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One Month Car Free in Baltimore

So I sold my car one month ago. I’m doing OK.  So far I’ve:

Blizzard, the Dog in Antarctica. If he can do it, so can you. (Note: this picture is 100 years old. He is probably dead by now) (Photo by Frank Hurley)

  • Lost some weight
  • Saved a bunch of money
  • Struck up conversations with people I ordinarily wouldn’t even make eye contact with in a car
  • Began to get a ground level perspective on walking/biking/transit in the city
  • Been called out by a homeless man for looking unkempt

What I thought would be impossible, like grocery shopping or dealing with this Amazon jungle weather, haven’t been big issues. I’m proud to say I’ve only bummed one ride (thanks!).  I also have not signed up for Zipcar (yet). I think driving for so long gave me a false sense that life without a car is a non-stop series of barriers. Not really, though. It is important to believe you can go further than you think you can go, and that in uncharted territory you can figure out a way forward. It also helps to have a map.

It’s not like I walked on the moon, but in a consumerist culture where everything points to the “freedom” of car ownership, the overwhelming auto-oriented design of most of the country’s  infrastructure, and the glorification of immediate gratification, it feels good not to be in the machine for now.

But will I still be car free when I use Zipcar? Environmentalists and purists will probably say no.  I say yes because, if not, I’ll have to change the name of my site.  Seriously though, because I’ll use Zipcar mostly for trips outside of the city and not part of my daily routine, I think it will serve as more of a recreational convenience than a crutch. I do kinda miss drives out to the country.

This isn’t an ideological crusade but rather a practical way to see if one can live without owning a car in Baltimore.  The answer is: Yes, but it depends where you work. More on this in a future post (I love these cliffhanger, Empire Strikes Back-esque endings).