I honestly don’t mind long commutes. And, if I’m to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if I ever really minded them.
I think in one season of my life I thought that I was supposed to not like them and so I manufactured a bit of resentment and even told folks that I didn’t like them but the truth is that I’ve never really had an issue with a super-long commute.
When I head down to San Jose from San Francisco the entire round trip is about 5 hours. It’s like this:
- Wake up at 5:50am, grab an Uber to Caltrain. On the road by 6:20am.
- If I want coffee, I’ll stop by the Starbucks and catch the 6:45 limited or the 6:59 bullet. If I don’t, I’ll get the earlier bullet at 6:35.
- Arrive around 8:00am or so depending on which one and then walk to the bus stop to grab the San Jose shuttle downtown. I can typically take that and be in the office by 8:45 or so, definitely before 9. The morning part takes 2.5 hours, give or take a bit.
- On the way home I’ve learned that it’s faster to just walk to the CalTrain from downtown and so I do that for 20 minutes, 18 if I walk fast but typically if I walk fast then I start sweating really badly because it’s so darn hot outside.
- If I catch anything in the afternoon it’s a 2.5 hour CalTrain back to SF and then an Uber ride home if I go all the way. This is more expensive so what I do now is I stop at Milbrae and transfer to the BART to Civic Center.
- I then walk home from Civic Center which is 15 minutes, depending on how fast I walk. Total time required to get home is longer than the morning because of the additional walk time and so it’s easily 3 hours.
I’ve been calculating an average and it’s easily 5 hours+ (2.5 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon). But, the reason I don’t mind this so much is because I do get a lot of work done while I’m riding.
This work is focused with very little distractions (if any). This time is precious and valuable to me. Sometimes I don’t even do any “work” but instead I just spend time thinking about the things that I am working on and allow my mind to engage the larger and more strategic issues. This is also very useful as well.
And sometimes I just sit and let me mind wander a bit, reset, and emotionally rejuvenate. This is also equally useful as my mind and my heart and my spirit may require it.
Sometimes I listen to music. Other times I enjoy the sounds of the train and subway, even though they are loud at times. This “white noise” is part of the process.