As someone who has never owned a car, the distance between work and home has always been my biggest priority when hunting for an apartment. The commute is the deal-breaker or the deal-maker.
I need to live in a place where I can walk to work. Walking to where I need to go is something I've done since childhood. I walked to elementary school. I walked to high school. I walked to university. And I walked to every job I've ever had since then. The reason is as simple as the act of walking itself: it makes me feel good.
Walking helps me wake up before I get to work and decompress before I get home. It gives me time to think about things or to turn off my brain and not think about anything at all. It's a way to lighten my footprint on the planet. And it's a guarantee that, no matter how busy I am or how late I have to stay at the office, I will get a little bit of exercise every single day.
Ideally, it should take me somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour to walk to work. Less than 45 minutes and it's too short. More than one hour and it's too long. The commute should also contain a good amount of beauty, something to make me feel inspired on a daily basis. The length of the commute is important but so too is the scenery along the way. The fewer busy roads the better.
That's how I picked my apartment here in Bonn. I looked at a dozen different apartments before settling on one. It wasn't the nicest apartment of the bunch. But it had the best commute. It takes about one hour to walk to work and I can get there several ways. I can walk along the Rhine River. I can walk through the park. Or I can walk along quiet side streets.
I can't imagine living in the suburbs and sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for two hours each day. I couldn't do it. I also can't imagine living in a country where it's extremely dangerous for women to walk alone at night. I'm lucky to be free and healthy enough to choose a car-free lifestyle and it's something I try not to take for granted. So I walk because I can.
I always keep my camera in my backpack just in case there is something worth photographing. These are some of my favourite photos from my commute to work in Bonn.
|Sunrise on the Rhine River in winter|
|Early morning on the Rhine River in summer|
|Fall fog in the Rhine park|
|As it gets cooler the morning walks get foggier|
|Lone tree in the fog|
|Winter in the Rhine park close to the office|
|Boat in the fog|
|Cherry blossoms this spring in the Rhine park|
|Sunset on my way home last Friday|
|View of the Japanese garden on my way home|
|Short cut through the train station to avoid waiting at the lights|
|Down and up|
|Waiting for the train to go by before crossing the tracks|
|The corner near where I live (for now)|