Our first car-less adventure has caused me to start re-thinking how I view the value of a trip. When we first started this experiment, I thought of the value of the trip in purely monetary terms:
- How much would it cost to drive there and back?
- How much will public transit cost for the same trip?
- Which means of transportation makes more sense financially for this trip?
I was looking at any method of transportation that way.
Our 4th of July trip made me stop and think about it. As I mentioned in my write-up on the first adventure, I found that I had less stress; I could take a bit of time on the road to sit back and read; I was able to carry on really good conversations with Maurie; we got to meet people we'd not have had a chance to meet otherwise.
Adjusting how I view the trip, I see that there are dimensions of benefit that cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents that affect the real value of the trip. The decreased stress; the quality time with Maurie; the opportunity to get some reading in; not having to worry about parking at our destination: all these things add much more value to the trip than simply getting there quickly.
While finances will undoubtedly have some influence on our choice of means of transportation, it's not going to be the deciding factor. Even though a trip from Olympia to Portland, OR costs around $72 on Amtrak, or $122 on Greyhound, versus around $60 in our car, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy taking Amtrak to Portland with Maurie.