Funny how when you don’t do something, it can feel special.
More than 9 in 10 Americans drive at least once a week and a majority commute daily by automobile. I don’t. One of my first burning desires to make part of my adult life was to not be reliant on a car.
I chose to live in a heavenly walkable neighborhood in one of our country’s few cities that can be truly lived in without a car. I sold my car. I bicycle to work, live near a major subway line and can walk to daily needs like a supermarket, doctor, veterinarian, barber and plenty of nightlife.
Cars are misused in cities and create weird parking culture. But I don’t hate cars. They’re a novelty to me now. So I’ve developed a little game when I’m in one.
My wife and I own a car now but because I built my adult life without a car in mind, I use it very little. Between bundled errands and un-transited work visits, I drive two or three times a month. These uses are almost always that which requires the space and strength of a car — furniture, household improvement supplies, group driving — or those inconvenient stops.
For work events, we’ll rent a car, gather supplies and several teammates. Once a year, a childhood friend and I rent a car for some elaborate roadtrip.
In those and other circumstances, my being in a car isn’t a headache or a norm but very nearly a special trip. Like most of us, I love listening to music and catching up in long conversations.
But I also like quiet introspective time I don’t otherwise allow myself. If I’m In a car for more than a half hour or so, I usually challenge myself to come up with at least one new idea I can put in motion when I get home. Sometimes I take on a very specific challenge or obstacle. Other times I let my mind wander.
Almost always I’ve worked through something when I allow free range thinking with purpose, lost in thought in some car. Consider it next time. Turn down the music, allow for a quiet to settle, and see what idea you can find.
Valley of Fire State Park, Overton, United States via Unsplash.