The Price of Freedom [en]

[fr] J'ai une voiture. Le prix de la voiture c'est pas juste le prix de la voiture, c'est aussi le prix de la liberté de monter au chalet quand je veux avec mes chats sans avoir besoin d'organiser tout ça à l'avance. Mon monde vient de s'agrandir d'un coup.

Last week, I bought a car.


I’ve been car-less since spring 2007. Freelance, I didn’t need it anymore to go to work each day, and 500CHF a month that I wasn’t spending on a car I didn’t use was 500CHF I didn’t need to earn.

My life has changed quite a bit now. My family seem to have all chosen to live in places that are hard to get to with public transport. My brother has children. I have two cats that I want to drag to the chalet more often.

But I was reluctant. My life is simpler without a car. I just take public transport. I don’t wonder whether it makes sense to take the car or not. That’s a decision I’m spared. When I had a car previously, I used it all the time, even to go to the shop 2 minutes away. I don’t want to start doing that again.

I also wondered if it was worth the expense. Would I really use it that much?

But by having a car, I’m not just paying to have a car. I’m paying to have the freedom to go to the chalet with my cats without having to organize transport beforehand. I’m paying to have the freedom to go and see my nephew and niece without having to ask my brother to pick me up and bring me back to the train. Same for eating at my Dad’s. I don’t have to worry about when the last train runs.

It’s like people who buy the “abonnement général” — a yearly pass for public transport. They might not actually travel that much, but it gives them the freedom to hop on the train whenever they feel like it. Like I do with my bus pass, actually. I’m sure there are months where I don’t do 70CHF worth of bus travel. But I like not wondering if it’s worth buying a bus ticket.