I’ve always been in a must have car-driving area (i.e., TX and AR) as opposed to a large urban city like NY or something. (However, I did take public transportation in Dallas to get to work when I was done with school.) Anyhow, for us it isn’t too much trouble once you get used to it. Walking has been great for my health–I’ve lost at least a stone (“14 pounds”) and a pants size. The pace of life is slower, so the need for a car doesn’t seem to be as great either. We live right across the street from our boys’ primary school and about 1 block from a large grocery store (Tesco), so shopping is easy for us too.

The biggest downsides are 1) being much more difficult to go visit friends that are on the other side of town, 2) sight-seeing on the weekends, and 3) shopping. For #1 you work your visits around the bus schedule, which gets sparse here in the evenings. For #2, we tend to visit larger places that you can get to by train, and then go see local places of interest when friends/family are in town because we/they hire a car for the visit. No. 3 isn’t an issue for us, but some of the Ustinov people at Keenan House shop online at Tesco and have their groceries delivered.

In the end you just get used to public transportation. You just add a few minutes to an hour for your trip and just expect to pay a little. However, you just have to remind yourself when you pay £1/person or so to go visit a friend that the cost of maintaining a vehicle here is much more: petrol (“gas”) is about $8/gallon, taxes, car payments, etc. Even though a car is much more expensive, it just doesn’t feel like it when you don’t have to pay for each visit.

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