I love cars. One of my car is Jaguar and the other one is a convertible. The Jaguar has a V6 3 liter engine with some insane horsepower. My black Megane convertible is also a fast one.
On days when I need to dress up nicely. I like go with the Jaguar. In cold weather when I want to sit in a comfy interior, I also choose the Jag. On other days, let’s say on weekends and sunny days. I prefer to go with the convertible, roof down.
Regretfully, two weeks ago my driving license was revoked because I have accumulated too many penalty points. In Malta, one can accumulate up to 12 penalty points during a 12 month period before getting or driving license revoked. As you might guess I love to go fast, so eventually I had to face the consequences. For speeding, reckless driving, etc… my license got revoked for two months.
On a sunny afternoon, when I opened my postbox and found the letter sent by the transport authority, I got devastated. The idea of commuting with the bus, or paying for rideshare to sit in cheap small cars If sends shivers down my back.
My dignity was in steak.
My self esteem in risk
The first days without driving
The first couple of days were horrible. I was evaluating alternative transport types, such as buying a bicycle or an electric bike. I even checked out horses in the farmer classifieds.
By the end of the first week. I got used to the idea that I’m not allowed to drive. So I started to go shopping to the local grocery store on foot, carrying bags of items back to my place. I also memorized the bus timetable and each time it felt less weird to get on the public transport.
It felt acceptable but not good.
Benefits of not driving, or using a car
Around a week into my “new normal” I started to realize that since not driving cars. I have significantly more time available for things that I actually like to do. Such as walking around in my village, sitting on benches, visiting the horses on the nearby farms and reconnecting with the beautiful Gozitan nature that surrounds my area.
It took some time till I started to recognize a much deeper revelation, which was unintentionally breaking free from the repetitive, I would risk to say compulsive habits I had.
I used to drive to the smalltown cafe almost every evening to catch up with emails, do some work and to download a couple of movies that I hardly ever watched later. Whenever I went to the cafe, I had a slice of cake with either a pot of tea or a large cup of coffee. Since I was not able to drive, I could not go there any more and I realized that I did not even miss that so much.
I started to lose weight as my sugar and carb intake reduced. Suddenly I had noticeably more time as getting stuck in traffic jams and circling around to find a parking spot were no longer my problems. Spending 20 minutes on service stations to wash and fill up the cars was a thing of the past too.
Because I started to walk more instead of driving. My evenings power walks became unnecessary too, as my daily step count target was already reached with the morning jogging and short trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, post office, etc.
Possibly the most important change that my car-less life triggered was that my I reached a new level of mindfulness. Suddenly I no longer needed to hurry, I had time to indulge in peace, enjoy the quiet, which improved the quality of thoughts significantly. Instead of having thoughts and ideas rushing through my had like earlier, suddenly I started to think calmly and systematically.
This helped a lot to find directions for my business Brand Auditor. I found a new purpose for myself and for my new business venture: to help people who are struggling with basic business problems. Since I talked with more people, I have realized that more and more people are dreaming about an online-first business but their ideas are stupid, to be polite.
So instead of targeting growing and established companies who are assumedly capable to measure and optimize the public opinion about their brands, I shifted my business model to target first-time entrepreneurs and startups and SME owners who are in desperate need of help.
In my opinion living without the car is not as bad as it sounds especially, if you are car enthusiastic like me.
Of course, there are many disadvantages to face with if you don’t drive, or if you are not allowed to drive. Such as carrying heavy items home from the supermarket or wasting money for ride sharing instead of going with your own, right?
But overall I’m very happy that I could reconnect with myself, with my neighborhood and most importantly with the nature around my village. I really missed that.