Car Free Challenge

June 21, 2017

We are going to do something most people will think is crazy.  But we already have a reputation for doing an odd mix of things – homeschool, permaculture, Crossfit, health-nuts – no sugar- really, we bought a house ½ the size of our last one so we could put twice the money in the bank, growing strange foods in our front yard, Mormon.  Our next crazy move?  

Car Free.  

Oooh, I’m excited just typing it.  Yes we do have 7 people in our family, 3 drivers, and live in area where everything is super spread out.  Jonathan’s commute is 17 miles, our weekly homeschool group meets 13 miles away.  Bike routes are few and scarcely used around here, and the public transportation at this north end of our suburbian metropolis is sparse, so there will be some serious work to make this happen.  But we feel called to it.  And all of our children are on board.

Why this crazy idea?

A couple weeks ago our oldest daughter totaled our small commuter car.  It was a miraculous experience in which she and our second daughter’s lives were preserved beyond physical explanation.  It left us with 1 car and 3 drivers.  But we felt impressed to take the challenge of being a one car family.  

So, last night we were driving home from my sister’s house, in our one and only vehicle and hit a deer.  Nobody was hurt in the least, however, the radiator was destroyed and we were unable to drive it home.  A very kind man, named Matt, and his daughter Gracie, towed us to a parking lot where we could leave it then gave us a ride home.  All Jonathan and I could do was laugh.  There were no tears.  No frustration, or anger, or worry even.  We just looked at each other and said, what are we supposed to be learning from this?  One car was exciting, but no cars?  Yep!

We have been getting into biking more, and being inspired by such bloggers as Mr. Money Mustache  and CarFree with Kids, we have diligently been working on decreasing our living expenses, getting out of the rat race and developing a lifestyle and family culture of health and happiness.  We bought a small house close to most of the places we go – easy for walking or biking to groceries, lessons, library, Crossfit, Mimi and Papa’s, church …  There are only a handful of places further away – Grandma and Grandpa’s house – this will be our trickiest one, and work and our homeschool commonwealth.  The latter two have easy public transportation when all else fails.

After losing the first car, we decided to replace it with an electric bike for Jonathan to commute to work on.  He normally carpools with a friend, but sometimes that doesn’t work out, so we needed a back-up plan.  He got on KSL, found an incredible deal on a bike for $50, that just happened to have all his requirements – he hasn’t found a deal close to it since, and he has looked every day.  Then he ordered the battery and motor directly from the manufacturer in China.  The motor came yesterday,  and we are just waiting on the battery.  

We feel like this was a nudge from God to meet some of our goals a little more quickly.  We have been trying to cocoon and slow down for the summer and doing a terrible job at it thus far.  We keep finding ourselves in the car, driving to this or that.  There is nothing like no car to help you ask if you really need to go, or might be better off just staying home and enjoying each other.

We also, have had a goal for the past couple years for Jonathan to leave his job at Hill, and go out on a business of his own that is more mission focused and has more room for him to learn and grow – so he can love it more, and feel more capable of making a difference for good in the world.  We want to work together as husband and wife, and have a family culture of entrepreneurship.  

No cars – just bikes and buses.  We are committing to one month.  We are setting our goal for a year.    We’ll keep you posted.

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