Most people are shocked to learn that I don’t have a TV but they soon learn to accept it. The one thing most people [in the U.S.] can’t seem to accept is that I also don’t have a car.
For the most part, being carless has not been an issue – it’s only been an issue when I lived in two U.S. cities: Nashville TN and Austin TX. The lack of public transportation, sidewalks, local shops and extreme humidity made life without a car impossible. But from London to Paris to New Zealand to Canada and yes, Santa Monica California – home of the car-loving people, I’ve been able to not have a car and am actually quite happy for it (my city has a walkable score of 98/100 – I actually think it has 100).
One of the reasons I love being carless is the fact that I hate to exercise. Hate. It. I can’t do gyms, do not ask me to go a yoga class, and please put away that Carmen Electra Shake Your Ass DVD. But the flip side to that is that I really do love being active; I’ll surf any day, I’ll hike a mountain, I’ll lift more heavy boxes than the mover and I’ll jump up and down in excitement over your promotion for 20 minutes. And I’ll especially walk. I’m a walker – I walk everywhere.
I’ve talked about this before in my Walkable Cities post but still the concept of walking, of natural exercise, seems to be lost. I can’t tell you how many people I know go to the gym, pay all those fees and then say to me, “Oh my god, you walk to get groceries?”
Let me just say that walking to the grocery store (Whole Foods) is a beautiful 30 min walk up tree lined streets in which I’m seeing people I know, inhaling flowers like nobodies businesses, laughing at little dogs and just enjoying the sunshine. When I get my groceries I load them up in my pack and repeat on the way home – this time with15lbs added and the view of the ocean to keep me going. Much nicer than feeling like a hamster in a wheel.
I do miss having a car and have signed up for Flexcar for those times I really need one (I do tend to go to a lot of events in LA and it just wouldn’t be right to show up in a fancy dress just off the bus!) and I’ve often toyed with the idea of buying a Prius (it’s what I rent when I need a car in L.A. and went 460 miles of commuting hell on one tank of gas!). But the value of not just saving money (car, insurance, gas, gym fees) but also of just having a healthy natural lifestyle means more to me than sometimes the convenience of having to get somewhere quick.
What are the ways you could be active without even knowing it?