Sunday, October 14, 2012

My morning commute

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

My neighbourhood

The corner near where I live (for now)


Chaminda Jayasekara said...

Thanks for the update. So, where do you buy your morning jolt?

Sarah M. said...

I either make it at home before I leave or I buy it from this very nice German lady who operates a little coffee truck across the street from the office.

e said...

Thanks for the photos, a walk down memory lane from visiting. e

Sarah M. said...

Cool! You're welcome.

Najah said...

Lovely photos! So happy to hear you are doing well in Germany. How nice to walk to work!

Sarah M. said...

Thank you Najah. Yes, especially on a morning like today (warm & sunny), walking to work is great.

Unknown said...

Ditto, but with biking. I love the fresh air, the scenery, and the exercise from my daily commute. When I had to take the bus to UBC, it was the most stressful part of my day. Now the bike ride wakes me up on the way to work and relaxes me afterwards. Not as relaxing as a walk, but certainly better that busing or driving.

Sarah M. said...

Agree 100 percent. I bike when I don't feel like walking and I love it just as much. The bike ride to UBC is lovely. I used to enjoy doing that too :)


Brad Adams said...

I recommend you to get a bike! It would be faster and allow you to go farther than walking, and you still get to be outside, getting exercise, away from the traffic!

Sarah M. said...

I have a bike but trying to take photos while biking is a skill I have yet to master! ;-)

I usually ride to work two days a week and walk three days a week. And I prefer biking to walking when I want to get around on the weekend. Much faster!