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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 26, 2014

The High Cost of Commuting

By Mark Sisson
90 Comments

CommutingBetween gas, car maintenance, bus fare, and train tickets, commuting can get expensive. Driving a mile in the US costs around $0.55, according to the IRS, and some estimates (PDF) even peg this country’s working poor as spending close to 10% of their income on commuting. Financial experts suggest that a one way commute of 20 miles (which is roughly average) will cost you almost $50,000 every ten years. If you’re one of the 600,000 “mega-commuters” who travel at least 90 minutes each direction in the US, your costs skyrocket.

But commuting isn’t just financially costly. It also eats time we could otherwise spend with friends, family, and our children – or getting much-needed sleep. It cuts into leisure time that would be better spent reading, writing, creating, or doing absolutely nothing at all but relaxing and being. It adds constant, chronic stress to our lives. It thrusts us into a daily fight or flight situation with huge metal monsters whizzing by and cutting in front of us. It turns other commuters into our mortal enemies, if only for a minute or two. It makes it harder to prepare and enjoy a healthy home-cooked meal. And it makes us more unhealthy.

In other words, commuting costs us time and money, but it can also cost us life, love, health, sleep, and freedom. Expensive habit, eh?

Let’s take a closer look at the high costs of commuting to see if it’s worth all the trouble.

Commuting makes you unhealthy.

Obviously, time spent in the car is time not spent doing health-promoting things like working out or cooking because you can’t do those while driving (well, maybe you could do kegels or something). The longer your commute, the more it takes away from food preparation (and subsequent consumption of said food), exercising, and other healthy acts. Each minute spent commuting is “associated with a 0.0257 minute exercise time reduction, a 0.0387 minute food preparation time reduction, and a 0.2205 minute sleep time reduction.”

And sure enough, several studies have found strong associations between commute time and poor health. In 2012 (PDF), researchers linked long commutes to less physical activity, lower cardiovascular fitness, larger waists, higher BMIs, and more hypertension in Texas adults. Overall, a long commute predicted poorer metabolic health. Another study found that vehicle miles traveled was the strongest predictor of obesity among Californians. Long commutes may also be more harmful to women than men, with long commuting women dying earlier than short commuting women.

Commuting makes you feel awful.

A recent study shows that with each additional minute of commuting time, we feel worse and worse. Our sense of well-being plummets and our anxiety increases. Oddly, this trend reverses once you hit a three hour commute; people who commute for three hours or more each day report greater life satisfaction. Higher pay (which often accompanies longer commutes) doesn’t seem to make up for the lost happiness, either. According to the study, telecommuters report the greatest satisfaction, lowest stress, and highest sense of well-being.

Commuting is stressful.

The longer the commute, the greater the stress. What’s worse: commuting is a reliable source of stress. You have to do it. It’s always there, lurking in the mind’s periphery. Sunday morning? You’re not focusing on the delicious coffee in front of you. You’re dreading the hour-long drive tomorrow. And the commute itself is fraught with stress, both chronic (the daily grind) and acute (the jerk changing lanes without signaling).

Commuting disrupts your sleep.

Until self-driving cars become available to consumers (a technology I for one eagerly await), commuting necessarily cuts into sleep time. You can’t drive and sleep at the same time, and the longer the commute, the earlier you have to wake up and go to bed if you want good, sufficient sleep. That’s just the morning, though. You also have to consider the commute back home. The more time that takes, the less free time you’ll have at night before you have to hit the hay to get enough sleep. It gets messy fast, particularly because people with long commutes still need to decompress and enjoy themselves at night. They’re not robots who just power down for the night. They’re likely to stay up later and suffer in the morning.

Commuting is lonely.

Even when we’re pushing through the throngs of humanity, we’re alone. No one wants to be there. No one’s cheery enough to chat, except maybe the guy with a quad espresso running through his veins. Most Americans drive to work in single occupancy cars. Millions of us file along the road, isolated and oblivious to the people around us (until they cut us off or drive too close and we yell obscenities). There’s no more robust a predictor of social isolation than a long commute, according to Robert Putnam, a social scientist and expert on the disintegration of American civic life. And social isolation is disastrous for our health and our happiness.

Commuting is the last thing many people want to do.

I mean that literally: a survey (PDF) of women found that commuting, especially in the morning, was the most unpleasant thing they had to do on a regular basis. Unsurprisingly, the women’s favorite acts – sex and socializing after work – are both directly inhibited by a long commute. What makes this even worse is that we have to do this thing we hate more than anything – twice a day, every single day. It’s like a chronic illness that we’ve just learned to accept.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can make changes, tweaks to your schedule, your routine, even your career that either mitigate the deleterious effects of the commute or eliminate them altogether.

Telecommute.

People often assume that telecommuting means slacking off or getting nothing done, but that hasn’t been my experience. Several of my employees telecommute, including my general manager who’s currently living in Australia, and it works out great. I’m a big supporter of telecommuting. Research backs me up, with telecommuters experiencing less work-family conflict, a greater sense of autonomy, less stress, and more job satisfaction. The main potential downside is a lack of personal contact with co-workers, which can modestly harm work relationships (but doesn’t have to).

Try active commuting.

If you really have to commute – and let’s face it, most of us do – try incorporating some active movement like biking or walking. Obviously, if you’re driving 60 miles on the interstate each way to work, biking probably isn’t feasible. But if you’re sitting in traffic for 20 or 30 minutes just to go 15 miles, or taking 15 minutes to drive 2 miles, you could easily do that on a bike or on your feet. Research shows that people who walk or bike to work experience less stress as a result of their commute and rate their mode of transportation as more enjoyable, exciting, and relaxing. They’re still commuting and it’s still taking up free time, but at least they’re getting some exercise out of it, avoiding additional stress, and perhaps even reducing their risk of early mortality.

Change your perception – and reception – of commuting.

When it comes to stress, perception is almost everything. Instead of flipping off the guy who cut you off, ignore it and smile. Don’t use the horn vindictively. Use it prophylactically to prevent accidents or warn other drivers. I mean, who really cares that a guy didn’t let you in or forgot to use a blinker or honked at you? Don’t give in to the anger welling up because someone did something in a car near you. It does nothing but make your commute more stressful. You may have to fake it until you make it, but you’ll be reciting zen koans and perceiving the cosmic oneness of all mankind on the commute in no time.

Make your commute enjoyable.

If you’re sitting in traffic, you should try to enjoy yourself. Don’t listen to AM talk radio hosts whose alignments run opposite yours. Don’t wallow in “anger porn.” Heck, I’d avoid politics altogether. Instead, listen to good music. Throw on audiobooks. Subscribe to a podcast or two. Make the most of your situation.

Change jobs.

I know, I know. It’s sacrilege to even suggest this, but switching to a lower-paying job with an easy or nonexistent commute might be worth it. You’ll have more time with your family and friends. You’ll have more time with yourself. You’ll get more sleep. You can finally go take that krav maga or yoga class you’ve been considering. You’ll save on gas and wear-and-tear car repairs. You might actually get a chance to cook a real Primal meal every night rather than pick up something resembling food on the way home. And a new job doesn’t even have to mean lower pay. You might find something closer and better-paying and more interesting if you actually rouse yourself from homeostasis and go look. Pursuing your dream can work.

Since nearly everyone commutes, and most of you are probably reading this at work or en route to work, I hope you’ll really consider the thrust of today’s post. It’s not an easy thing to confront the possibility that we’re actively curtailing our health and happiness on a daily basis, nor is it simple to change gears and make a huge shift, but it might be a good move. Let me know what you guys think in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

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90 Comments on "The High Cost of Commuting"

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Jacob
2 years 1 month ago
I’ve found a few tricks that make my commute more bearable/enjoyable: I leave home and work earlier — Allows me to avoid most of the rush hour traffic. I can stay in the right lane for 95% of my commute —Minimizes the stress of weaving in and out of traffic. Also less people jumping in front of me. The drive to and from work is my personal time where I can listen to the radio or just enjoy some peace and quiet before work/taking care of kids. I’ve looked into taking the train but a monthly subscription would cost about… Read more »
Groktimus Primal
2 years 1 month ago

I took a lower paying job and ditched the heinous commute long ago. Now I’m poorer but arguably saner. I listen to Mark’s and Robb Wolf’s podcasts during my easier commute each week so it’s more pleasant and educational. Time passes a lot quicker too. I only occasionally get a tinge of regret because in some ways if felt good having a minor power job in a field I liked whereas now my job is a job and while I’m not unhappy it can be pretty belittling (in many ways) on occasion by comparison.

MEversbergII
MEversbergII
2 years 1 month ago

I’ve been an “active commuter” for some years now, walking and later cycling. My current job (which I began cycle commuting for) has tasked me with getting a car for some reason. It’s about a 3 mile ride, so it’ll be a short drive but I greatly dislike the idea for many reasons.

I’m getting the license (never bothered) and the car as they ask, but I’ll probably pretty quickly start looking to work somewhere else in town that doesn’t mind me cycling.

M.

Stacie
Stacie
2 years 1 month ago

Why would they have a problem with your riding your bike? That seems rather odd to me.

Jessica
Jessica
2 years 30 days ago

Unless you’re not showering when you get to work, they really can’t say how you commute.

Karl
Karl
2 years 30 days ago

What’s the point? It’s a huge waste of money. Cyclists are more productive and less likely to be ill than non-cyclists. Studies show this. My commute to work via bike is 7mi. One ride to work there was traffic jam, and I bypassed it. With all the traffic lights, going by car isn’t much faster. Google Maps tells me it takes 17min by car. It takes me about 25min by bike. It’s good exercise to boot. Tell them to go to hell.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 1 month ago

China has 200mph trains and Japan has some beauties too! It’s a crime in this large, wealthy country of the U.S. everyone is driving solo. This is the perfect country for a mass transit system.

Mark S
Mark S
2 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure that addresses most of the concerns laid out about commuting.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure either…but it did make me feel better to vent a little.

Linda
Linda
2 years 30 days ago
It would certainly address some of them. In a train, you can do a lot more than just listen to the radio. You can read a book, write, sketch, even knit if that’s your thing, and you can talk to other people. You don’t actively have to do anything to get to your destination, so you could take a nap. I even know people who work in the train and count that towards their work hours, so basically they are getting paid to commute. Also, no road rage. I am fortunate enough to live in a country with a great… Read more »
Alma
2 years 1 month ago

I agree. Trains make a big difference, not just because you can forget about the traffic, you can also read a book or talk with people. Not to mention the reduction of pollution of course.

aby
aby
2 months 25 days ago

I take mass transit and there is no talking to people whatsoever. If you ever try to engage in a conversation you get nasty looks. Everyone is so occupied either sleeping or buried in their phone.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 month ago

Won’t happen–not profitable enough, and no political will. Remember when Amtrak used to cross the country? Now it’s down to 2 routes: 1 across the gulf coast, and the other in the DC/Boston area.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 1 month ago

Amtrack Surfliner goes from Santa Barbara to San Diego with some great views along the way. SoCal residents should look into taking it to and from PrimalCon and extend the party.

Snake Plissken
Snake Plissken
2 years 1 month ago

Amtrak is ridiculously subsidized and should be shut down.

James
James
2 years 1 month ago
Main problem is that the U.S. is (ahem) not a perfect country for it. It’s too big. Rail is tremendously efficient way to move heavy, dense stuff long distances – coal, sand, etc. Rail is a comparatively inefficient way to move people long distances. Japan and Europe have very large, dense metropolitan areas that are close together, thereby supporting the commuting volume that would warrant rail coverage. Compare the distance from Tokyo to Nagoya, or London and Paris, compared to Chicago to New York or LA. More generally, I’d rather take Mark’s point as “try to avoid / minimize commuting,”… Read more »
victor
victor
2 years 30 days ago

Not only the cities you mention in the US but the suburbs forming a 70 mile radius outside those cities where major populations reside make trains unfeasible. I don’t think that train from Orange,Calif. to Chino Hills is happening.

Nocona
Nocona
2 years 30 days ago

Disagree. Make gas 8-10 bucks a gallon like it is in Europe…and where it probably should be, and then mass transit becomes viable.

James
James
2 years 30 days ago

Why “should” gas be $8-10 bucks a gallon?

victor
victor
2 years 30 days ago

People said the same thing when Europe was paying $4+ fifteen years ago and we were paying $1.50. Our response was fuel efficiency, hybrids,etc… Why? Because we love our cars and the independence it gives us among other things.

glorth2
glorth2
2 years 1 month ago

I agree with you but, as has been pointed out, there is no political will. A discussion of how rail was actively killed in this country is another discussion.

Mike
Mike
2 years 30 days ago
Issues with mass transit- lack of centralized work/living space. Mass transit works well in areas where there is a defined commute- to/from suburbs to central business district. I used to use trains to commute from suburban Chicago to the central business district all the time when I worked there. But it is impractical if you live in one suburb and wish to commute to another. The random nature of this style of commuting all but negates the use of efficient mass transit. Distance- Amtrak’s Accela workes well in the Boston-Washington corridor, but it still takes 6 hours to go from… Read more »
Jillian
Jillian
2 years 1 month ago

My ex was in the military, and his job required us to live about 75 minutes outside of Toronto. Meanwhile, I had a very busy job in the financial district. My commute on the train was incredibly long, and I rapidly became very depressed.

Now he’s my ex… 😛

My current commute is a 20 minute high speed bike ride along a gorgeous river in Western Canada. Happiness has increased exponentially. I would encourage anyone to avoid a soul-destroying commute at all costs.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
2 years 1 month ago

“The Tom Woods Show” podcast (~25 minutes) on my daily morning commute plus tunes allows me to tune into sound reasoning, current events, history and logic before work.

John
John
2 years 1 month ago

Good post and something everyone should consider. One thing not mentioned was moving closer to work. Check out Mr. Money Mustache’s take on this topic (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/) and his positive take on MDA (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/08/07/mr-money-mustache-vs-marks-daily-apple/).

Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 1 month ago

You beat me to the MMM links!

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 month ago

That’s what we did, and the commute is STILL a killer as long as you go during normal commute hours. We live about 12 miles from work, yet Hubby works at a military base, and about 10,000 more people share the road with him, everybody having to be there at 7.

This is why Hubby now gets there by 6, and spends the hour before work in the office gym.

Coming home, he still sometimes gets caught in the homeward traffic deluge.

Snake Plissken
Snake Plissken
2 years 1 month ago

MMM would say that 10 year cost is more like 80,000 @ 7% over ten years in a Vanguard index fund. That’s THREE additional years to work before retirement. Move closer to work or work closer to home. I can see my fire station out my back door????

Rrrracer
Rrrracer
2 years 1 month ago

I gave up my 15 year old brick and mortar business for a lower paying gig working from home back in March and couldn’t be happier.

The commute is pretty tough though. Ran into a traffic jam this morning on the way in… cat was in the hallway.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 1 month ago

🙂

Kevin Grokman
Kevin Grokman
2 years 1 month ago

Haha!! Entertaining 🙂

Robin
Robin
2 years 1 month ago

I have more than one cat. I run into that type of traffic on my evening commute quite often. I clock in at 10:00 pm…there are nights I get up at 9:50 pm. I love my job.

Erika
Erika
2 years 30 days ago

I have a similar traffic jam on my commute to work – three cats all trying to go through the same doorway as me!

I do have a second office, outside the house, but I can bike there in less than 20 minutes.

Our main office is across the country, but I only fly there once every month or three, and then I stay for a couple of days.

Rrrracer
Rrrracer
2 years 30 days ago

These are good problems to have!

Ham-Bone
Ham-Bone
2 years 1 month ago

With a 2 hour / 120 miles a day total drive this post is stressing me out just reading it…

Kelly
Kelly
2 years 1 month ago
I’ve been telecommuting for years now, and it really is great for my productivity in all areas, and great for my family life and health (I get more time to exercise and prep food, since the kitchen is handy and I’m not driving to work or spending a lot of time getting ready in the morning). However, I do miss the human contact with other adults. I’d suggest if you telecommute and you can, to incorporate some video calls in with the telephone calls, and to try to work some regular outings into the week so that you are definitely… Read more »
Diane
Diane
2 years 1 month ago
I ride my Vespa to work. It’s a lot more fun than driving. Maybe not less dangerous for my health, but so far so good. Been doing it for 30,000 miles rain or shine so far. I don’t seem to mind the lack of music to listen to. There’s something nice about being out in the air and the exhilaration of riding a motorcycle, especially one so pretty. I’ve also done the bike commute and the walk commute. Both those are pretty nice, too. Trouble with the walking commute is if you are running late it’s almost impossible to catch… Read more »
Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 1 month ago

This goes nicely: here is one of the best posts from one of the best personal finance blogs out there.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/

Christopher
Christopher
2 years 1 month ago

Subway commuting in NYC is a hellish daily experience but I recently softened it somewhat by finding a different route wherein I have to walk about 10min on each side of my ride. On nice days, this really helps lessen the dread and improve my mood (as well as get some sunshine).

I used to work at a place that was a 10min walk from my apt but the work environment was terrible to the point where I prefer my 45min commute each way at my current job.

Elf
Elf
1 year 1 month ago

Strangely enough, this is the comment I was hoping to find. I have a choice between an 3.5 mile commute doing a job I dislike (cooking) versus a 20 mile commute doing a job I want to do (bartending). I know it’s not the financially wise decision, but I’m a human being with emotional bias. What can you do.

Bridgette
Bridgette
2 years 1 month ago

I have a 35 minute commute. Fortunately my husband and I carpool for a portion of it and then I listen to podcasts such as On Being. (I highly recommend it, soothing voices with good thoughts, keeps the road rage abated).

As someone suggested previously, I leave a little earlier in the mornings to beat the heavy traffic. Doing so can help stress tremendously, in my opinion.

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years 1 month ago
My husband has to drive 15 minutes to work (very short commute time according to this) and it still drains him. We just can’t afford a house in town and so we had to go a little further away. However, I will say that some planning can ameliorate some of the stresses above- particularly where food is concerned. I have recently become a big fan of devoting a weekend a month to prepping all of our dinners in the freezer for that month, ready to be used when required. That sounds like a lot of work (and it is, sometimes)… Read more »
Corbeaux
Corbeaux
2 years 1 month ago

One of the biggest changes that I made outside of diet was avoiding traffic. I leave home a LOT earlier and go to the gym where I try very hard to do as little as possible before going into the office. The trip takes 18 minutes each way instead of 1-1.5 hours and I am much happier.

Kathleen
Kathleen
2 years 1 month ago
I used to be a mega commuter (90 miles each way) and it was awful on my health. I gained weight, had no energy, and was constantly stressed. Now I live about 30 miles from work. It is still a long drive, but I am able to carpool. Having the opportunity to spend time and socialize with others while driving makes it go by much more quickly (also, the use of the carpool lane literally makes it go by more quickly). I have also reduced my commute time by teleworking once per week, and staggering my start and end times… Read more »
Brandon
Brandon
2 years 1 month ago

I’m moving to live a half mile away from my job in October, im stoked to rollerblade in the summer, though i think i’ll be screwed in the winter!

Tom B-D
Tom B-D
2 years 1 month ago

Not at all–just switch to x-c skis or snowshoes!
I’m fortunate to live walking distance to work, enjoy it year-round. Even our last winter, brutally cold, was never too much. You just need good clothes.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
2 years 1 month ago

Cross-country skiing?

b2curious
b2curious
2 years 1 month ago
I rather like my commute, which is about 45 minutes each way. I’m a bit of an introvert and my commute is my alone time – just me and the radio. I focus on the positive, like that driver that just let me merge over, rather than the several that did not. If I know traffic is going to be bad, I take one of my alternated rountes. If I’m stuck in a traffic jam, I let work know I’m running late, and find something good on the radio or my CD’s. I’m the weirdo who actually seems to be… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
2 years 30 days ago

Your comment reminds me of being stuck in the LA traffic after the Rose Parade way back in the 1950’s. In the car in front of us, the couple used the time to “make out.”

b2curious
b2curious
2 years 30 days ago

Ha, ha, ha! Well, I certainly don’t enjoy traffic jams THAT much. I just work on my “car dancing” and “steering wheel drumming.”

Monica
Monica
2 years 1 month ago

Oddly enough, though I do agree with many things you listed above, I often find my commute relaxing.

As a full-time working mother, it’s hard to get time for myself, and my commute provides me with guaranteed alone time. I listen to my audiobooks and drink my coffee (in the morning) and I can just…breathe.

Unfortunately, there are no jobs where I live, so finding another job isn’t an option…so I make the best of it. 🙂

b2curious
b2curious
2 years 30 days ago

You said it perfectly “I can just…breathe.” That’s it exactly!

Lou
Lou
2 years 1 month ago

I joined a vanpool. I can nap, play on my phone, or enjoy the company of the rest of the people riding with me. It is subsidized by the taxpayer, just like the rest of the bus and rail system in the region, which I don’t support, but at least it is more efficient than all the empty buses driving around town.

Amy
Amy
2 years 1 month ago
My husband is a carpenter (journeyman) with the carpenter’s union and is feeling seriously burnt out by the long commutes (1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs one way). We live in a small rural community in Southern Ontario, Canada that we love but are considering moving to a city closer to the main highway arteries, He has major sleep deficit and stress so bad his heart sometimes skips or flutters (not to mention he is dreading driving another winter like we had last year). After reading this article, I’m really starting to think he needs to get out of the… Read more »
Rema
Rema
2 years 1 month ago
I’m an electrician, so is my husband. We live in the mid-Willamette Vally, his work is mostly 45 min. South of home and mine is in the Portland metro area 75 to 90 min. North. Mornings aren’t too bad because I start earlier than most city folk, but the afternoon commute can take up to 2 1/2 hours depending on traffic. I’ve learned to just chill, crank up the radio and sing really loud. I try to not let the other drivers stress me out, if they feel the need to cut in I just let them. I figure that… Read more »
B
B
2 years 1 month ago

As an airline pilot, I was communting across the country twice a week. It was awful. Besides just being in an airplane so much, the stress of actually making the flight and hoping their were seats available was a constant and great stressor. Finally just took the financial hit of not being to sell my house (finally a renter) and just moved across the country. Best move ever. Now I take the bus to the airport. Nap, listen to podcasts, read….Ahhhh.

Shannon
Shannon
2 years 1 month ago
When my husband and I purchased our house last year our top priority was “within 5 miles of his office”. This allows him to ride his bike to work each day which gives him some exercise and a huge boost of energy for the day. He has a very cheap gym membership right next to work for showering. We’ve not only cut out owning a second vehicle at all but also cut down on a lot of caffeine intake at work. (I’m told coding is boring.) I am about to give birth to our first child and am therefore not… Read more »
Jackie
Jackie
2 years 1 month ago

This is a timely article, as I have a 90min each way car drive to work. I am selling up and buying a smaller house nearer my family. This will clear my mortgage, release some equity and as soon as I have exchanged contracts I will hand in my notice. Double the stress, but excited about the opportunities that may present themselves.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 1 month ago
I am very fortunate as I have an employer that subsidizes transportation costs for us, so I use a commuter bus that’s non-stop between where I live and work – it’s about a 20 mile round trip. The ticket costs me only $19 a month, the busses are clean and nice, I can relax a little and not have to worry about driving, and there’s not a bunch weirdoes on our bus since we’re all commuters (well, if there are, at least they keep it to themselves). When I do drive, it is stressful and I am glad I don’t… Read more »
Kevin Grokman
Kevin Grokman
2 years 1 month ago
I have pretty strong feelings on this. Much of my job requires work on MS Excel or on MS Word. Why should I need to commute even 20 minutes to the office on a regular basis? The biggest problem is when I need to look at other documents at the office. There is no remote access for it. The distance is about 15 miles, so biking may be possible, but I live in the Phoenix area. I don’t prefer to be covered in stinky sweaty clothes for the day. Even with a change of clothes, they stick to me, and… Read more »
Beth
Beth
2 years 1 month ago
I’m a homeschool mom so my commute isn’t too bad, usually a walk around the neighborhood for 20-30 min. just to get the blood flowing. 😉 My husband is lucky too. He commutes 20-30 min. (depending on traffic. The earlier he leaves, the better). And about a third of that is along calming canopy roads. (A huge reason we chose our neighborhood.) And, lucky him, he doesn’t have to worry about less time to prep his meals since his lovely wife usually has a healthy breakfast sitting out before he leaves, a healthy lunch packed to throw in the fridge… Read more »
wildgrok
wildgrok
2 years 1 month ago

Nice!

Charlotte
2 years 1 month ago

So, I’ve lived in cities for the past 10 years and have always walked to and from work. Currently it’s 3 miles daily- and I look forward to my “commutes” (I don’t cab or subway, even in winter). I’m honestly not sure I could handle a real commute.

Cindy
2 years 1 month ago
Weather permitting I often ride my bike to the gym near my office long before the morning rush. I then walk from the gym to the office and back to the gym at the end of the day then I am able to throw my bike on a rack on the local bus which gets me through the worst of the downtown traffic safely. I then ride the rest of the way home. Its not perfect but the ride in the morning is glorious before most people are out of bed and it makes the rest of it worth it.
healthywings
healthywings
2 years 1 month ago

I agree with the costs of commuting! But want to share some “positives” of when I commuted back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. I listened to teaching tapes during all of my drives and it fortified my mind and soul in ways that I am so thankful for now. Hours and hours of teaching tapes (cassettes and then cd’s) led to some important learning for me and my hour + commutes each way allowed this to happen.

John
John
2 years 1 month ago
The type and quality of the commute are what matter to me. I am one of those super commuters and have been doing it on and off for 15 years. 3+ hours daily for 3 days per week. I stay in an inexpensive motel two nights that are not consecutive. That means only one day is spent commuting in both directions. Strange as it sounds I enjoy this time. It is 100% interstate at speed limit. Satellite radio or just semi meditating is relaxing to me. I am more refreshed when I get to work or home than I ever… Read more »
James
2 years 1 month ago
I love what I do for a living, but I always had trouble finding the right job. Three years ago, I set my mind to finding the right job for me – telecommute, specific salary, learn something new every day, adequate PTO – and last May I found it. As it turned out, an even better opportunity came along about a month ago. Working from home has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I’m more productive, relaxed, and I can cook Primal meals every day. The opportunities are out there. You just have to set your sights… Read more »
2Rae
2Rae
2 years 1 month ago
Years ago I changed jobs, 12 miles one way took somtimes 40 minutes. Now it takes 12 to 15 minutes. Much better. I’d like to take public transportation but it would cost a LOT more in money and time so forget that. It’s about 4 miles and I suppose I could ride my bike but it’s a dangerous route and most of the year it’s RAINING and COLD. Being a “sissy-la-la” I don’t like getting too cold nor dirty in the rain. But the commute is great with the radio blasting or not at all depending on my needs.
rocketpj
rocketpj
2 years 1 month ago
My commute takes 2.5 hours from the time my bike leaves the garage to when I lock it up at work. That would be horrible if it was more than 6 times/month. As it is, I have a 5km ride first thing, then a brief wait before a 45 minute ferry trip (on which I usually sleep or read a novel), a 20 minute bus ride, and then another 6km uphill ride at the far end. Sometimes, on my way home, I ride all the way, but that makes for a 4.5 hour commute and usually isn’t worth it unless… Read more »
wildgrok
wildgrok
2 years 1 month ago
I can’t have it better: Work is 3.8 miles away, I use my bike daily, all the time in wide sidewalks, almost no hills ,this is Miami, very flat :-). I have been working in the same place for the last 9 years, and during that time I used the car only in the first month. Once a week (usually Tuesdays, like today) I walk to work: going I include some soft runs of 6-10 minutes, returning I just walk and enjoy the scenery and the mp3 music (which I do also on the going trip). I have in the… Read more »
Snake Plissken
Snake Plissken
2 years 1 month ago
Pam
Pam
2 years 1 month ago

I started a work at home position just over a year ago and absolutely love it. Even though the brutal Midwest winter kept me inside more than I like. The thought of a position that requires a commute and set hours literally gives me a panic attack. Please don’t make me go back to that life.

Sue
Sue
2 years 1 month ago

Problem with this, for me, is I want out of the over crowded stereotypical ‘burbs and hate city living – I’ve had years of both. I enjoy space, privacy and nature too much. But to get it, means moving away and increasing commute time – a choice I may be making soon. Unless extremely wealthy, there are always tradeoffs to be made.

Evan Brand
2 years 1 month ago
I recently moved from being 2 miles away from work where I took an electric scooter to work in a matter of 6 minutes, to living 9 miles away and taking my car. Fortunately there are still a few highways in Austin that are not completely packed with cars and there is still a steady flow of cars. I always think about the air pollution aspect. Isn’t it insane to think of the traffic jams around the country and planet that occur each day? and to think about all the gas being burned, the oil being dripped and the heat… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
2 years 30 days ago
Like you, the cost to the environment was the first thing that came to my mind with all the commuting. We had solar collectors installed on our house and one way the solar company tells us about our usage is to tell us how many lbs of CO2 we have saved from putting into the air. In a year and a half, we have saved the equivalent of NOT driving about 20,000 miles in a car. That seems pretty amazing to me. My husband is able to walk to the 1/2 mile to work on most days, we can easily… Read more »
barry
barry
2 years 1 month ago

I used to work in Brussels, the #1 city with the worst traffic in the world. So I took public transport, which took me an hour (and a lot of frustration whenever a train was late or bus didn’t show up), or occasionally biked there when the weather wasn’t too bad (so not often), 1 hour and 30 minutes.

I got a new job and now I drive somewhere else, 30 minutes to get there, no traffic jams ever. Just relaxed driving while listening to music, not too bad. I’m never going to work in Brussels again.

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
2 years 1 month ago

All said is true, but we can’t always get what we want (I for one, would like to retiree right now and move to southern California for instance (- ; We can however, strive to narrow down whatever has a negative impact on our quality of life, and upon, what contributes to our quality of live. Agreed???

DevOps
DevOps
2 years 1 month ago

I had worked from home from time to time, but it just never feel right. Not that I find myself lazy, but it was rather hard to get motivated and get into the zone. I know it is very popular for devops to telecommute, but it just doesn’t work for me.

Vince G
Vince G
2 years 30 days ago
First, it sounds like there are a LOT of us with ridiculous commutes! Secondly, I have been working 100 miles from home for 2 years now and, though I am in the best health of my life, have been more depressed than ever. I firmly believe it is due to the weight of the commute. My life has been reduced to working, working out, and eating. And that’s it. The working out and eating are great, but don’t balance the amount of work, travel and LACK of anything fun, like a social life. I have applied to tons of jobs… Read more »
Dave
2 years 30 days ago
I live in the Charlotte, NC and even without a long commute sometimes traffic gets so bad you’d swear you did have a long commute! But for the past year and a half I was commuting about an hour to an hour and a half one way. That takes up a lot of personal time and it definitely was very stressful at times. I can definitely relate to every point you’ve covered in this article. Things that helped me were hitting the gym at lunch, leaving later or earlier to miss the major traffic hours. Getting audiobooks and making sure… Read more »
NatPatBen
NatPatBen
2 years 30 days ago

When I went from an hour-long commute by bus (Park-N-Ride), where I could read/sleep/listen to music/email/Facebook to & from work, to an hour-long commute where I have to DRIVE, I didn’t know how I’d make it. I HATE driving long distances, especially in Houston’s rush-hour traffic.

Podcasts saved my sanity and now, I actually LOOK FORWARD to listening to the podcasts so much that sometimes, I’ll take the longer route (to avoid paying tolls) because it gives me more time to listen to the podcasts.

Kit
Kit
2 years 30 days ago

I recently switched from a job that was close to me, but stressed me out majorly and made me exhausted and miserable, to a job significantly farther away that puts me in a positive, healthy environment.

If your job makes you happy, then the negatives of commuting are going to seem and feel much more minor.

patrick
2 years 30 days ago
This post just ruined me for this blog. All these commenters that I have had a ton of respect for just lost their sheen. Everyone seems so intelligent, until they talk about commuting. It’s probably because the Grok model doesn’t fit here. He probably wasn’t that social or considerate of his neighbors. Which seems to be happening here in the comments today. There should be another model to describe the societal aspect. What made me glom on to this community was the interest in environmental sustainability. Even if it was simply for the sake of health, I mixed food health… Read more »
Coco
Coco
2 years 30 days ago

And why not move close to your work place? I did that once and my stress level lowered so much it’s incredible! It was that or resigning, I was really fed up. It’s another reason even though I love the country side, I would never live there. Even if I worked at home, I would hate to drive long distances just to go anywhere.

ktnbs
ktnbs
2 years 29 days ago

Most of my career had involved very short commutes. Many of them just a walk down the street whilst living in small, remote towns or rural stations with a residential compound.

I managed to land a position in a large metro area a few years ago notorious for traffic and long commutes. I got my hands on a condo across the water from the city and within a 10 min walk to the ferry. My office is a 15 min walk from the dock on the other side after about a 40 min boat ride.

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