I’m not a driver, but people assume I am.
I totally get it. I’m a healthy, able-bodied, 28-year-old male living in North America.
Kids from around these parts learn to drive when they’re 16. Shouldn’t I be an experienced driver by now, with a decade of experience under my belt?
Heh. Not even close.
I’ve spent maybe an hour behind the wheel of a car.
And I get an interesting reaction to that, depending on where I am. Friends in Toronto are understanding. Friends that live outside of the city are puzzled.
“Why don’t you drive?”
Two things. The first is that learning to drive in Ontario is expensive.
On average, you’re looking at spending around $1000 on a driving course. That’s a lot of money when you’re a student, and not all families have the luxury of paying for it on their kids’ behalf.
The second thing is that you need access to a vehicle for practice. Sure, the driving courses provide a set number of hours for in-car lessons, but that’s hardly enough, and the additional in-car lessons are pricey ($60 per 1-hour session).
I grew up in a town where driving is a necessity, but it was small, so transit and walking and cycling got the job done.
My college town of Kingston also had a decent-enough transit system, far better than my hometown.
I never felt deprived. I was getting by just fine without driving.
Moving to Toronto was more of the same. The TTC leaves a lot to be desired, sure, but it’s leaps and bounds beyond anything I had experienced before. And being in the central part of the city means everything is within walking or cycling distance.
So, bottom line? I never learned to drive because I never felt the need to.
But a funny thing happens as you get older…
You start thinking about family and trips and experiencing more of where you live than what’s within a twenty-minute stroll.
Suddenly a vehicle doesn’t seem like an unnecessary expense. It’s a privilege. It’s a way to escape for a weekend, get out of the city, visit relatives and see new places.
That’s why I’m resolving to get on the road by the end of my 20’s.
I’ve gotten this far without needing to drive, but jumping on transit, requesting an Uber, and bumming rides from friends and family won’t get me any further. And there’s so much of this province and country and continent that I want to see and share.
I may not be deprived because I don’t drive, but that’s no longer enough to keep me satisfied.
Note: This is my first post in response to WordPress.com’s The Daily Post prompt. You can find more of these posts via my “The Daily Post” tag. It’s a great way to get into a daily writing habit! Try it out yourself.