Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lessons Learned: Chapter 3

Because I am now relying on the bike and bus as my sole modes of transportation, I'm definitely learning a lot about preparation. This was part of my theme of Lessons Learned, Chapter 1, where I discussed the importance of being prepared ahead of time. (That was Lesson #1.) Of course, Lesson #3 was to not forget the lessons as you learn them, so I have failed two lessons over the past few weeks. We weren't properly prepared with Don's paperwork for getting a driver's license, so he doesn't have his yet. I also have forgotten several things on several other occasions. I'm sure this is something that will improve over time as I grow accustomed to my new mode of transportation.

I have another lesson to share now, which is somewhat related to the "always be prepared" lesson: Lesson #4: Call Ahead. Luckily, for the most part I kinda figured this out the "easy" way (I'm assuming this is the opposite of "the hard way?"), and have been calling ahead to places to make sure they are open, available, etc. before going. I find it interesting that I am much more apt to call ahead now that I'm on a bike (or bus) than I was when I owned a car. I realize that it's much more involved to bike back home to grab something, or to have to incorporate an extra stop into a different day, than it is to simply drive back home or whatever. However, isn't my time just as valuable with a car as it is without?  Why was I so willing to waste 5, 10, 15 extra minutes here or there instead of making a simple phone call? Of course, sometimes the checking doesn't always help; we checked Starbucks's website to see how late it was open on Monday night, and it said it would be open 1/2 hour later than it actually WAS. I discovered this sadly upon trying to open the locked doors. Of course, if Starbucks had updated its website, we wouldn't have had that problem - *shakes fist at Starbucks* - but I digress.

Also slightly related is Lesson #5: Plan Errands Ahead of Time (and do them in groups). I had read this tip a while ago actually for ways to save on gas and time! The general idea is that you should run all of your errands in one day instead of running them throughout the week, saving you time and, in most cases, money because you aren't driving back and forth as often. Again, this is one of those lessons that I marvel at ignoring when I was a car owner, because, as I said before, isn't my time just as precious with a car as it is without? But when riding a bike or planning bus stops, planning your errands becomes that much more important. Running back to the store because you forgot one item isn't as quick or appealing when you're riding a bike or bus (although, on occasion it's actually nice to get one more ride in). For the bus, checking the schedule and knowing the stops is of utmost importance, so you can map your errands to get them done in the most efficient way possible.

So, there you have it: Chapter 3 of my Lessons Learned. I actually believe that these two lessons are also prudent for car owners, as they WILL save you time and money. So, even if you aren't quite ready to make the plunge into a car-free lifestyle, I encourage you to apply these two lessons to your life today!

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