That is the question. For various reasons, the question of getting a car has suddenly cemented itself on my brain. This is something I had been avoiding in my time in England thus far; circumstances are such that my walk between home and work is a pleasant 15 minutes and I’m even closer to a wide variety of shops and restaurants, including a Sainsbury’s at two blocks away and a John Lewis about three blocks away. So you could argue that I really do have everything I need quite close, and my longest jaunts are off to the health club which is about 20 minutes’ walk away. However, what I don’t have much of in this little urban bubble is a social life. I’ve been really fortunate to make a couple of friends recently, but in both instances a car would be really handy for getting out of town to their villages (although I admit in both instances there are buses, so it’s not a completely lost cause without a car). In some ways, I really don’t miss the fuss of owning a car, paying for a car, keeping a car insured and paying all associated taxes. Without all of this, my life is quite simple.
But I confess, I’m an American girl who has always been a road-tripper. Every time I return to the states I rent a car, and sometimes drive longer distances than is truly necessary just because I love the feel of the open road. It was instilled in me as a child to be a road-tripper, we did lots of driving between the family homeland in Minnesota and the east coast where we lived for a time, and while east we also drove all the way south to Florida and north to I can’t even remember how far. When my sister and I were both based on the east coast as adults, we did a memorable jaunt into NYC as well as a bittersweet trip back to MN when I abandoned my post in Virginia for what would eventually be my job here.
I have lots of travel coming up, so this is not necessarily something I would do until after my summer trips to other continents, but starting to try and understand the UK rules of the road might come up in about September. I’ll have to take lessons and pass a test here, and obviously save up some money and look for some wheels. And finally, I’d have to sort out a place to park the thing in my urban environs, making a very small car (Smart! Mini!) look appealing. But it’s starting to really tempt me… so I’m going to have to do some serious soul-searching on the whole car vs. public transport question not to mention the “oh dear, this would really be sticking down roots in England” issue… thoughts?