Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Car Less" or "Car Free"?

As you may have already read from my last post, I have jumped into the world of renting my car out using RelayRides on Friday, and am now without a car for the upcoming week!

So, how has it been going so far?

Well, it's certainly been an adventure.  For starters, my fiance is still getting used to the idea, and seems at times, a bit surprised and forgets I don't have a car this week.  On Sunday night I set my alarm an extra half hour earlier than usual, and when he asked why, I had to remind him that MARTA (oh, such a joy to ride!) is none too quick.

Nevertheless, I have to say I've found the experience more freeing than anything else.  The weather has been ideal this week, making my 4.5 mile bicycle ride (each way!) to the train station rather stress free.  I have a desk job, so it's fairly important that I'm not drenched in sweat when I arrive.

My commute time is longer now, that is true, but I have the pleasure of knowing I'm actually multitasking while I bike to the train station; I am getting from Point A to Point B, exercising, and reducing my impact on the environment!  Since running and fitness are always top of my mind, this is a significant benefit.  I even decided another way to look at what I'm getting paid is that I'm 1), covering the cost of owning my car each day it's rented out, and 2), I'm getting paid to exercise!

Looking at it like that may not be useful to everyone, but it has helped me, especially since I already make a good living.  I have a steady, full-time job in corporate America and don't actually need the extra money from renting my car out.

So, why do it?

The extra cash is great as is helping to preserve our environment, but neither of those is my driving motivation.  Mainly, I enjoy trying new things, escaping my comfort zone and finding new ways to make money.  Renting out my car is affording me all of those opportunities.

Renting on RelayRides and being Car Free is not new to me.  I experimented with ditching my car entirely for about 5 months a couple of years ago.

While living in Atlanta. 

If you've ever visited Atlanta, you know it's not what you would call a walker or biker's paradise and has some of the worst traffic in the country. In addition to that, according to a new report released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Institution, Atlantans also have the longest commute in the country.

Still, this was possible for me for a few reasons:

1.  I lived within 2 miles of work
2.  I had a great support network - family that lived nearby that didn't mind giving me the occasional ride!
3.  I was in the middle of the city.

Still, I gave up the experiment after a few months and bought a new car.  At this point, I don't believe it's practical to live in Atlanta without a car, but going without for occasional stretches of time, now that, I can do. 

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