Last weekend I traveled to Vermont with some of my best friends. I had not been snowboarding for at least five years and was excited to hit the slopes again.
Every time I pass by the town where I grew up, feelings of isolation color my emotional landscape. Maybe I was only aware of it on a subconscious level growing up, but I now feel extreme rejection of the car dependent life into which I was born.
Most of Vermont, at least where I have visited, is extremely car dependent. Anytime I am in a car nowadays and traveling on the highway, my body becomes tight with anxiety. Although I love the solitude of Vermont, especially in contrast to my life in Brooklyn, I am more and more hesitant to be in a car. Maybe this is an irrational fear, but I read about so many car related injuries and deaths that it seems almost insane to incur the risk.
The weekend was fulfilling; snowboarding was fun, the warmth of friends by the fireplace was rejuvenating, and cooking together made connection easy. On the ride back to New York, something familiar and strange happened. I noticed early in our trip that I was very comfortable in the backseat. This is an old feeling that I have had since the first years of my life; the bumps of the road created a heart beat rhythm and I slept for part of the ride.
I believe that walkable and transit friendly places are the most desirable to be in. I have acquired an aversion to car-culture the more that I have learned about its destructive nature. I also believe, however, that the car has an important place in our society as a tool for pleasure; namely to take us to places inaccessible to pedestrians because of their low density. I would love to go back to Vermont soon, but for the moment I am content to be back in walkable, (mostly) transit-friendly New York City.