12 Things I’ve Learned Not Owning A Car

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“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”            Ram Dass

Dear Friends,

Upon moving to Missoula at the end of November, I made the decision not to own a car. Now there are several reasons why but that would be an entirely different list. I wanted to share some things I’ve learned about myself, our community, and life over the last two months.

  1. Backpacks are life! This is hands down the most useful thing I have purchased in the last two months.
  2. Speaking of money, I save a lot by not owning a car. Not just by not having a car payment and insurance but I also shop less and buy less when I do shop.
  3. It takes longer to get most places. Yes, but I don’t have to look for parking. So I’m going to mark this as a net positive.
  4. With all that travel time, I can get through a lot of books, audio books, and podcasts on my way around town.
  5. There are times to leave the headphones out of my ears and take in my environment.
  6. The world looks different when I’m on foot. I’m not entirely sure how to explain this one but I really have time to look at things and be present when I’m on foot.
  7. Walks are a great time to call your family.
  8. Always and I mean ALWAYS have a coat, preferably one that is at least water resistant.
  9. Shoes, shoes, shoes! Select footwear to match transportation (Then have a pair backup for that meeting you forget about and have to walk to).
  10. Missoula’s bus drivers are some of the nicest people in our community.
  11. Everyone has a story to share and sometimes the person sitting across from you on the bus is just the person to tell.
  12. Life is quieter and moves slower. I am a much happier person for it.

Now I’m not saying that going up a car is a possible or practical option for everyone but I hope you all take at least one day in February and go car-less if this is not already part of your lifestyle. Walk, take the bus, bike – I would love to hear about the things you learn!

Carol Schwartz

P.S. We had an amazing peace activist drop by the center last week who is looking to relocate to Missoula. If you have any leads on an affordable place to rent let us know!