On commuting

When I move, my daily routine will experience a big change. I am moving back to a big city, and with big city comes public transport. I love public transport.

I grew up in Munich and went to university in Heidelberg. I am used to having good public transport, and I have never owned a car in my life.

After graduation, I moved to small-town Bavaria. I had a hard time believing that there would be no public transport, but well, apart from the hourly trains, there is none. So I did what I had to, not owning a car, and moved to the village I work in to be in walking distance to the office. While I never really really got used to living in a village (well, I mean, I am used to it, I just don’t enjoy it), having a short commute is really great. Except for winter, I usually cycle to work and it takes me all of 10 minutes to get to the office. I usually get up between 7 and 7:15 and start work at 8. I finish work at 5 and I am usually home by 5:15.

In a few months that will most likely change. I am no stranger to having longer commutes. Even when I went to high school, I had a 35 minute commute, and for some time, I lived 40 minutes from university. But Edinburgh? Well, that’s a different story.

I am going to live in a suburb, and I will most likely be working in the city. Getting into the city takes 40 minutes on the express bus (60 minutes on the regular bus), and that is just me in the city. Granted, I have no idea where I will end up working, and if I am lucky it will be someplace between my suburb and the city center. But let’s face it, I won’t be able to be picky, I will not be able to afford to turn down a perfectly good job because it is an hour commute from my house.

When I was in high school and university, I never minded the commute much, because I still had plenty of spare time, but when you already spend anywhere between 8–10 hours a day in the office, you really do not want to be wasting another 2–3 hours getting to the office and back home. I know lots of people do it, and I will do it too if I have to, but I really hope I will luck out and score a job that is only a short to medium commute from my house (under an hour would be great). N. is lucky and works in a neighboring suburb, so his commute is only 5–10 minutes on the bus. He used to work in the city for years and he hated the commute.

You see, as gorgeous as Edinburgh is, the public transport there isn’t really that great. It is quite a big city, yet it relies entirely on buses. Buses that get stuck in traffic. Buses that stop at every stop, some of which are only a five minute walk apart. Heidelberg is much like that but it holds a population a quarter of the size of Edinburgh. And Munich? Well, you also have the subway there. Edinburgh does have trains, but there is no station in our suburb. If there was, it would only be about 10–15 minutes into the city, much like when you live in a Munich suburb, but because you would have to take a bus to get to the train station and plan in some time for the transfer, it takes nearly as long as just staying on the bus.

The thing is, I would actually like taking public transport to work. It’d give me a chance to have some downtime before work, listen to music, and I am looking forward to reading more again. It’s just, I’d be perfectly happy with 30 minutes of downtime.

But you know what, in the end it doesn’t really matter. I do think that in the long run I want to find a job that is not too far away from home, but getting to live with N. is definitely worth a commute into the city.

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3 thoughts on “On commuting

  1. So true. James and I skyped twice a day during our 19 months apart. With the time difference it was a bit different, but the biggest part was being totally committed. So even if we had a day where we were tired or what not, we’d make the time :)

    • Uhm. That was meant to be for the Long Term Relatonship post. Oddity.

      On commuting. Oh god. For real, right? I mean, I have a 40 minute train ride into Liverpool Street. In Boston I lived in the City and rolled out of bed, 5 minute walk to subway, 2 stations, 2 minute walk – at my desk. Once I find a job it will be a big adjustment.

      • Same here. Only I won’t even be that far from the city center. I just checked. I’ll live 12 miles from the city center, yet it’s 40 minutes away, because even the express bus takes ages until it’s left the city. The regular bus? Is painfully slow.

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