We arrived in Washington, D.C. without motorized vehicle in tow.  The car we shipped to Korea is now on a ship in the Pacific Ocean bound for a U.S. port where it will sit for three months until it heads by ship once again to Paraguay.  We explored the option of taking it out of storage to use during our four-month tenure in the United States, but we were told that the cost will only be covered for a single destination.  If we wanted to divert the car from its journey to Paraguay, we could do so, but we would have to cover the cost to ship it again from Washington to Paraguay.  We didn’t even check to see how much that would cost–most likely astronomical. 
So now we’re hoofing it here in Virginia, so to speak. Although a shuttle runs from our apartment complex directly to work, for the most part we’re on our own.  Ironically, our former neighbors in Seoul are now living in the same complex, and once again they’re graciously offering to let us use their car, just as they did when we first arrived in Korea.  I appreciate the gesture but feel a bit awkward following them around the world and using their automobile.  Nah, I’ve adopted a "feet first" philosophy here.  When possible, I shall walk.  The weather hasn’t been so good (it snowed yesterday), so our movements are a bit restricted, but I did manage to find out that our apartment is one hour and 15 minutes from work while dressed in business casual and carrying about 40 pounds. 
Without a vehicle we sacrifice some mobility and need to be more flexible and strategic when planning ahead, but we make up for this by burning more calories, burning less gasoline (Conservatives, read "save money," liberals, read "help the environment"), and reducing our automobile budget, particularly maintenance.  It’s a win-win proposition.  We need a car in Paraguay, and we needed a car while living in Seoul, but Washington is a pedestrian-friendly city.  Whether it’s the Metro, the bus system, or a relatively straightforward grid design, Washington makes it easier to eliminate the need for an automobile.  It would be easier if we lived near a Metro station, but our apartment’s shuttle system is more than adequate.  That’s fine–I’d rather walk.

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or contact him by e-mail at me@mgedwards.com or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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  1. Witzel's Gravatar Witzel
    March 9, 2007    

    Hi all, glad you got to D.C. safe and sound!  It must be inconvenient not to have a car, but I like the way you look at a life without mobility!  Say hi to your family for us!  Oh, thanks for the posts!
    The Witzels

  2. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    March 10, 2007    

    Hey buddy, I was in DC the night bfore you arrived a couple of weeks ago.  Odds are that I will drop by again before you guys leave…I’ll give you a shout.

  3. Anne's Gravatar Anne
    March 13, 2007    

    Actually, East Falls Church Metro is just over half a mile from us. Walk down Roosevelt/Sycamore, away from Wilson and you’re there.
    BTW, if you want to hook up for Sunday bruch this Sunday let me know. We like to walk into downtown Falls Church (1.5 miles) for pancakes.

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