Hi, looks like I am a little late finding this tribe. But we are gleefully carfree, even though it isn't always easy. Maybe soon we will be biking ... till then we are just walking to most places, as well as catching bus / train for out of town trips.
To answer the OP questions:
|So how do you guys do it?
We've never done it any other way. We ask for rides only for certain activities like out-of-town trips with our playgroup or homeschool group. Sometimes if the weather is really bad and task is urgent I will call a taxi but this is rare. All the things we need to do regularly, incl library, grocery store, thrift store, other stores, bank and even the hospital are within 1 or 1.5 miles. Mostly we walk, or dd bikes (with training wheels) while I walk alongside her.
Our county bus system is pretty spotty but we use it, hoping that service will increase. We have buses & trains to the nearby big cities to do other fun and interesting things - timings are not great, but we keep using it and hope for more frequency.
|Do you meander when you walk (look for nature stuff, name license plates, sing songs)?
We don't meander on purpose. We do sing songs, tell stories, plan "surprises" and play word games though. Some are
- rhyming word game
- last letter game (I say a word and you say a word that begins with the last letter)
best help for a tired walker (and believe me dd can get "tired of walking" even after 5 minutes sometimes!) is food. Whenever we make muffins we call them our "walking snack" so muffins are associated with taking walks. I need to bring more snacks into this category
Usually have no choice, but prefer routes off the main roads. Sometimes dd has preferred routes where she can safely walk on the curb or where there are more hills to run up and down.
|Do you go as quickly as you can?
yes, but this means as quickly as dd can, not as quickly as *I* could have walked alone. Practically I think it is about 25 minutes / mile. Rushing is always counter productive so in case we are in a hurry I try my best to keep dd happy and gently remind her about the thing we are hurrying to.
|What's farthest you've walked one way?
Probably 1.5 miles. We have walked even farther (~3 miles one-way) but that was when dd was either in sling or stroller.
Though I see everyone around me happily owning and operating automobiles, I feel like having a car would be more work, stress - on top of that dealing with the stresses of carseats, and the rush-rush are definite minuses for me.
Re: trains and buses - dd loves them and always has. That certainly makes me overcome inertia in going to catch them. And since we are both slightly prone to carsickness, bus and train are great options, esp if we plan to eat en route.