As you'll know if you've followed this blog at all, we recently ended our year of car-free living and now are the uncomfortable owners of a four-wheeled vehicle as we plan our move to a more rural community where, for now anyway, a car will be required. We're still very committed to living the life that we established when we gave up our car in early 2009, and it requires ongoing good intentions and commitment. Because, well, having a car in the driveway is simply too convenient. Now that one is parked there we test ourselves on how long we can go between trips, because it's really the only way.
My new blog already has a post about our recent bike camping excursion (an expanded version of what we did last year, if you've been here for that long) and, for the next six months during the North American summer and autumn we'll find it pretty easy to choose our bikes over most other modes of transport most of the time. We're also big walkers and turn to the bus quite happily for meetings (we work from home but sometimes venture out to meet with clients) and family outings or appointments.
The one thing I didn't share following last weekend's bike camping trip (in pretty hot weather), was how bloody energetic we felt on our return. After a weekend away in the car I'd come home and feel like mush. After a pretty demanding weekend away on our bikes, we came home only to find that both my husband and I had the energy to do some much needed cleaning and painting at our house. We've seen this effect before, but I was totally blown away by it. (Let me shine for a moment, won't you?)
The thing is, the more you use your body, the more it will do for you and this is really our mantra with ourselves and our kids. I like flaking out on the sofa on a Friday night in front of a movie with some good grub as much as anyone, but I also like what a charge I get out of pushing myself the rest of the week. The really nice thing is that it comes quite naturally to our kids because we've been doing it consistently for a long time; getting around under their own steam (whether for day to day stuff or pure recreation) is just a part of how they live and they don't question it.
I've recently come across another family trying their best to do the car-free thing and these folks are blogging about it from their homebase in New Zealand. Love their blog's name, The Tyranny of Convenience (wish I'd used that!).