Reflections on Living Without a Car

The kids don’t fear to speak to me….

When my family and I head into town to go to the market or a restaurant or run errands, we spend the time talking.  Since I no longer turn into Traffic Mama, the kids are not afraid to speak to me and make eye contact.  They talk to me about their day.  They tell me about school.  They talk a lot about their Dungeons and Dragons club or their “Order and Chaos” gaming too.  Chris and I also have had great discussions when walking.  We moved here to be able to bond as a family and I feel so blessed that we have.

On our way to the parade on Sunday morning!

The walk from our house to Santa Elena town.

Walking beside a friend….

There are many times I start out walking alone into town or up the mountain to Monteverde, but end up walking beside a friend.  There is something about walking side by side that encourages people to open up.  I have been so blessed getting to know people by simply walking beside them as I head to buy groceries.

Life’s little pleasures…..

Last Monday, I had a lot of errands to run.  I had to take cash out of Bank of Costa Rica because it’s the only bank in town where you can withdraw dollars, so I could then deposit the rent payment into my landlady’s bank, which is a different one.  I also had to buy a bus ticket to San Jose and a deodorant for Chris.  Funny juxtaposition, but it is totally true.  I walked everywhere I needed to run these errands.  It took me about 45 minutes to get everything done.  During that time, I chatted with people I knew.  I enjoyed the sun on my face, which means a lot in the rainforest during rainy season.  While errands used to a dreaded chore, and I would still not go as far as to say I have fun running errands. But now it is associated with treasures that could never be relished in a car.

Enjoying my driving hiatus….

One of my biggest fears of repatriation is driving again.  I have not been behind the wheel in over 3 months, and yet I already feel panic-stricken by the mere thought of having to drive again.  I am not concerned that I have forgotten how to drive, though that may be an issue if we stay here for more than 2 years.  I am concerned about once again becoming that rushed, flustered, angry, stressed-out harpy that terrified my children behind the wheel!  Despite my fears, I will not wallow about what may happen in the future.  Instead, I am going to focus on the blessings I have today.

The road less travelled is usually the most fun!

I am dreading getting behind the wheel again, but I refuse to wallow on that thought.

In a world where government shutdowns, civil wars, and “twerking” post-adolescents take center stage, I feel blessed to live in a small town up in the mountains away from all of that.  For now, I will savor the walks and chats.

Do you live without a car?  What is it like for you?  Let me know in the comments below.

Pura Vida!

About Noemi Gamel

Noemi Gamel is a physician who prefers writing diverse children's fantasy stories instead of medical charts. She is a geeky nomad, too.
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3 Responses to Reflections on Living Without a Car

  1. In Texas, it is very difficult to be without a car, especially where we live now in the country. But we have gone without one twice. When we lived in Mexico, we walked everywhere and it was fantastic! We were easily in much better shape, too. Then we moved to Austin and used a car. However, a year or two later, we missed all the walking, so we sold the car and went car-less again. It was okay but very hard. We did rent occasionally but really, it was very difficult. We did remain a one-car family for the four or five years we lived there and I was very proud of that since I knew of no household which didn’t have at least 1 car per adult.

    • Noemi Gamel says:


      I agree with you, there are some communities where living without a car has a negative impact on efficiency and quality of life. I would not attempt living in San Antonio without at least one vehicle.

      Pura Vida!

  2. Pingback: What Does Pura Vida Mean? | Pura Vida Familia

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