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A car free life?

Whilst not everyone could easily give up their car, there are of course many who live without one.  One advocate of low carbon living, Rachael Hunter from North Devon, decided to give it a try, and was surprised by what she found out.  Rachael is a real pioneer in reducing her carbon footprint, and as well as being passionate about it she is also in a position in her life where she feels able to make some big changes.  But even Rachael was daunted by the idea of giving up what she called her “symbol of freedom”.  Here is her story:
My fear of change 

The emissions from my 16-year-old, petrol fuelled car made up a significant proportion of my carbon footprint.  Even though I knew this, I dragged out the decision to get rid of my car for 2 years before actually doing it.  I just couldn’t imagine not having a car.  

However, when the Rover developed a problem with the electrics the decision was made for me. It got it scrapped and I decided not to replace it. This was my chance to try out what it was like to live without a car in North Devon.  By far the biggest lesson for me has been that the thought of not having a car is much worse than the reality. 
Expectations vs. reality

I entered this experiment with completely the wrong mindset, expecting the worst all along.  I was convinced that I’d be deserted in the middle of nowhere, with no bus in sight, in the pouring rain. So far, the buses have turned up when the timetable says they would (even in the middle of nowhere) and I have made it home safe and sound.  

The reality is, as an able-bodied person, living without a car has not been that bad. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I'm enjoying it.  Travelling further afield on bike, bus or train gives me more of a sense of adventure and I don’t have to worry about car maintenance (which I never liked).  I’m also saving over £1,500 per year simply on running costs.
My wish list

Do I wish that there were better public transport options/ safer cycling routes to more rural parts of Devon?  YES

Do I wish that there was an electric car sharing scheme that I could join so I don’t have to buy my own?  ABSOLUTLEY! (It’s something I would like to set up locally so please get in touch via Carbon Savvy if you are keen to join an electric car share scheme too.)
Do I regret giving up my car? NO. I am glad I took the leap into life without a car.
The 4 best things about my ‘car free life’ – excuse the pun!
  • I walk more, which means I’m improving my fitness levels, and I am getting to know my local area much better.  
  • I save time by cutting out lots of unnecessary journeys I used to do when I had the car.  
  • Most surprising of all:  Reduced stress levels. Parking can be a major hassle and at times causes conflict between neighbours.  My car was actually a source of worry and now I find I'm more relaxed!
  • It is very satisfying to know that I’ve cut my carbon footprint by about 2 tonnes. 
» Visit Rachael's blog here
Less car, more relaxation

If you are not ready to give up your car but would like to explore ways to reduce your car mileage, here are some different ways of doing a regular 20 mile commute, and the associated carbon savings:
We hope you liked reading about Rachael’s experience as she reluctantly gave up her car, only to be delighted by how it turned out.  Everyone’s lifestyle is different so this may or may not be for you.  At Carbon Savvy we suggest starting off with the easiest actions for you.  Read 10 savvy ways to save CO2 on our Actions page - link below.
Warm wishes,

The Carbon Savvy Team
» 10 ways to save CO2 and raise wellbeing
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