When we came to Korea one of the many things we left were our cars. They were not particularly new cars (nearly 10 years old actually) they were paid off and nothing special. We could have brought one of them. However, after some thought we decided not to. We knew life in Seoul would be hard on them. It’s not if you get into an accident, it’s when. We knew selling them when we came back would mean we’d get practically nothing for them. So we decided to sell them both.
That means we’ve been living car free. The last time we were car free was college. To be quite honest: we love being car free. Sure there are times it would be nice to have one, but with the availability of public transportation and everything we need is in easy walking distance, it doesn’t make sense to get a car. We had intended to get a beater here for cheap…unfortunately most people selling their cars don’t get the memo that they aren’t getting blue book for their cars here, and over price them.
SAVE ALL THE MONEY!
This has lead to us saving a lot of money. Our cars were paid off before we got to Korea, so we didn’t have car payments anymore. We did however, have insurance. I don’t know what insurance would cost for Seoul (I’m sure it’s not cheap, car accidents are common here) but it’s really nice not having to pay it. No gas payments, no car maintenance expenses, no insurance expenses, no parking expenses. We aren’t paying for any of it.
WALK ALL THE PLACES!
Public transportation is good here in Seoul. But sometimes it doesn’t really help us. So we end up walking most places near by. It’s never a far walk, half an hour is usually the farthest we’d walk. It’s good exercise and even in cold weather doesn’t bother us. It’s good exercise and good for the environment. It can however, make grocery shopping interesting, especially when we first got here and had to rebuild our pantry. However, a little planning and multiple trips every week to the store and it’s easy to buy only what you need (and can carry). Helps keep our grocery expenses lower too. Oh, we have to carry it home? Only so much we can take in one trip, even with our high-capacity reusable bags.
Being car free isn’t for everyone or ever situation. I know home in Vermont it’s very difficult to be car free if you don’t live in Burlington. Yes, there are buses, but there’s like one in each town (if that) so you still have to get there, from the bus stop to home…which is probably a good five miles or so. However, if you find yourself in an urban environment or an area that happens to have a great public transportation system going car free is an excellent way to be. It can be difficult, but you miss out on so many of the expenses and irritants of being a car owner in an urban environment (city parking anyone? Need I say more!)