The day I turned 16, I went to the DMV, took my driving test and walked out with a new sense of freedom. Driving to school, meeting up with friends, escaping my parents, the world was my oyster. That was 1999.
20 years later and the world is vastly different. A car is not necessary in many urban environments. Most teenagers can Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Jump etc. and get around. The idea that a car equals freedom is a foreign notion.
I’ve lived in four different cities since those days of late 90’s joyriding. In Philly, where I went to college, I ditched the car for easy on campus biking. When I moved to NYC after school I became a subway rider and a power user of Zipcar – car rides were saved for the occasional weekend getaways.
But when my wife and I moved to Atlanta, one of the most congested cities in the U.S., we assumed we needed 2 cars. And for the most part, we were right. I was running around delivering food, she was commuting in to work every day.
But over the past few years our lives have shifted. We now both rent space in the same office, but work for different companies, at the beautiful Industrious at Ponce City Market.
We live a few miles from the office, so I can walk (about 40 minutes), take a Lyft or best of all bike.
So when my lease came up a few weeks ago, I happily drove my car to the dealership and turned in my keys.
So far the change has been amazing. I’ve been riding my bike in most days, and the other day Will and I walked home together when he was in town.
It’s almost like the opposite of that feeling when I was 16 – saying goodbye to my car has welcomed in an entirely new sense of freedom. I’ve shed the financial and mental burden of owning a car. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but for now it’s been a great ride.