An 8.5 kilometer commute is nothing extraordinary. In fact, it is a very good distance in order to get a lot of thinking done, and a very worthy amount of exercise invested into a day.
These were the thoughts that I originally had in mind when I chose apartments two years ago. If I was going to move in my bicycle, I wanted to do it in the best way possible: Allowing myself to invest as much as I could in my daily commute. This proved to be very beneficial to my mental and physical health as I was investing massive amounts of effort into an action as simple as going to work or going home after work. We decided to extend our efforts when it came to commuting all throughout winter and decidedly used the subway maybe once or twice during this very icy and snowy winter. We are basically unstoppable when it comes to being in our bicycles.
That is, unstoppable in the greater scheme of things. Once you have invested 16 kilometers and 2 hours into your daily commute, there is only so much time and energy left at the end of the day to do anything, really. At the beginning it was a fun adventure with fitness, but after 700 days of the same, our bodies were more than tired.
We were not doing anything with our days other than commuting home, eating, and then getting as much rest as we did, and the morning were a fairly similar exercise of balancing time at home and time that needed to be used in order to get to work. We decided we needed to do some changes in regards to that, and when the time came for us to choose a new place to live, we decided to head to a neighbourhood that would substantially cut our commute times.
Needless to say, we ended up in a place where our commute distance was cut by 75%, and given the geographic location of our new home, the time was cut by an even more drastic amount. we went from spending 90 to 120 minutes every day going to work and back, to a mere 10 to 20. If I rush to work I can get there in little over 5 minutes. The way back is even faster since it is apparently slightly downhill.
Suddenly we have an hour and a half or more in our days.
We are on week 3 of our new adventure, and admittedly we have yet to figure out what to do with our newly found time. Small differences can be noticed from the get-go, such as being able to buy more food, do more activities, and clean the house — even to the point where we can allow ourselves to do renovations in the morning or in the evening.
Long commute times are a factor I have been erasing from my life more and more as I grow older. From 2 to 3 hours to school and back when I was a teenager, to 2 hours tops commuting, to 45 minutes, and finally 5 minutes of commute. What will be next?
Every minute well spent is another minute that can be used for something great.