.
From pre-car life living in New England and my world consisting of a 20 mile radius, to post-car life living bi-coastally, it’s been quite a change. I uncovered a piece of my independence through owning a vehicle and connected with a piece of American history through road tripping.
One of the best feelings I know is when I get into my car and drive to a place I’ve never been to before. I can truly appreciate this sense of freedom because I know what it’s like not having this luxury. I can appreciate this freedom because I am not beholden to someone else holding the keys.