When we came home from our round the world trip a year ago, we decided not to buy a new car. We live in London’s Zone 2 and have pretty much everything we need on our doorstop, from schools and libraries to shops and doctors. We also have a car club, which we’ve joined and make use of every couple of weeks. We weren’t saying we’d never own a car again, but it seemed very achievable to live without one for at least a year or two.
We then unexpectedly became the owners of a large, quite bouncy dog. I wondered whether our no car policy would be tested, I had no idea whether the car club allowed dogs, and she’s a country bumpkin who’d never been on public transport. But a year later, it’s going well. The dog squeezes herself quite happily into the back of the Zipcar VW Golf for days in Richmond. She’s sits, not very patiently, on the bus, attempting to leap out at every stop, for trips to Battersea Park. And she has even travelled by escalator; paws splayed, alarmed look on her face as the wall moves next to her nose. It helps that she rarely barks, loves people, and is very calm when she’s on the lead.
We’ve taken her on holiday by train a few times now. People always ask us if we have to get rail tickets for her too, but dogs travel free. I think she quite likes the train, she tends to be a minor celebrity with everyone stopping to stroke her as they make their way to the buffet car. She’s so friendly that people can’t help but smile. Apart from the horrified family who were supposed to be sitting next to us but hurried away to another table saying “what if she does a poo.” Honestly.
We’re generally considered odd, for choosing to live without a car in this day and age, but I think more people should try it. It’s good for the environment, which makes me feel better about my hot bath addiction, and it’s really not as difficult as most people seem to think it is. Even with a dog.