Since Bus Nerd and I announced we were expecting a baby, folks have been taking bets on how long it would be before we bought a car. Most are shocked that we are even attempting car-free parenthood and see our choice either as some sort of noble sacrifice or stubborn attempt to prove a point. Either way, they consider raising a child without a car to be difficult and limiting.
So far, we haven’t found it to be so. If anything, busing with Chicklet has expanded our options and freed us from many of the encumbrances of conventional American parenthood. Case in point:
Way back in April, I wrote about my rather calamitous first post-Chicklet ride home from work. If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard any equally insane commuting stories since, it’s because my return to work was short-lived. When Bus Nerd’s parental leave ended in May, I left my job, with the intention of returning to paid work after Chicklet’s first birthday. I’ve spent the past several months bonding with my daughter, making progress on several personal and volunteer projects, and generally enjoying the summer.
I was able to make the choice to leave work temporarily because of our family’s low expenses and high savings rate, both of which we can attribute (at least in part) to our bus-based lifestyle. With annual transportation costs roughly $16,000 lower than the average two-car family’s, we are able direct more of our resources toward what’s important to us.
Thanks to Metro, Chicklet and I got to spend her first summer together. And thanks to Metro (and our neighborhood), we’ve had a great time. Using nothing more than our bus pass, the Ergo, and my two feet, we’ve been to the beach (Did I mention she loves the Water Taxi?), the lake (on Ye Olde 27), the pool, the Market, cookouts and celebrations with family and friends, tons of parks and libraries, and more “storytimes” than I care to admit.
Of the countless benefits of riding the bus, this just might be the sweetest.