Ann's News

Solving my Identity Crisis for a Car

February 2004 when I picked up my brand new truck

Keeping me hostage on Panzer Kaserne is the lack of a vehicle.  I have frequently visited the nearby portion of the PX parking lot where cars for sale can be found along with the Stuttgart and Ramstein Bookoo sites. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself a day late and dollar short more than once in my search thus far.

I’ve shared my pain and difficulties with the folks I work with and they’ve recommended I consider another option since I sold my vehicle back in the States prior to coming here.  They’ve suggested instead of buying an inexpensive vehicle and potentially end up with a lemon that will leave me stranded on the Autobahn; I should buy a new vehicle I will get to fully enjoy on the Autobahn and then have it ship back to the States (for free if it’s a BMW or Mini) for use back in the States.

I initially embraced this suggestion only to find myself smack in the middle of an identity crisis.

Almost exactly ten years ago, I was preparing to leave Okinawa to come back State side and found myself sitting in the Military Car Sales office trying to decide what kind of vehicle to get.  This was to be my first brand new vehicle and I wasn’t sure what to get.  However, the new Explorer Sport Trac had caught my attention.  I was getting stationed at Quantico and imagined I would start being more of an outdoors woman when I got back and an Explorer Sport Trac would definitely meet my needs!

In the ten years I owned my Explorer Sport Trac I never once went camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking or did any other activity I imagined when I bought the truck.  However, I did move many times and found myself on many occasions packing my Sport Trac to the max.  It ended up serving me very well.  It slowed me down (it didn’t handle curves all that well) and it was a very reliable vehicle.  Selling it prior to coming here was hard but the time had come for something new…but what?!?

The purchase of a vehicle is a pretty big and important one.  I will carry a note for 4-5 years for it and I expect for the vehicle to last me 10 years with no major issues.

We buy vehicles to meet our needs, our preferences and our personalities based on our budgets…but what do you do when some of those are unknowns?

I don’t know what my needs for a vehicle will be when I go back to the States. Will I need a vehicle much like my last one where I can store all that I need to move around? Where will I be living when I get back? What will I be doing?

Aside from those unknowns, there’s also figuring out my preferences and personality when it comes to material things.  I’m a simple person.  I don’t buy expensive things.  Since pursuing my entrepreneurial endeavors, I’ve been broke and haven’t been able to enjoy, afford and take pleasure in nice things.  These last 12 months, because I’ve been making a good income back in the Marine Corps – I’ve slowly been indulging in some nicer things but with much reluctance. I don’t want to need nice things and be controlled by them. So many people make bad decision in the name of materialism and I don’t want that to be me.

I like convenient, comfortable, reliable…something that comes with great customer service and something I can believe in.  I would love to become a more conscientious consumer.  To be financially conscientious, environmentally and socially conscientious…however, much like my ideal of being an outdoors woman, what I’ve listed are other ideals I do a great job coming short of achieving.

My choices of auto makers run the gamut; Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Volvo…to all the American made brands.  BMW will ship for free. Buying here means no payment of initial sales tax (depending where I register it back state side – I’ll probably encounter some sales tax).

A car, a truck, a SUV or even a Mini…what is Me?  I don’t know.  I’m 36, single, no kids and no idea of where I’ll live or will be doing a year from now.  God is calling me to the Foreign Service but don’t know how long it will take for me to make it through their whole process. If it’s quick – I could be in another foreign county this time next year not needing said car I’m racking my brain about now.

As I’m writing this post, what comes to mind is the saying “When in Rome” and what I did and enjoyed very much when I first moved to New Orleans.  When I moved to New Orleans I decided to live in the French Quarter in a luxuriously furnished apartment with a patio and really live it up.  It cost a few pennies but rewarded me with 6 wonderful months of excellent living that was outside of my norm.

I don’t know what the future holds, but it would appear that for the next 10 months I can afford a nice BMW and I would take pleasure in driving around Europe…therefore, it is well worth considering simply going with living in the moment…