For most of us, finding ourselves without a car or other means of personal transportation is a reality we haven’t seen ourselves in since puberty. Unfortunately, this was a situation I found myself staring right down the barrel of. I had recently been accepted as a congressional intern, which meant I was traveling to Washington D. C. for the summer. I had been looking forward to this opportunity for a very long time and was excited at the news, except for one minor dilemma; I would have to spend my summer without a car.
Not having a car can be a very difficult thing, and it certainly was at first. Getting used to public transportation was not easy for me. I had to learn to fit my schedule around someone else’s schedule, and that has always been a concept I have struggled with. Fortunately, Washington D. C. has one of the best public transit systems I have ever seen. There are plenty of bus stops pretty much everywhere so getting to my destinations, which were usually pretty prominent buildings, were not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated. Not having a car was also very challenging from a social standpoint. I only knew a handful of people in the area and most of them lived a substantial distance from where I lived. Visiting them became very challenging and time consuming.
There was some good that came from being without a ride. I guess I never fully appreciated how much I actually pay towards gas, but it was nice having that extra money in my pocket for a change. I also got used to taking the longer bus routes. In a city like D.C. a longer route isn’t such a punishment. I got to see parts of the city and learned about things that I would have otherwise been ignorant to. Another perk to not having a car is the limited parking in the area. For the few people who do drive to work everyday, parking is a real challenge. Not only can parking be time consuming, but it can also be very costly when you have meters everywhere.
I will not lie living without a car certainly presents it own set of obstacles. It can really limit your freedom and mobility, but if you put forth the proper time and effort into planning your transportation for the day it is definitely possible. It can also be a great way to save some money now that you aren’t filling up your tank every week.