Thursday, January 15, 2009

Living Locally

In a blog I've been perusing lately, the author was talking about keeping activities close to home. For her two kids, if the activity isn't in walking or bike riding distance, then the activity is not done. Her kids, the oldest of which is somewhere around 9 or so, are, thus far, at least, cool with it.

This is a concept I've toyed with myself. Doing lots of driving is not good for, well, for anything except getting audio books listened to, really. As I've mentioned here, before, though, it's easy to just let those driving boundaries expand, often for no great reason other than it's easy to get there in a car.

So, I try to keep regular activities fairly local, when possible. Currently, we can ride bikes with a fair amount of ease to all of the regular activities minus Do Jump, the new session of which starts next week.

However, that brings me to my next point. I'm not sure I totally want to limit our activities to local ones. Yeah, I think being local is a strong selling point, but would I want Davan to miss out on the opportunity of Do Jump just because it's further away than we want to ride? I think, for me, the answer is no, even if it means that we have to use the car more than I might like.

Do I want to never go to the zoo because it's further than biking distance away (our biking distance, at least)? Not really. And I don't want to take public transportation there unless we're making that part of the excitement of going because it actually costs more to pay for Davan and I to take public transportation than it does for us to drive there.

And we will continue to own a car for a variety of reasons. I've checked into things like Car Share, which is a great concept, but A) there are no convenient pick up sports for us in the suburbs and B) it's more expensive for us in the long run because we go skiing and backpacking and such.

I've also checked into just renting a car as necessary and that would come to cost more than owning a car within a couple of years.

So, where does all that leave us? Trying to walk or bike when possible. And, if you're looking at moving, particularly, you might want to check this sight out: Walk Score. It'll give a walkability score any address. Ours is 62 out of 100, which wouldn't be too bad, but they list our closest grocery store as a convenience store - yeah, right - and seem to do things on a as the crow flies basis, which seems silly. But, it still can be a helpful tool, if you're aware of it's weak points.

Also, it leaves us with making wise choices. This year, for example, Davan had a choice of homeschool swim lessons at our local community college (just under 2 miles away) or homeschool swim team at the aquatic park (15 or so miles away). It's a no-brainer which to choose there. Not to mention that I get to swim at the swim lessons, too. :)

However, will we limit ourselves to a 5 mile (or so) radius? No. I'm not willing to do that. For those who do it and have it work for them, great. You are doing good things for the enlivenment and, probably, your pocket book. I can admire that. But, I think some things are worth the extra, as long as it's done mindfully.

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