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Remote Year Prep

Returning my leased Mazda CX-5 to West Coast Mazda

Preparing for my upcoming remote year as a travel photographer has been a more daunting task than I could have ever imagined. The action lists are endless and some of the actions are life-changing. Here’s a story of me and my car.

Spectacular achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.

Robert H. Schuller

Car = Freedom

I bought my first car before I had a driver’s license. It represented freedom! After growing up in the big city of Calgary, Alberta, our family moved out to the country when I was 13. Ugh. I was stuck. There was no transit, no easy way to get around. I always had to “hitch a ride” into the city with my parents or big brothers and their schedules didn’t always fit mine. I always felt trapped. That is until I bought my first car in preparation of getting my driver’s license… It was an orange Ford Maverick, and I was so proud of it!

Preparing for Remote Year: My First Car | Barbara Cameron Pix | Food & Travel Photographer

My first car was an orange Ford Maverick, circa 1975. Photo by Frank Fuhrmeister on Unsplash

Road Trip!

My 16th birthday was all planned out: I would get my driver’s license that day and drive my friends to Banff on the weekend! It would be the first of many road trips.

Road Tripping in the Mountains | Barbara Cameron Pix | Food & Travel Photographer

Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Excitement mounted… I could taste the freedom of the road! Until I failed my driver’s test. My whole world crashed in. Tears washed over my cheeks while my Mom tried to console me (but I recall her giggling a bit when I told her why I failed… that’s another story).

Everything worked out in the end and, with my driver’s license intact, my Maverick took me and my friends many places! Until the mice moved in… but that’s another story too!

(Gosh, there are a lot of stories that revolve around our cars when you stop to think about it!)

Cars are central to my life

Since that first car at age 16, I’ve driven Fords, Datsuns, Volkswagens­—including a red Volkswagen van in the ‘granola-goddess days’ of my mid-20s—Dodges, Hondas and…more recently a fiery red Mazda CX-5.

Cars have been central to my life since, well, forever!

Road Tripping in the Mountains | Barbara Cameron Pix | Food & Travel Photographer

Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

Remote Year Prep: Returning My Wheels

Prep for Remote Year: Returning My Car | Barbara Cameron Pix | Food & Travel Photographer

Returning my leased Mazda CX-5 to West Coast Mazda

For a car-centric society such as ours in North America, it’s a big thrill to get a new car! And normally you take a photo of yourself when you purchase that new car, maybe to remember the gushing excitement you felt! But this time the photo taken is of me returning my leased Mazda to West Coast Mazda. Why did I return my fiery red wheels?

  • First, it’s a cost-saving measure as I prepare for my year of travelling with Remote Year. It just doesn’t make financial sense to have a pretty expensive vehicle sitting in my garage 80% of the time, when I want to save for my travels.
  • Second, well it’s obvious… I won’t need a car for the 12 months I’m travelling and on my remote year! I’ll be moving around this world by airplane, transit, Uber, ride-sharing, cycling, and most likely a whole lot of walking.

Carless & Free!

So after 40+ years as a car owner, I’m now carless and strangely enough, I feel more freedom than I thought I would! Sure, I have access to my daughter’s Honda Civic to get me around over the next few months. But I don’t have a car payment, or hefty insurance and fuel costs. It’s lightened my monthly financial burden considerably, which translates to a substantial contribution to my costs for Remote Year.

Shout Out to West Coast Mazda

I can honestly say that West Coast Mazda is the very best car dealership I have ever encountered. Their customer service was impeccable, from the tentative first step through the door a couple of years ago to the final day when I returned my CX-5 on a lease buy-back. I was treated fairly and respectfully at all times. There’s a family-feel to the place, and I always felt good when I was welcomed by name, with a genuine smile. So if you’re looking for a new or leased car, I highly recommend you check out West Coast Mazda!

Any questions about preparing to be a digital nomad or about preparing for your own remote year?

Drop me a message in the comments below!

Want to know more about my travel plans and remote year?

Check out this blog post where I announced my upcoming year-long round-the-world journey.