March 28, 2014

I Sold My Car for the Planet: Loving-Kindness.

traffic cars drive

I finally sold my car.

There will be no more emissions from my wallet except for the ride to the airport and a basket of goodies from the market. Maybe you’re asking yourself, “why did she do it?” “Was she broke?” “Does she have another way to get around?”

Please calm yourselves and know that the reason I sold my car was to make the planet a better place.

Remember those pesky things called carbon emissions that ruin the earth? And do you recall that petroleum is destroying the earth, the oceans, wildlife and our ecosystems?

Some of my best memories are of driving.

I drove through the California Coast, upwards through the redwoods, Humboldt County, Petrolia, The Lost Coast, Redwood trekking, and northwards to Oregon. I went camping in Trinidad California, beach combing in Arcata California, collecting herbs on a beach walk. I always dream of the Lost Coast.

It all started with the first time I was behind the wheel and my first license—a learner’s permit in the state of Massachusetts, which I received from a dive called Cams Auto School. My first car was my mom’s Toyota Camry that she gave to me for my 16th birthday.

I’ll even admit that I’ve camped in my car before. It was somewhat cramped—the large dog in the front seat and two pound bags of tobacco were offerings to the spirit world.

Decades later, I am ready to part with my car ownership fantasy, but I will always take my road trip memories along for the rest of the journey.

In 2007, my last epic road trip on the Lost Coast, I met a lovely woman named Nalini in the Arcata music store. For some reason that I’ll never understand, Nalini thought I was homeless.

Was it my dreadlocks?

Nalini was strumming a guitar and singing a Steely Dan tune. I was perusing the store for a travel Martin, and I joined her in song. She was thrilled with my voice and offered to gift me an Ovation guitar. We sang a few songs with the Martin and she graciously offered me free room and board in a guest cottage on her property.

She was a disciple of Baba Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. Their grace changed my life.

I spent the summer walking her Portuguese water dog named Morgan Le Fey on the beach, and cultivating my love of western herbalism with classes at Dandelion Herbal: borage, mullein, mint, nettles, st. john’s wort, and marijuana. I sat in her yard strumming a guitar, singing, writing and eating sweet plums from her orchard.

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Then there were Arizona stars driving through the Arizona desert, Monument Valley, and onward to Colorado. I took treks around Camelback Mountain and Carefree—I was a sacred voice in the desert.

Being car free is a dream because the road trip is about the company and the beauty of the land, and not about the vehicle.

It is a drag to consider the blood money that comes from Petroleum, and we all need to get where we’re going, but perhaps we need to find a better way.

Introducing: my new ride—a sweet electric bike. My baby blue Kona Commuter with electric added components is so beautiful and valiant. I might still dream about an electric scooter, but my Kona is smooth and allows me to carry many things.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: author’s own, elephant journal archives, flickr

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