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Life without a Car

Updated on September 25, 2012
Photo by jmv.
Photo by jmv. | Source

At the writing of this hub, I have been living in Poland, Europe for a little over a year. During this time, I have not purchased an automobile. It is not that I have anything against automobiles; I just cannot afford one at the time. However, I drove for many years in the past. At times, I still drive other peoples’ cars (especially when they are drunk), because I do have a driver’s license. Nonetheless, I will be discussing the pros and cons of living without a vehicle, based on my experience from the past year of my life.

Money in My Pocket

Not owning an automobile has released me from the expenses associated with one. For example, I do not have to pay for gas, registration, insurance, general maintenace (oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations, etc.); and I do not have to keep a certain amount of money aside in case my car breaks down (like my cousin, who just had his transmission go out on Christmas Eve). Although, owning a car makes life so much more convenient.

Unintentional Exercise

For instance, if I want to stock up on groceries, I need a car to do that. It is not very comfortable carrying a load of groceries from the store. One time, I got a little over anxious and filled two bags full of heavy groceries. The walk back from the store to my flat is about 20 minutes long. The next day, my traps (muscles between my neck and shoulders) were so sore that they felt like I did some serious trap raises (exercises) the day before. However, this may be a blessing in disguise, because it leads me to walk much more.

The Air Out There

Although I take more walks as a result of not owning a vehicle, the malodor of car exhaust is much more noticeable too. There is something about driving a car which leads me to notice it much less. Maybe it is because I cut through exhaust much quicker in a car. Not to mention, in an automobile I could close the windows and set the air conditioning to recycle in-car air in order to avoid inhaling exhaust from other automobiles. Yet, when I am walking along the roadside, I have no other choice but to put up with it.

Weather is a factor as well. In a car, I could avoid unpleasant weather. Since I do not currently have a car, I have to put up with the rain, wind and snow. Although, the snow does not bother me so much. I actually prefer the snow over the rain. Today was not a pleasant day, however. I had to take the bus to the city in order to take a passport picture, pick up mail from the post office, and buy some groceries; all from different areas of the city. What makes this so bad is that it was raining and windy, and my umbrella broke. The wind folded it back and bent the metal springs; making it impossible to open normally. I threw the piece of junk away in a garbage container. Then I had to brave the wind and rain.

The Love Bus

I meet more people as a result of not owning a car; especially when taking long bus trips. The last time I took a long bus trip (to visit my relatives for Christmas), I had the privilege of talking to a pretty young lady. She noticed my broken Polish. As it turns out, however, she spoke English fairly well; so we began conversating in English. That helped the time go by during my trip. I could also sleep on long bus trips. I can’t do that behind the wheel. What’s more, not that I drink (I do not drink at all); but I could be as drunk as I want on a bus. Not a good idea behind the wheel. On the flip side, sitting nearby people reeking of alcohol and cigarettes on the bus is not very pleasant.

As a result of not owning a car, I pay more attention to bus schedules. There have been a couple times when I have missed my bus and have had to wait another hour for it to come by again. Actually, that just recently happened to me when coming back from visiting my relatives a few hours away, and I had to switch buses to get home. I finally made it home at 10:30 p.m. Oh yeah, never a dull day when you don’t own a car.

Living without a car is not impossible, although it may be inconvenient at times. Not having an automobile has led me to save money on automobile expenses. I also get plenty of exercise in terms of walking and carrying groceries around. I have even met some people on long bus rides that I would not have had the privilege of meeting otherwise. However, cars are so convenient. There are no bus schedules to memorize, I could choose my passengers, and transporting luggage and similar items is easier, to name a few.


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