As someone who works professionally trying to encourage others to use public transportation and other forms of alternative mobility, I'm hesitant to make this statement, but: A growing part of me wants to own a car.
Recently, however, the desire to have my own car has been emerging. The thought is creeping into my head more frequently than it used to. But why? My commute is not the problem – I’m 35 minutes from my office via Metro, and 20 minutes on a bike, with a dose of fresh air and exercise every morning. I have no desire to trade that up for the opportunity to drive through Georgetown during rush hour.
I’m also fortunate to live in one of the most walkable neighborhoods of Washington, DC (Walkscore 97!), a location I chose specifically to accommodate a car-free lifestyle. Nearly everything I need is within a 10 minute walk – groceries, dry cleaning, banks, entertainment, etc.
How much easier would this weekend trips be if our own car was waiting for us a few steps away from our front door? What if we could wake up on a Saturday with no plans, and spontaneously decide to go hiking in Shenandoah National Park? These are the things owning a car would allow, and they have my attention.
Sure, the car-free lifestyle at times requires high levels of patience, planning ahead and strategic thinking. But, that's actually part of the fun. When we rent a car, we make sure we take advantage of every minute. Drive to a wedding? Check. Stock up at Target? Check. Visit Dairy Queen because there are NONE in the District? Check. The trade off here is that we sacrifice some spontaneity and flexibility. In the end, though, buying a car would end up costing us more than the benefits we would get in return. And so, car-free we shall remain.