Just over a year ago I splurged and purchased a a 2018 Chevy Bolt EV. I’m not a car lover. I’ve tried living without one more than once. Every time I’ve had to buy a new to me car I’ve felt bad about buying something that contributes on such a massive scale to environmental degradation. From pavement choking all the life in our soil to emissions from burning fossil fuels, to the sheer volume of space occupied by parked cars - I hate all of it. My Bolt represented a step in the right direction, offering solutions to at least one of the problems associated with cars. I have to admit, I loved that car. Yes - past tense. A few weeks ago someone slammed into my parked Bolt and totaled it. While grateful that I was not in the car when it happened, I have to admit, I was pretty heartbroken.
Around the same time, I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts The Good Dirt. Episode 75, "creating a sustainable lifestyle through tiny house living and conscious consumerism" with Ryan Mitchell. The conversation between Mary and Emma ( the lady farmers behind the good dirt podcast) and Ryan offered so much more than I imagined it would. They did talk about making the transition to tiny house living. But at the heart of the episode is the concept of allowing brain space for unexpected solutions to arise. Ryan began his tiny house journey by asking “what if” he could eliminate the need to pay a mortgage. Not “how” but “what if". And Mary quickly picked up on the importance of the distinction, which started a lively conversation about sitting with the “what if” long enough to allow the “how” to arise. About pushing past challenges and deciding to do something because because it’s important.
Armed with this inspiration, I asked “what if” I don’t replace this car. The answer to this question is still unfolding. So far it’s meant joining a car share, shopping for a pedal assist electric bike, walking more and taking advantage of public transportation. I’ve taken the occasional Lyft ride and last weekend rented a car to go out of town for a couple of days. It has meant that I spend more time getting from point A to point B, at times frustrating but ultimately it feels good to be traveling more slowly, enjoying a little extra time to daydream. I’m getting where I need to go and saving money with the added benefit of getting more exercise and being more connected to the beauty of Winter transitioning to Spring. It’s liberating to join a growing number people turning away from automatic, business as usual decisions and instead making choices based on what we truly believe is important. Thanks to Mary and Emma and Ryan for the conversation that encouraged me to wonder “what if” long enough for a good “how” to arise. I hope hearing this story encourages others to do the same.