Thursday, April 27, 2017

What's Your Ideal Commute?


J and I were talking about commute times today and it got me thinking about what it means to commute. Personally, I don't like a long commute that forces me to get up early and commit to covering a serious amount of ground every day. When we first graduated from college, J and I moved to LA for a few months. I always felt like it was a really stupid move, but now I see that it was actually awesome. I learned a whole lot about what I didn't want in life during those months. Among those things was a long commute. For a while I drove nearly an hour each way to work and it was a completely demoralizing and soul sucking experience.

Over the years, I have had walking commutes, including one that was veritably straight uphill and always resulted in my arriving at work hot and red in the cheeks. Another crossed over a small farm in which I would sometimes get held up in a traffic jam of sheep! I've had urban walking commutes (typically weather permitting) and public transit commutes, and of course, the standard car commute.

Probably the best commute of them all was when we were living in Northwest Portland and J and I commuted together. The drive was absolutely beautiful through the winding streets of Portland's forested West Hills. Some mornings, the sun filtered through the trees and sprinkled us with delight in our convertible. Most mornings, we had the top up and the heat on, surrounded by tall trees whose tops you couldn't see in the misty clouds and rain. While I don't favor a long commute, I also don't want a commute that's too short. In my mind, around 20 minutes is just perfect. It's long enough to drink a big cup of coffee and listen to the news and mentally change gears. While I was forced to give up my morning-news-in-the-car habit commuting with J, I did get to listen to his curated playlists each morning and do my makeup and drink coffee in the passenger seat. A year later, we wound up moving across the river and in the interest of time, usually wound up taking I-5 to work instead. But, sometimes, if we had some extra time or got up early, we would go across the Broadway Bridge and drive the old way, just because.

This week, J and I have been subbing at the same high school. Every morning, we pile the kids into the car and drop them off together and then chat while we finish our coffee the rest of the way. It's pretty darn cozy, I have to admit. So, tell me, what's your perfect commute? Are you a headphones on the bus or train kind of commuter? Do you not mind driving 45 minutes? Or do you even really think about it? I would love to hear. Please share in the comments below! xo

(Photo via Pinterest)

7 comments:

  1. My husband's is around 20 min. He and our daughter ride together because her new school is almost right across the street. They love the time together! We recently switched from a school that was literally right across the street, I can see her classroom from my porch. I was so happy to have a school kid that walked to school but it wasn't a good fit at all for her and she is a million times happier at her new place & getting to commute with Daddy. :) So much about where to live is a compromise.

    For myself, I would prefer 10 min or less. But I am a SAHM currently so moot point. :)

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    1. That's so sweet for them to have that time together! Three cheers for that. :) I'm ready to go back to being a SAHM myself. Everything is so much easier and happier for everyone when I'm not working, it seems. Would you agree?

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  2. My current commute is 25 minutes by car. I miss using public transit, as I like to walk to the train and then sit and read a book, etc. But with audiobooks, I have learned to look forward to my driving time anyway!

    The really crazy part is that I actually work in the same building, for the same company, as my husband, but we DON'T commute together. I'm always so ashamed to admit that! Even worse is that we cross a bridge in our commute so we end up paying double the tolls! But he has a very senior position and often works until 8 or 9pm or later, whereas I am in a "treading water/leaning out" phase of my career to coincide with having infants/young toddlers at home, and I need to leave by 5pm on the dot for childcare reasons. Before my son was born, we used to commute together and if I finished everything I could do (or at least bill for) before he was done, I would bring a book and just read for hours each evening waiting for him to finish up. But once the kiddo was born, we had to bite the bullet, buy a second car, and make the ludicrous choice to drive both cars from the same house to the same work building, and back, each day.

    Sometimes it works out to commute together - like if we are seeing a show together after work we will just drive in together. I LOVE those days! It is so nice to have time in the car together to just talk, with no other distractions, no pressure to be accomplishing something or cleaning something, etc. It feels like a vacation.

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    1. It seems like you have very good reasons for commuting separately, so don't sweat that one bit! The time with your kids is definitely worth the tolls and such. I love that you do audio books now! And good luck with the childcare and juggling once number two comes along. Such complicated stuff, but do what works for you and makes the most sense for you. xx

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  3. My commute is walking down the stairs to the basement, and my husband has the same commute. While we don't work together, we do both work from home, and it is the absolute best for us. Prior to this, he was working from home, but I had a solid hour commute each way, and I haaaaaated it. We both really love working from home for a number of reasons, but really, you can't beat the commute ;)

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    1. That is the shortest commute ever! So cool that you both work from home and love it. I have a hard time whenever there isn't any external routine imposed on me. You guys must be disciplined and organized! ;)

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  4. What a nice post :) Commuting together sounds lovely but then I get sad when it's time to say goodbye! My husband and I both walk to work past beautiful parks. His is 15-20 min and mine 25 - although I'm pregnant and have started taking the bus because of back/hip problems. We are so lucky but also, this is what we value. Other people want more space out in the burbs but we are happy to raise our child in an apartment to live in this amazing location.

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