All too often, I hear from friends, family, and followers that the open presentation of our multi-modal lifestyle on social media makes them feel a sense of guilt for their own lifestyle choices. Whether the lack of car ownership, the fact that we bicycle almost everywhere with our children, or any other number of choices we've made, it seems that instead of instilling a positive view of the possibilities, our story simply leaves them with a negative feeling. I struggle to best explain that our intention is never to make anyone feel guilty for their own choices, because they are - in fact - just that.
Four years ago we made a conscious decision to become car-free and rely on more active modes of travel, but no one forced it upon us. A series of events led to us switching things up, most notably the convenience of our location, but the decision was certainly not an easy one. From there, we experienced challenges, found solutions that worked for us and our family, and eventually fell into a routine that, while continually changing, fits into the way we have chosen to live.
From there, we realized there simply weren't enough people like us sharing their stories of struggles and successes, and showing an alternative to the car-centric model we built our lives around for many years. And so began our writing, photography, filmmaking and speaking - not as an attempt to guilt others to make the same choices, but to offer inspiration to those curious if there were other viable options. From the conversations I have had, I know it's working, hearing about others who are breaking through their own barriers and trying something new, whether they have small children or not.
It never fails, though, whether I'm picking the kids up from school, at a party, meet-up, or any other outing, that I'm talking about needing to set off on foot or bike to get home, and the justifications start - "I drove because I was out running errands", "My kids just aren't as resilient as yours", and any other number of reasons. While I wish my actions and those of my family would instantly change the world and get everyone leaving their cars at home, I know that's just not realistic. But it's important to know that the reason we share our adventures so avidly is because we want to show how easy it can be, not in order to leave those we connect with in-person and online feeling guilty and frustrated.
As a society, we can all learn from each other, with people in our circles offering new perspectives, ideas or way of doing things. It is only by acknowledging these new inspirations that we can challenge ourselves to be the best versions of who we are and what we can achieve. It was through challenging ourselves that we made the switch to car-lite, multi-modal transportation, and after realizing the true potential and freedom it has afforded us, we share our stories to inspire others. Not because we think they're doing it wrong, but because we want everyone to be able to experience the sheer joy we feel simply by having let go of our car, and finding another way to be the very best versions of ourselves.