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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-03-06, 09:47 PM   #1
kevink159
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Car free got me....

Well, about 1 year ago a made some pretty big changes in life with the main goal to lessen my impact on the planet. I moved into a small apartment about 7 miles from work (a perfect commuting distance). I sold my snowmobile, car, and Harley. I got rid of the TV. I quit buying useless crap like DVDs, Cds, stereos, "stylish" clothes. I buy almost all organic food, and haven't been to McDonalds more than a few times this year. I certianly didn't quit living, I had season ticket to the Madison Symphany Orchestra, saw every Badger home football game, saw a few hockey, volleyball, and basketball games. I went on a 2 week bike tour this summer to the UP. Now, what do I have to show for 1 year of trying to live more simply? I am quiting my job on Feb 1 and going on a 2 month bike tour of New Zealand. When I get back to the States, I will spend 3 months in Arizona doing volunteer work in National parks in the area. When I get done there, my plan is to bike the Contenintal divide trail up to Jasper Nat. park. Who knows what will happen when I get there, the best part is I don't know. The money I saved up in 1 year allows me to take off at least 6 months next year, and I could probably stretch it to year if I really wanted to. Had some one said to me 2 years ago I could be happy with no car or motorcycle I would have laughed at them and called them bat-**** insane. Right now I am happier than I have ever been because I have freedom. I don't have to worry about my job, if I get laid off it is just 1 more month to relax. I don't care if someone tries to rob me, I have 2 possesions worth more than $100 (my bike and my trailer). The consumerist lifestyle is a subtle form of slavery, but once you escape it seems so obvious and easy, you wonder why everyone doesn't do it.



P.S. My job is and electrician and I never work over 40 hours per week.
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Old 01-03-06, 09:49 PM   #2
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Good for you! I resonate with almost everything you say.
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Old 01-04-06, 02:12 AM   #3
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That's wonderful! One thing will lead to another when you hit the road. It's amazing how that happens.
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Old 01-04-06, 02:46 AM   #4
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Congratulations! It's a most liberating experience.
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Old 01-04-06, 04:56 AM   #5
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this is how I'm gonna live my life (except I will keep the computer)
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Old 01-04-06, 09:19 AM   #6
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Hey Kev, just curious, what was it that sparked these changes? I am also going through the process of simplification and I am interested in what sets it off for other people.
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Old 01-04-06, 09:24 AM   #7
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Way to go Kev.

I admire rugged individualists like yourself who reject the treadmill life but don't have to. Enjoy it! Simple living doesn't have to be uncomfortable or inconvenient, and will inevitably lead to less aggravation and potential health rewards.

As a telecommuter who greatly values this kind of living, I feel free and happy, like a child (if only I could get back that innocence though), and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
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Old 01-04-06, 09:57 AM   #8
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There is a thread in the commuter's forum which included an article how the automobile means freedom in the American lifestyle. I posted a response in that forum which seems to be appropriate here as well.


Today that dream [referring to the automobile], while a lot flashier and able to travel faster than many people ever imagined, is still, at its core, about freedom.


I understand the statement above from the posted article, and I can see where most people draw that conclusion. However, this is not the case from my personal experience.

I once had a small pickup which I used relatively frequently, primarily for commuting to work or such. My brother liked the truck and mentioned he may get him one since his car was getting old and beginning to give him some trouble. I told him I had been thinking about trading it in for something else, so if he liked my truck I would sign it over to him and he could simply take over the payments. It was a pretty new truck and I didn't have much in the way of equity in it anyway. In the meantime, I would ride my bike everywhere until I decided exactly what I wanted to replace the truck.

That was five years ago. I still haven't replaced the truck. And if I wanted to replace it, I can afford almost anything out there. I just don't want to.

Shortly after my brother drove the pickup out of my driveway, I discovered something I had not expected. Freedom. Like everyone else, I had always assumed I needed a motor vehicle because I did not see how one could maintain a good quality of life without one. Being without one for a few weeks, then years, helped me to discover that quality of life did not necessarily involve owning/maintaining a motor vehicle. In fact, it opened whole new worlds and opportunities for me. The amount of resources I had poured into my motor vehicles were now being directed to other things such as frequent trips to Europe, flying on a whim to new cities in the USA and Canada for such trivial things as attending a weekend football game, attending more and varied local cultural events, donating animal food to the local animal shelter and giving more contributions to charitable causes of my choosing, and a whole myriad of other things that have been a far more pleasing use of my money than making car payments and covering fuel/maintenance/insurance costs. Of course, this has also meant making the necessary attitude and lifestyle changes to make this possible.

To make my long story short, sometimes I think the automobile is not so much about freedom as much as it's about how much we've enslaved ourselves to it.
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Old 01-04-06, 02:43 PM   #9
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i hope you have a good trip.
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Old 01-04-06, 04:27 PM   #10
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thats awesome! my parents are yelling at me to get a car... but i dont see the point... although i have to admit a snowmobile would be wicked! if we got snow that was
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Old 01-04-06, 04:40 PM   #11
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It's funny. They say it's a symbol of freedom, we call it a cage.
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"Think Outside the Cage"
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Old 01-04-06, 05:10 PM   #12
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take me with you
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Old 01-05-06, 10:26 AM   #13
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Car free got my formerly fat ass in shape. Now I'm in better shape than almost eveyone I know and because of winter cycling I'm tougher in the elments than anyone I know.
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Old 01-05-06, 05:55 PM   #14
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"the things you own end up owning you"
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Old 01-06-06, 09:49 PM   #15
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You wrote:
"P.S. My job is and electrician and I never work over 40 hours per week."

I thought electricians needed trucks to haul their work supplies. Do you do use a vehicle on the job for fieldwork? Or is your work done at the office?
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Old 01-07-06, 10:06 AM   #16
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I was at work the other day and everyone is talking about how broke they are having spent all their bonus money the company gave them before the Christmas holiday. Folks. We received over 2K in bonus money plus our check and they went through it all in two weeks! I haven't even spent the whole check and the bonus went to buy savings bonds! I didn't tell anyone because the anger it would have drawn but it just goes to show you that the more you make, the more you'll spend. If you live the consumer lifestyle, you have my condolences. You'll end up with a closet full of junk and a pocket with only two nickels to make a jingle.

Everything you buy takes your life away. You're income is generated by sacrificing your time or life by working. I found other than housing, nothing took more of my life and freedom than owning a motorcar.
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Old 01-07-06, 12:35 PM   #17
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"L'homme est ne libre et partout, il est dans les fers" ("Man is born free and yet everywhere finds himself in shackles") -Rousseau
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Old 01-07-06, 02:00 PM   #18
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Congrats!

Speaking of making people angry - just before we moved to Costa Rica I was sitting around a table having lunch - I was brown bagging it, everyone else was buying theirs.

A person said that they were wanting to trade in their perfectly good vehicle for another. A few people commented "there is nothing wrong with your vehicle" and the person said "I know, I just want another, I am just not sure I should - after all, I don't put anything away for retirement - but I think I am going to get a new vehicle anyway."

Sigh - well, I said the following, "Well, perhaps you should decide how many more years you would like to work? - Everytime you buy something you don't need - you extend the years of having to show up at a job. I sure hope you like working... 30 or 40 thousand dollars stuffed into a retirement fund now will get you out of work a lot earlier!"

What made this a particularly bitter pill was I was quiting my job and moving to the tropics - at 46 years old and everyone knew and wanted to know how we managed it.

Somehow people miss the fact that a penny saved is one you don't have to work for again.
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Old 01-07-06, 04:07 PM   #19
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Organic food is not necessarily better for the planet. Just sayin'. I applaud you for your significant changes in your lifestyle.
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Old 01-08-06, 05:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
A person said that they were wanting to trade in their perfectly good vehicle for another. A few people commented "there is nothing wrong with your vehicle" and the person said "I know, I just want another, I am just not sure I should - after all, I don't put anything away for retirement - but I think I am going to get a new vehicle anyway."
People are often looking for a meaning in this life through purchasing products and services. This new vehicle gives him satisfaction from the daily grind of life and all the hard work. But this feeling is only temporary for once the car gets old, scratched or starts breaking down, they are right back at the dealer looking for a new vehicle. Folks just don't understand that you can find satisfaction in life without having to take out a car loan or use credit cards. I suspect this individual will find a simpler way of life once all the hair goes gray and his body start breaking down.
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Old 01-08-06, 05:53 PM   #21
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congratulations - i'm working my way up to having the savings to be able to take some time off in a few years, live overseas in a big bike/ped friendly city that gets a good rate to the US dollar.

hope you can post some pics/blogs along the way, i'd be very interested in reading them!
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Old 01-09-06, 07:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtle77
Hey Kev, just curious, what was it that sparked these changes? I am also going through the process of simplification and I am interested in what sets it off for other people.
It as a pretty gradual process really, I couldn't pinpoint one specific event that completly changed my world view in a instant. Probably the single largest event was Bush getting re-elected. If the majority of my country approved of him, I certianly do not want to fit in.
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Old 01-09-06, 07:14 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by jamesdenver
congratulations - i'm working my way up to having the savings to be able to take some time off in a few years, live overseas in a big bike/ped friendly city that gets a good rate to the US dollar.

hope you can post some pics/blogs along the way, i'd be very interested in reading them!
I will try to post a blog, mom wants to stay updated
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Old 01-09-06, 07:19 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imroygbiv
You wrote:
"P.S. My job is and electrician and I never work over 40 hours per week."

I thought electricians needed trucks to haul their work supplies. Do you do use a vehicle on the job for fieldwork? Or is your work done at the office?
I am a commercial electricain and have been at the same job site for 2 1/2 years. This is a long time on one job, but most jobs last for at least a few months, so transporting tools a few times a year is not a problem. It is a part of our contract what tools I supply and what tools the company supplies, and I can easily carry my tools on my trailer.
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