4.07.2008

Values

A significant reason for this blog was to share with you (all 3 or 4 of you) some of my thoughts and experiences related to living in Japan and our adjustment to life on this side of the Pacific. Our time there was tremendously formative in many ways, one of which was realizing that we needed to slow down. The practical outcome of that was that we sold our car and started riding our bikes or walking or riding transit.

We have been without a car for over a year now. We survived a Kamloopsian winter (although we never really hit below -15C and didn't really get any huge dumps of snow).

Things were cruising along quite nicely. We had our plans set out for the next several years and it seemed that we were progressing towards good things.

How times change. Towards the end of January, we discovered that Kelly is pregnant. This was certainly NOT in the long term plan. Needless to say, everything has changed since then. One of the changes that we knew was coming regardless of any pregnancy was the fact that we know that we have to move this summer. Our rental agreement will end and we will need another place to live.

Shortly after our surprising news, we received an invite from my sister to collaborate on a house that we could share with our families on an acreage just outside town, close enough to commute to work, yet far enough to be unmistakably rural. Since that time we have spent a significant amount of time looking for land to purchase, looking for the right house plan that works for two families and generally imagining what this little venture could look like. One of the obvious implications of moving out of town is the necessity of buying a car.

One of the things that I noticed during this process was that I was truly disappointed at the prospect of buying a car and the costs of a car seemed to become almost ridiculously insurmountable. While it is a 'good' time to buy a car in that cars are cheaper than they have been in a while, gas is crazy expensive and the thought of intentionally moving to a place that requires a 30-40 minute commute each way, every day just isn't appealing to me. I want MORE time on my bike and LESS time in a car. Having been car free for over a year, I get car-sick (rather appropriate) much more readily than I used to, and Mixon does too.

Perhaps the real trade-off that makes it all worth our while is that being out in the country will allow us to become more self-reliant by planting a garden, using alternative energy sources (passive solar) and possibly starting some sort of home-based business. Self-reliance is a good thing.

I know that I need to suck it up and buy a car. Asking Kelly to go car-free during the later stages of her pregnancy and while this next little Madland is an infant would be...uhh...met with some resistance. The big question is whether I want to live in a place that will maximize the amount of time that I spend in that car.

2 comments:

sans auto said...

Tough questions! I was surprised after we had boy #3 that we have actually consumed less gas than we did before. I think some of that may have been due to bad weather and a new infant that we didn't want to take out, but we filled the tank on January 15 and then again at the beginning of April. That's it for the year.

While we have a well situated house for bicycling and walking, I am always weighing driving to go camping vesus staying home and doing things. I LOVE camping, but those miles and the gas... It's important to reduce fuel consumption. It is more important to spend life on the important things, like family. So I"m going camping, I don't know where you should buy your house. Good luck

SiouxGeonz said...

Every commute... all that consumption. I dunno, I'd have a hard time justifying it.