Tara C-K walks to work year round. She is part of a two-car family, but she chooses to leave her car parked in the driveway. It takes her 30 minutes to get to work in the morning, a little longer in heavy snow.
By choosing to frequent businesses that are close to her home, she has managed to cut down her driving by 50%.
She chose an esthetician a few blocks away, and walks to her workouts at a local facility.
Even her social life is mostly car free: she entertains at home, or dines at nearby restaurants.
Her shopping needs are met by a nearby shopping mall – about a 20-minute walk from her door. “Walking to shop also helps to limit the amount of purchases you make,” says Tara, “when you have to consider hauling everything home with you, you aren’t as likely to impulse shopping. Everything has to fit into a backpack.”
As a new homeowner and full-time career woman, Tara was busy and stressed-out. Walking to work means that exercise and “down time” are now built into her daily activities; “Now that I walk, I’m more relaxed when I get to work in the morning, and I sleep better at night.”
She feels a certain obligation to do her part to protect the earth, and she enjoys the time she spends outdoors, “I like to bike and hike and garden. I hate to think there might be a future where these activities are limited because of climate change or air quality.”
Her commitment to active transportation was also motivated by finances – saving money is a huge priority for Tara and her family, and greening her lifestyle has led to many savings. “By saving money, I get to choose to spend it on other things that I really want instead of automatically forking over my income for gas, and unnecessary consumer goods.”
By choosing to leave her car parked in the driveway, Tara saves time, money, produces less greenhouse gasses and, “I don’t have to worry about parking or paying for parking.”
Walking to work in really cold weather can be a challenge, but Tara learned to take pride in keeping her commitment – even when temperatures dip to -40°C: “Winter is so much more enjoyable when you exercise and spend time outdoors.” Tara likes a challenge, and she embraces her attempts at climate friendly living with curiosity and enthusiasm.
If you want to give active transportation a try, Tara recommends investing in a nice long dress coat for winter, “So you can be warm, but still look professional when you get to work. And buy yourself a good backpack. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but you should make sure it fits really well.”
When it comes to active transportation, Tara has the recipe for success, “Don’t let anybody else’s reasons be your reason. Do it because it means something to you. Figure out what you are really passionate about and start with those activities. If you don’t enjoy your efforts, you might end up resenting them. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, but take the challenge. Setting realistic goals will help you succeed.
Remember, active transportation doesn’t have to mean walking – shake it up a bit with bikes and rollerblades, especially those of you with longer commutes.”
Tara C-K, River Heights, Winnipeg