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A Car Free Family

Arianna is a Family Sponge contributing writer and I just love everything that she writes, including this article about her journey as a car free family. My husband and I have been on a simple living journey for a few years now, and recently  downsized to a one-vehicle family. 

We ride our bikes as much as possible and enjoy walking to the park. Yet we do own a truck and I still occasionally have to get the oil changed, tires replaced, pay insurance and take it in for some TLC every so often. Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work and money to have a vehicle! Arianna’s experience in Seoul as a car-free family is inspiring and adventurous… and maybe one day something my family will embrace as well. Thanks for sharing Arianna! — Jen


Life as a Car Free Family

Guest post written by Arianna Carlson of For the Love of Motherhood

Having lived in Boston for the better part of my adult life, I got used to not driving.  With the hassles of limited parking, worrying about which day was street cleaning, the enormous task of shoveling your car out after a blizzard, and countless parking tickets, being car-free was easy.  It helped that Boston has great mass transit and is pedestrian-friendly.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew my car-free days were over.  Although most of my days were spent in a car, I walked as often as I could, often times confronted by the bewilderment of friends who would ask, “You walked here?  Why?”   For me, it wasn’t about the environmental, physical or health benefits.  I simply enjoyed walking!  Actually, come to think of it, I think I just dislike driving more.

Especially in a large city, walking allows you to get know your neighborhood.  Walking forces you to stay close to home and use the resources around you.  You shop locally, support local store owners and meet people in your community.   You become more intimately aware of your neighborhood; and, if you’re lucky, you may even discover a hidden treasure you would never find driving past in your car.  Eventually, the large city, doesn’t feel so overwhelming anymore.

My husband and I have fond memories of when our son, Braden started walking.  Our early evening walks could take hours just to get to the end of the street (I did mention I didn’t walk for the physical benefits, right?)  Eventually we’d make it to the corner and finally around the block before it was time to head home.  Our son, now 4 is a walker.  He enjoys walking around the neighborhood, to the park and especially to Starbucks.   He resists the car and will ask if we can walk instead.

When my husband and I considered moving from Los Angeles to Seoul, Korea, one of my first thoughts was, “I won’t have to drive anymore!”   The thought of giving up my car made me feel giddy.

car free family

Seoul, like Boston, is accessible.  The subway system is easy to navigate and quite sophisticated.  You can live in Seoul your entire life without needing a car.  Braden and I have had the opportunity to explore Seoul in ways that many Seoulites haven’t.   Perhaps it’s the adventurous side of us, the desire explore and see new things, but there have been countless times we simply look at a subway map and point to where we want to go; and that’s where we end up for the day.

We’ve also gotten to know many of the local shop owners in our neighborhood.  Being one of the few foreigners, helps, but it’s nice when you’re walking down the street and a shop owner stops to wave hello as you pass by.

I won’t say we’ll never have a car again, but for now, we’re enjoying a car-free life.

car free family

Does a car-free life interest you?

Does Arianna’s experience inspire you? Or maybe you have doubts about being car-free. Share your experiences, thoughts, concerns right here.

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8 Responses to A Car Free Family

  1. Trina {Beginner Beans} September 24, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    I dream of being car-free. Especially as we’re resisting the temptation to get a car loan, and are instead doing necessary repairs on our “beater.” What a beautiful day that would be to not have to budget for gas and insurance and repairs! We did it for a summer, and loved it! But I was glad to have a car again when the weather got cold 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your family’s inspiring story, Arianna!

  2. Felicia September 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    That definitely is on my wishlist one day we hope. Great article! Something good to think about and a good goal to simplify our lives. Thanks. Felicia

  3. Annee January 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Thanks for the inspirational article!
    Annee, 3rd year carfree family of 7
    https://www.facebook.com/CarfreeFamily

  4. Terese August 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Thanks for the encouragement. We have been a car free family for 3 years, in a city where the bus stops running at 9:00pm.

  5. MIX January 23, 2014 at 1:02 am #

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