To Car or Not to Car
I started my Friday a tad grumpy as I didn’t really feel like going to Port Louis for the third time in as many days but hubby rented a mini-van for a few days so as to have transport whilst prepping the boat for sea and I had to return it to the rental agents today. There is a huge business in rental cars on the island for locals and tourists alike.
Hurtling out of the house, into the mini-van and out of the driveway this morning so as not to be late I completely forgot that my data and airtime have both run out yesterday. I only realized this as I hit the highway with no way of contacting the agent or the girl-child who was to meet up with me to pick me up afterwards.
Being incommunicado for an hour or so being stuck in traffic, in a van with no radio and no-one to talk to, got me thinking about this particular blog topic that I’ve been wanting to pen down for a while now. Most of you know that we relocated to Mauritius ‘refugee-style’ with only what we could fit into our (15) suitcases joining hubby whom has been here for three years now. Most of you who’ve been following my blog also knows that I left my whole life behind, putting everything we own into storage until we know where we want to settle at some point.
Something that I haven’t shared in a blog yet is that when I left SA I sold my car. Something that was EXTREMELY hard for me to do as since I was 18 I have never been without a car of my own. I being super blessed in that way. We sold hubby’s car about two years ago already as we found it wasteful having it stand in the garage not being used. January it was my turn to say goodbye. However, since moving to Mauritius I am in fact, ‘car-less’ in the sense that I don’t own one anymore. We do rent a car on a long-term basis but it doesn’t belong to me at the end of the day, a weird concept if this is not what you’ve been used to for the past 24 years.
My first little car was a antiquated little Ford Anglia that my dad fixed up for me for next to nothing as he’s a qualified mechanic. It was my pride and joy and all my friends, including hubby once we started dating, shared in the history and fond memories of that little car.
In 1995 I sold it to travel abroad and when I came back my next mode of transport was hubby’s rust bucket of a golf that we later sold for the princely sum of R2000 and bought a Nissan 1400 bakkie. When the girl-child was born we upgraded to a second-hand Toyota double-cab for a safe and reliable family car. I have to mention here that due to hubby working away I have traveled 1000’s of kilometers to Namibia, Natal and other faraway provinces to either visit him or the family we left behind when we moved closer to where he worked. I’m not going to regale you with all the cars we’ve owned over the years but there were a few. Some I loved and some I traded as soon as I could. I’m NOT a sedan fan but rather like the bigger suv’s or a four by four of which we’ve owned a few in our day.
Suffice it to say; I LOVE CARS, I used to do in-depth research when buying one so when I sold my car I was terribly depressed as hubby and I already agreed that we won’t be buying a car whilst in Mauritius. At least not for the first year until we see how life plays out here. Therefore I started 2019 off with a little Nissan Micra as our long-term rental car for the year. At first it felt strange because ‘it’s not my car’ but after a few months I dare say one sort of gets used to it. I have not taken out a car license this year, bought tyres, paid for a service or had to put a car through a roadworthy test. Makes one think doesn’t it? Suddenly those pesky little issues are not my problem anymore (many thanks to our rental agency that keeps the cars running for us).
Since moving here and since I’ve started getting used to the fact that I don’t have my own car anymore and on top of that the girl-child uses it more often than I do as she’s got to get to the stables everyday, I have undergone a mind-shift of note.
Realizing over the last 9 months that I don’t really need a car. I can actually manage quite well without one most of the time. Not having one to my disposal 24/7 has made me more mindful of my days. Planning when I want to go shopping so I make sure I’ve got the car on that day and sufficing with the bus on other days. And you know what? It hasn’t killed me thus far.
On our recent trip to Andaman I managed for two weeks walking wherever I wanted to be or using a tuk-tuk much to our host’s suprise and quiet amusement. He kept offering to drive me to places but I kept refusing politely, making my own way whether it is by walking or hailing a tuk-tuk.
Having said this, I do have access to a car if I choose it. At the moment I choose to not use it all the time, I choose to live more mindfully and not worry about whether I’ve got one or not. It makes for a simpler life. Waiting for the bus is often time-consuming and the busses are often full to capacity making the ride less comfortable but at the end of the day I needn’t worry about parking or the traffic. I put my earphones in and chill out for the ride letting someone else worry about getting us there safely.
I might add, if I was still in SA I might not have had this mindset, although I did use the MyCiti busses quite regularly, BUT back in SA I would probably still have had my car. Not having one now does make it easier for the day one decides to move on to somewhere else and for the moment I do like the fact that we don’t owe a bank half a ton of money for one.
However, each to his or her own. I’ve been blessed to own one all those years and I am grateful for it. As I get older I do realize that we don’t always need all the trappings and that scaling down is sometimes good for the soul. For the moment I am OK with the kids using the car and myself catching the bus whenever needed. I like that they are learning independence that way and that I can embrace mindfulness with the surety the car is there whenever I should really need it.
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