Wednesday, a little over two days from now, begins my year of not driving. Maybe I should call it my year of reduced driving or my year of no solo driving. Because to claim that the upcoming 365 days will be purely “not driving” is to miss the point. I’m going to end up driving occasionally (see details below), but my lifestyle– a fairly typical American one in which I climb behind the wheel whenever I feel like it– will be drastically altered.
Anything we do on a regular basis becomes a practice. And a practice, quietly, slowly, evolves into a lifestyle. Flossing, eating vegetables, doing yoga are all practices (ones I still struggle to make my own) that lead to a healthy lifestyle. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that certain behaviors can create an unhealthy lifestyle. My plan is to examine the roots of my daily driving practice, which I suspect to be habit, stress, fear, or laziness. Not good reasons to do anything.
Here’s how I see this year playing out.
Starting on Wednesday, June 1st, 2015,
- I’m going to use public transportation, a bicycle, and/or my feet to get me wherever I need to go. Thanks to my University of Colorado Denver issued College Pass, I can take the lightrail or the bus anywhere in the city, free of charge (half price to the airport).
- When other people are involved, carpooling is allowable. This is how I envision myself being able to go hiking or camping, but I still have to hoof it to the carpool itself (no being picked up unless it’s on the way).
- I can hitch rides from family and friends. For example, if my man is going grocery shopping for his father, I can ride along, and do some shopping myself. If necessary or preferable, I’m allowed to actually drive the car; the point being that I’m not instigating or engendering a car trip.
- I can’t use this experiment as an excuse to be a hermit. Although I expect one of the side benefits of this project to be reduced running around and mindless trips to the store, I’m not allowed to sit at home and buy groceries from Amazon, just because it would be easier. Meeting friends for dinner, visiting family, running errands– life must go on, just via different mechanisms.
Today, in the comfort of my air conditioned living room, seated on my cozy red armchair, I’m not feeling particularly worried. Heading into the two hottest months of the year should give me pause, but perhaps that’s exactly what I need. Pause. Downtime. The opportunity to reflect on what this experiment will teach me.