I don’t drive, but I’m not deprived.

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).

Canadian Tire Drivers Academy - Costs
Pricing from Canadian Tire Drivers’ Academy (Source)

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.

A roadtrip through Canada
Stretch goal: A roadtrip through Canada (Credit: Chris (archi3d) via Compfight cc)

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.

6 thoughts on “I don’t drive, but I’m not deprived.

  1. “You start thinking about family and trips and experiencing more of where you live than what’s within a twenty-minute stroll.”

    Yes. I have found myself relearning this now that I am emerging from the fog of early parenthood. Love your words here.

  2. Transit is one of those things that’s great in a pinch, but as someone who finally got their own car last year (albeit in a city that’s less bike friendly), I can tell you it’s very liberating. It’s nice to just think, “Hey, I can go here for the day” or “I’d like to take a weekend trip somewhere.”

    Owning a car doesn’t have to break the bank; like any investment, it’s all about how you manage it. Granted, if you do get a car, I don’t see you having an issue in this department, since you’re pretty conscious of this part of ownership.

    If you ever need a practice car, well… you gotta come to Edmonton. I don’t have a truck, though, so you’ll have to make due. 😉

    • “Liberating” is also how my mom described it when she finally got her own vehicle. Definitely looking forward to weekend getaways and road trips. 🙂

  3. I cannot image not driving – in Texas it’s needed for survival! I’ve been behind the wheel since I was 15. 25 yrs of driving. 😀 Congrats on this next goal of yours – can’t wait to see all the photos of your journeys when you finally hit the road!

    • Thanks Sarah! I’ve only taken a couple of in-car lessons so far, and I really enjoy getting behind the wheel. I’m looking forward to getting more time on the road. 🙂

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