Car-Free Parenting

This week Seb's school were running a "Walk to School Week" as part of their on going "green initiative". Since he started, they've championed "Walk On Wednesday" to try to get children and their families to use more environmentally friendly methods of transport to and from the school, and apparently the school has won a regional prize for the children's combined effort.
Smug Mum Alert. I don't own a car, so Seb get's a weekly "well done" for his unintentional Walk On Wednesday efforts, we live around 3 miles from the school, in a different town, so get the bus each morning and afternoon and walk the last bit at each end. What's fun, is that this is usually met with the same sort of baffled confusion as the fact that I don't own a TV (not quite as baffled though).
I haven't had a car since the beginning of the school year, around September/October time, so by now, and especially having relied on my own two feet and public transport for the entirety of the colder months, and my whole pregnancy, I could not be more used to it! I don't miss having a car in.the.slightest. In fact, the other day, I was pondering the possibility of squirreling away some money to buy myself a cheap car and suddenly realised that I couldn't think of much worse!
Don't get me wrong, there have been several occasions, when the rain has been coming in sideways, and I'm tired, and I've got loads of bags to carry, that I've reminisced about my car driving days, but for the most part, losing my wheels has significantly improved life.
I am now forced to live life at a slightly slower pace, it takes 15 minutes to get to Seb's school, instead of five, but I have to allow time for possible delays, so need to leave at least half an hour before I'm due to drop him off or collect him. If I want to go to a big supermarket, or the out of town shopping centre, I'm no longer looking at a quick ten minutes in the car, and the journey can typically take over half an hour each way - which means I go far less often (that can only be a good thing). It makes more sense for me to shop little and often for fresh food, than do a "big shop" and load my car full of convenient stuff.
Of course - I'm more active.
Not having the car has also made me appreciate and enjoy my local area more, I can't just jump in a car to spend the day elsewhere, which means I find more to do locally, spend more money directly within my own community, supporting the businesses on my doorstep, and I appreciate how lucky I am to live here, because I use it. Seb gets quite a few interesting, more long distance day trips with his Dad, which I'm very grateful for on his behalf, but it means I can really enjoy staying close to home with him, exploring our local coastline, finding favourite places to eat, and spending increased amounts of time with our own friends - building brilliant relationships with people around us.
Of course there is also the environmental benefits, taking my relatively large car off of the road hasn't necessarily made a difference to the planet, but I've joined the army of people who live car free, and who, united, can make a difference. Sure, I still use buses and trains on a regular basis, but better that, and to share the cost on our Earth, than make my own solitary impact.
Losing my car also saved me money. After my marriage broke down last year and I moved in to my own flat with Seb, the car was immediately a financial burden that I was physically unable to cover. There was outstanding finance on the car itself, but also the tax, insurance and fuel costs were unrealistic given my income at the time. These days, I get around reliant on walking, and a £12 per week bus ticket. The bus ticket allows me to go anywhere in the district council area that I live in - which covers a pretty huge area of three major towns, several smaller towns and a variety of villages. I can get to a hospital, Boyfriend's house, Seb's school, the gym and swimming pool, all of my local friend's houses, shops, the beach, the park, six different children's play centres that I can think of, various museums, restaurants, bars - the only things I wish I could reach by bus include some decent woodland and an IKEA! When you consider the cost of running a car, and parking a car, and maintaining/repairing a car - £12 a week is a pretty good price on getting everywhere you could need to go.
The buses also run from each stop every 6 minutes Monday-Saturday, and every 10 minutes on a Sunday, so I'm very rarely waiting for long to jump on the next bus.
Because we've been using public transport daily for almost a year, it's also become entirely normal for Seb too. Not only is he proud to be earning "green points" for his class at school every week, but he is also brilliantly behaved on buses and trains. He doesn't require distractions like phones or computers, it's just a normal journey to him, and people are forever commenting on how good he is - usually just looking out of the window, reading a book, or cajoling me in to a game of "I Spy With My Little Eye!"
I thought as it's been Walk To School Week this week I'd share a couple of snaps from our school run taken this school week (Seb stayed at his Dad's last night so I've only been school-running Monday-Thursday)! These are all phone-pictures that have just been snapped as usual as opposed to taken for blogging purposes, but I thought it would be nice to share something everyday!

Seb insisted I take, and keep, this photo of a digger on our walk to school!

Seb took this photograph of some moths mating... I will probably forget that it's on my phone for some time only to be very confused by it a few months down the line! Anyway, wishing the happy couple all the best and many moth babies etc.

And a selfie taken on the bus yesterday morning!

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