Going Carless

by Liz Jansen


Winter in small-town Ontario isn’t typically the time to experiment with going carless. Not when motorcycle transportation is generally out of the question for at least a few months. But I’ve decided to try it.

Now that I’m back in Orangeville, the second order of business after healing, has been to find another place to live, and location has been a key factor. I’ve been fortunate to stay with friends while I search and reacclimatize to life without wheels.

It’s been quite a change in mindset to go from an open-ended motorcycle adventure and living and working from the road, to being grounded. Literally. I’ve gone from feeling free, independent, and mobile, to being much more dependent and sedentary, with a whole new set of priorities. I sold my car in anticipation of an extended absence, and now am without either a car or a motorcycle—traditional symbols of independence. For that matter, I’ve also had to find a place to live.

Given that things are in a state of flux anyways, I’ve decided to add a bit to the mix and experiment with going carless. It’s an opportunity to go one big step further in living simply. I’ll be getting another motorcycle in the spring, and I’d like to see if I can get through the winter using alternate transportation.

I’m pleased to say that with a minimal amount of angst, I’ve found a place that may allow it. Rather than being in the country where I’ve lived for the last 25 years, another change, I’m now in town. I’m within easy walking distance of downtown, restaurants, a grocery store, a health foods store—and physiotherapy. There’s both a local bus stop and a GO stop, which connects me with Toronto and area’s massive rapid transportation network. Less than two blocks away, is a car rental agency with extremely reasonable weekend rates. And there are always cabs.

Most importantly, I love my new place which I’ll move into on Monday. It’s a completely modernized unit within a refurbished redbrick Victorian home on a lovely lot with huge old maples. It’s got the ambiance of simpler times, with the convenience of today. The big windows allow in lots of light and the energy is wonderful. It’s a delightful place to restore body, mind, and spirit, and nurture creativity.

Living out of dry bags and motorcycle luggage is fine when you’re on a motorcycle journey, but it wears thin when you’re not. I’m looking forward settling into the new digs, of course getting Measha back with me, and seeing what this Road of a different kind brings me. One certain thing is that with all the walking I’ll be doing, I’ll be fit to ride that new motorcycle come spring!


Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.

16 Comments on “Going Carless

  1. Kudos to you Liz, sounds like a great setup. Those stairs will be good for you too!

    • You go girl…….keep on moving, love the walking, the transportation and ease of this new journey of yours. I am loving the stairway to heaven in your place…..looks very warm….

      Keep me posted Liz…..I am looking at you always.


      • Hey Carol – I love the “Stairway to Heaven.” Ila was driving me to physio on Monday, we spotted the sign on the lawn and that was it. Plus the landlord’s name is Grace. Doesn’t get more fortuous than that!

  2. Walking IS great for health – I credit it for the continuing ability to get my 70-year-old leg over my bike.

    Thank you for keeping us informed.

    • Keep walking Kathy and that will set us up for throwing 80 year old legs over our bikes. 🙂

  3. I too have the opportunity to live and work in Orangeville, so the 25 min walk to work everyday is appreciated. Previously I made good use of the GO Transit system when I worked in Toronto. I did not miss driving, as it took the same amount of time by bus and train. Besides it was less stressful. Looking forward to your next choice of two-wheeled mobility in the Spring.

    Hope your health is progressing rapidly and well.

    PS…If you need help with your move (and I happen to be in town on that day – more likely in the evening), just holler! 🙂

    • Living proof that it can be done! I’m looking forward to doing it too. Maybe we’ll pass on the sidewalk. 🙂

      Body is recovering nicely thanks. I wouldn’t call it rapidly, but I know (from experience) that these things take time. The second one is easier.

      Moving day is Monday – and have hired movers. Thanks for the offer though!

  4. You will be juuuust fine! Everything is possible and I am quite sure you are actually are really going to like it! See you Monday!!!!! And I hope your shoulder is a loooot better now, too! Hugs!

    • I’m going to LOVE it – and Measha’s going to love the nice wide window sills where she can lie in the sun. 🙂

  5. Liz your new life to be for awhile sounds fantastic. I think living walking distance from most every thing you might need is the way to go. the walking will be so good for you. Your new apt sounds very lovely, while not being on the road with your bike is not how you saw things going. I think maybe the Universe had something to say about the timing.
    Sending positive thoughts and love your way.

    • Thank you for sharing your wisdom Mary. Have also felt that timing was off in some way. Thanks for your love and kindness.

  6. Do you have car sharing companies there, e.g. Zipcar or Cars2Go? Or ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft? Additional possibilities to enhance your mobility!

    • Thanks for the suggestions Rick. There are services available in Toronto and surrounding large centers – Orangeville is pretty small. But these services expand all the time – keeping my eyes open.