Relationships

How Long is Your Commute?

What's Your Commute Like?

Whenever I find myself at a party, the conversation goes something like this: “What do you do? (Answer.) Where do you live? (Answer.) So, what’s your commute like?” The person inevitably responds with a tale of breezy morning bike rides or a multi-part saga about the three subway transfers they make twice a day. I take a boat to work, and am always happy to talk about it.

The average American spends 25.4 minutes commuting each way, which adds up to a total of 204 hours — about 5 work weeks! — per year. (New Yorkers have the longest commutes, at 38 minutes each way. Mine takes an hour.) Needless to say, your commute is kind of a big deal…

In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt says your commute is one of three main external factors that can affect your everyday happiness.

(The other two factors are noise, especially noise that is variable or intermittent, and sense of control — believing that you have the power to change and manage your environment, whether it’s your schedule, your workload or even the tidiness of your home.)

“A leisurely drive or a smooth bike ride can actually be a relaxing way to start your day,” Haidt explains. Yet similarly to how people in Snickers commercials mimic the Incredible Hulk pre-Snickers consumption, people with stressful or unpredictable commutes can fall prey to a host of maladies, including high blood pressure, sleep disturbances and increased risk for anxiety and depression. Yikes. “If at all possible,” Haidt advises, “choose circumstances with the easiest commute, leave earlier, or take a different route.”

Point taken, Haidt, but it’s not always possible to shorten your commute. Still, you can do your best to shave a few minutes off. “The commuter takes on compulsive attributes,” writes Nick Paumgarten in The New Yorker. “Some people decipher where on a subway train it is best to ride, for optimum exiting, and, therefore, where to stand on the platform, by a particular pay phone or blackened patch of gum.”

Despite all this, extreme commuting is actually on the rise, with people traveling to other cities, states, even countries for their jobs, as The Atlantic recently explained.

“Erik Church lives in Toronto, but works in Vancouver, more than 2,000 miles away… He took the job four years ago, but decided to commute, not only for his nine-year-old daughter, but also because his wife’s medical practice was established in Toronto.

He now takes a five-hour flight to Vancouver every Sunday night or Monday morning and leaves on Thursdays at 5 p.m. If his daughter has a school recital, he will fly there in one day, catch the recital, and fly back again. His daughter once told her teacher that her dad worked at the airport.”

Crazy, right? And now I shall never complain about my commute again.

How long is your commute? Do you walk, bike or drive? Read books (I just finished and loved this one) or listen to podcasts? We’d love to hear…

P.S. Another important question: Do you have gadget sickness?

  1. I live in Buenos Aires, and I consider myself a privileged person: I can commute 15-20 minutes on a bike to go to work. I say “I can” because recently I’m not in the mood for bike (the wind from the spring doesn’t help) – so by bus it takes me about 30 minutes, no traffic. Buenos Aires is a flat city, so it’s easy to commute on a bike! I’m from Brazil and when I was still living there I had different experiences: working in a neighbor city and commuting in a full bus with traffic versus working 7 blocks from home. I definitely agree that it has a huge impact on our everyday happiness :)

  2. Zizi says...

    I live in Nigeria, there’s this one city, Lagos that has very terrible traffic(well, to me of course) but it never made the list of top ten bad traffic in the world. Got me a little surprised.
    Used to think it was a sign of under development that caused people to commute across borders and city lines just to get to work, but from the comments I can see it’s just a part of living in our world.
    I feel so enlightened right now. Thank you guys!

  3. Jessie M. says...

    I’m a bit late to the game but this post really struck me. I currently live in Chicago but work in Milwaukee, about 90 miles away. I used to commute 3+ hours a day to my job, but I later advocated for a four-day work week where I now work 10-hour shifts, which has allowed me to stay in Milwaukee three nights/week. When I took my job, it was a positive career move for me but my husband was resistant to leave his job in Chicago, so we’ve made this arrangement work for us. It’s not ideal, but we’ve both been able to grow in our respective careers and we support each other wholeheartedly. What I’ve found interesting is that when I share my commute with other, I often receive negative reactions (i.e. why put yourself through that? is the job really worth it? what does your husband think?). I have to consider whether my husband would receive the same commentary if he were the one with the “super commute.” I’d love to hear more perspectives of couples who are in similar situations, where one partner is super commuting in order to pursue a career while simultaneously supporting the career of his or her partner.

  4. 2 hours in the morning during rush hour. It’s pretty soul sucking. I work free lance though, so sometimes I have over a week off at a time. And I’ve gotten into audio books. It isn’t something I’d recommend, but I’m saving money and going traveling instead!

  5. Nicole says...

    I commute 45 – 1 hour each way, depending on traffic. I live just south of Boston and commute to a college 17 miles west of Boston. It can be challenging, but I enjoy my job. There are no train options for me, unless I take the T into the city and the commuter rail back out.

    I’d love to live within biking or walking distance, but the town I work in is too pricey for me to live in.

  6. Laura says...

    I commute either via San Francisco’s MUNI or by bike. By bike, I spend nearly two hours commuting every day, and by MUNI, I will usually spend at least two hours commuting every day. That’s what I get for living on the opposite side of the city of where I work. But I don’t think I’d have it any other way right now!

  7. El says...

    Uh, commuting can be such a soul destroyer. I’ve had all sorts of commutes, but my favourite was definitely walking 30 blocks up Fifth Ave in NYC from the New Jersey PATH train. I got so fit that year from the walking and I’d look up every single day at the towering buildings and wonder how I got so lucky. Currently do three days working from home and two days a week driving around the M25 (Londoners will sympathise)… but with my personal space and classical music playing, I’d much rather be in my car than on a packed train.

  8. lucy says...

    I live in Kyoto (fun to see someone from Osaka commenting above!) and I walk 7 mins to the school I work at (across rice fields and vege gardens). I don’t miss public transport at all but I do miss the reading time. In NZ and Australia I commuted around half an hour (half walk, half train/tram/bus) and unless I had a bad driver I could always read. Nothing to stop me doing it at home now of course though!

  9. Sarah says...

    I live in Switzerland but I cross the border into Germany every day for work. The handiest way is by bike and that takes me about 15-20 minutes. What’s weird is that even though I go through a border crossing every day, the customs officers don’t even look up from their newspapers. In case you’re still not moved, France is also a 10 minute bike ride away from home. :)

  10. I live in Nashville, TN. We don’t have much to offer in the way of public transportation besides a bus system that only covers a small section of our currently booming city. Although my commute is relatively easy (20 – 25 minutes either way), I would be more than willing to trade for a longer commute if I could get out of my car and onto a bus or a train. I love to knit and read, but obviously driving is too active to do anything productive on my way to and from the office. I do listen to podcasts and NPR, though. Those have been a game changer for my drives!

  11. I am lucky because I live in NYC and don’t have a commute. I am a blogger and work from my apartment so I don’t have to deal with train traffic (only in NYC would there be such a thing!) or dodging bad weather. When I did have a commute it was about 35 or 40 minutes, so pretty good for a big city like New York. http://www.tracysnewyorklife.com

  12. Amy says...

    I live in PA and work in WV, and my drive is about 50-55 minutes each way. I actually don’t mind it most of the time-it’s a beautiful and scenic drive through trees and scenic landscapes when you come to the top of a hill. i get to gear up for work and wind down to come home in a great mood. In the winter, however, my drive can take up to 3 hours (!!!) each way if the plows are behind, or the road is icy like it has been when we get a polar vortex.

    There really isn’t another way around it. There is no transportation like a train to take, and my husband goes to school 40 minutes the other way, so we just split the difference. Eventually we hope to move one direction or the other to make it easier on both of us!

  13. Molly says...

    I live in NH and work in MA. My commute is usually 45 mins to an hour. Headspace, spotify and overdrive are lifesavers!

  14. I’m a big believer in your commute really having a big impact on how you feel for the rest of the day.

    I live in London and my commute could be 45 minutes door-to-door, but that involves going on the subway and taking three different trains. Plus it’s BUSY. Instead, I walk 35 minutes to a rail station (for an overground train), wait a few minutes on the platform, take a 10 minute train and then walk the short distance to my office. I way prefer this method, but it also depends on me leaving 30 minutes earlier than I need to in order to get a specific train that is much less busy!

    I know it all sounds crazy, but I definitely credit my commute with helping me prepare at the beginning of the day and decompress after work, and even wrote about it on my blog too :) http://www.catherinesprunt.com/2014/07/how-to-have-better-commute.html

    • p.s. I’m jealous of the boat situation though! x

  15. I have a 1 hour commute (one way) and spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and also meditating. I started using the Headspace app and it really helps ready me for my day. I usually feel refreshed after it. As for my podcasts, some favorites are Lore, The Allusionist, 99% Invisible, The Beginning of the End, The Heart, Strangers, All Songs Considered, Ted Radio Hour and the list goes on :)

  16. Lisa says...

    I’m quite fortunate for a Londoner, as I “only” have around a 35 minute commute each way, mostly on the tube and with one change. I used to have better – either 20 minutes bus or 30 minutes walk (if the weather was good …). I have many colleagues who live outside London and spend at least an hour on the train + tube time. You do get some extreme people who commute from Paris to London. One colleague who did that for a couple of years actually had a shorter journey when it was snowing, than other colleagues who lived in London

  17. Kathryn Walshaw says...

    I live on a yacht on a mooring in Sydney, Australia. I have done for many years so my morning commute starts off with me climbing over the back of the boat into a small dinghy (at 4am as I start work at 0530am) and rowing for about 5 minutes to get ashore. I then shower at the marina and then climb 110 steps to the roadway and into my car!! I then have about a 20 – 30 minute drive to work – I regularly listen to podcasts (faves are Richard Fidler Conversations, a local favourite and Alec Baldwin Heres the thing). It may sound like a gigantic hassle rowing ashore each day (and believe me there have been mornings where my ‘commute’ has looked like a scene out of A Perfect Storm with crazy weather conditions) but most of the time it is peaceful and beautiful, in particular when there is a full moon out. On my return in the evening again its a very nice way to wind down from a long day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  18. Susannah says...

    I quit work to stay home with our baby earlier this year, but until then I drove two hours each way to work in DC rush hour traffic! I almost lost my mind toward the end. I was a million months pregnant and sitting in crazy traffic every day for hours and hours. I listened to forty audio books that year, and have the craziest stories from my years of commuting, plus I loved my job so I wouldn’t take it back, but I’m sure glad I don’t have to do it anymore!

  19. I live currently in New Jersey, and although it’s a “commuter town”, it can take me a solid 90 minutes to get to parts of Manhattan. Essentially, I have to first commute to my local train station, then travel to Penn via NJ Transit, then hop a subway to my destination. Those little buffers are what add the time — a ten-minute wait here, a 6-minute delay there.

    When things go sideways it’s 2 hours.

  20. I have always noticed that ones work commute plays such a vital role in their overall well being…. yet people rarely consider it a factored in their happiness! Maybe since its so normal to have crazy, hectic commutes now-a-days. I for one pray that when I find my career path, the commute is a breeze-I am going to try and make it a priority!

  21. Lucy says...

    I live in DC and I just started biking to work about a month ago. I feel a bit dramatic saying this, but it has changed my life! I take a beautiful route along the National Mall and my ride always takes between 15 and 20 minutes. Only a small portion of the route is on the road with traffic, and I ride by the Capitol, National Monument and the White House, which it so scenic. I used to take metro (still do on rainy days) and the unpredictability (sometimes 25 minutes, sometimes 45) was making me irritable most days. Now I feel invigorated – and quite European – when I arrive at work and when I get home. And I get a bit of a workout in!

    • Tasha says...

      Lucy, I am so glad to hear you say that biking changed your life. I recently noticed that taking the bus home from work really irritated me (on the way there I was cool because I was preparing for the day) so I started putting my bike on the bus and riding home. Life changer!! I get exercise, avoid traffic and and love knowing that when I decide to leave for the day, there’s nothing in my way! :-)

  22. Jess says...

    Love this post- because it really is such an integral part of everyone’s life. For better or worse. I live in Los Angeles so it’s an hour each way. Luckily I can take a canyon and not have to get on the freeway. I so wish we had better public transportation here though!

  23. I work part time at my towns local high school, a 5 minute walk from home with the added bonus of being able to come home for lunch. My 2 sons walk the same way so we have to stagger our leaving times so they arent ‘seen’ with me.
    On my other days i work from home as a freelance illustrator – pure luxury!

    • Bethany says...

      This sounds ideal! I would love to walk my kids to school. If you don’t mind me asking, where do you live?

  24. stefanie farquharson says...

    I dream of a “walk to work” commute. This past year I reduced my communte time from 1 hr 15 minutes to 40 minutes. Even though it’s still longer than I’d like I can see and feel the benefits and reduced stress.

  25. Kate Z. says...

    We just moved to a small town partly in search of a slower pace of life and an easier commute. I work from home so my commute is down the stairs. :) And my husband is a family doctor who drives 2 minutes each way. It is the BEST. And we are so happy with the change from a big city!

  26. Nicole says...

    I just went from a no-more-than 10-minute commute each way to a 2.5 hour commute each way. Luckily, I’m able to work remotely 3 days a week, now. Those commuting days are still rough, though. Especially with Amtrak delays.

    I thought about overnight stays during the week, but I’d rather go home each night. And I’ve made a rule to only commuting two non-consecutive days each week, which makes everything a little more tolerable.

  27. Heather says...

    My commute is about 4 miles, which takes less than 10 minutes. I drive my trusty SUV right up to my office door. Raleigh, NC here. I could not tolerate a rough and long commute, so my hat’s off to you city dwellers!

  28. Patricia says...

    For almost 2 years I have been commuting from my small town in Indiana to Indianapolis for work. It takes me around 1 hour 10 minutes each way on the highway. If it weren’t for my wonderful husband I’m not sure I would have made it this long. I listen to a never ending stream of audiobooks each day, but miss my public transit commute from my 11 years in Chicago. It was so much less stressful.
    My husband and I are trying to determine whether or not we want to move out west and if my commute will be less wherever we go. That his biggest qualification for where we live; that my commute is easy and shorter.

  29. I totally agree with the viewpoint that your commute has an effect on your day. Before I moved to NYC, the 30 minute drive to and from work was one of the days highlights. I would blast music or listen to audiobooks and just generally be relaxed. Now that I moved into the city (well Queens, with a job in Midtown Manhattan), that commute isn’t as calming. But I’ve managed to time my commute (and purchased really great headphones!) to the minute. If I leave my house at 7:45AM, I catch a practically empty R, where I can settle in and take a nap with my sunglasses on. Any later than 7:45AM, and I’m being shoved in a packed R train.

    COFFEESLAG What’s In My Bag

  30. Megan says...

    I have such an easy commute. I feel lucky to have a short, easy commute but at the same time it’s not all luck because I consciously chose my apartment with the knowledge that I have no tolerance for long commutes! I live about 1.5 miles from my work so I usually walk! It takes about 25 minutes. If the weather is bad I take a bus which gets me within half a mile of work, and that takes about 25 minutes too. It’s a breeze! At a previous job I had a commute that was an hour and 20 minutes, all on the train (Chicago CTA) and while I liked how much reading I was able to get done, I hated all the time I was wasting. And I could never, ever do a long driving commute. I would be miserable.

  31. prudence says...

    I used to commute 2 hours each way everyday! that’s 4 (road raging hours) everyday, I got home extremely exhausted everyday.. then I moved and got the near dream job which came with a smaller (45 min) commute and if I feel like I can take the scenic route and drive along the beach but I don’t do that because I want to actually get to work…

  32. It takes me 25 – 30 minutes (one way) to get to work. Its not that a bad a drive and is very straight forward and relaxing.
    I work 12.00-5.00pm every day so I miss the peak hour traffic plus I work in the opposite direction of the city which helps!
    In just over a week I will have to take public transport for 3 months so that will take around 1 hour (one way) but I figure it will mean that I can get some decent reading time in.
    I find the work environment overweighs the travel time (I LOVE my office) and most people drive 20 plus minutes to get to their jobs here in Australia.

  33. Barbara says...

    I’m not sure I believe that New Yorkers have the worst commutes, especially after last winter in the Boston area…

    I take the T to work at a Boston area university. On a good day, my time on the T is 45 minutes. I have an 8 minute drive to the T station and it’s 9 blocks from the T station to my office. So if everything’s running right, it takes about an hour to get to my office, but that rarely happens.

    And, I live on that branch of the red line that was shut down for 3 weeks last winter because of snow.

    • Katie says...

      I live in West Roxbury using commuter rail to get into South Station. I laughed when I read your comment about Boston transportation… it is honestly the worst system I’ve ever taken. And YES! This past winter– forget it. Our commuter rail doors FROZE SHUT once! Everyone in the 6 car double-decker train had to exit out of one door. Excited for it to all start again…

  34. Mine takes an hour door to door. I live in London, where this feels normal – I spend half an hour on the underground reading and half an hour walking. I didn’t even really think of it as a long journey until recently, when a friend from the north of England told me his commute also takes an hour, and I found myself commenting on how long it took, and feeling horrified that he had an hour long commute from one northern town to another. I guess these things feel less acceptable outside of a huge city!

    Charlotte xx
    Smudgeness

  35. My husband commutes an hour and a half one way. It’s a combination of bus and subway.. He replaces the subway with walking when he has time or biking when the weather is nice.. But either way his commute is one our greatest obstacles.

  36. Carrie says...

    My commute is about 30 minutes each way, almost entirely on the highway. My employer allowed me to shift my hours to 7AM-4PM so I could avoid some of the rush hour traffic and enable me to pick up my daughter from our child care provider more easily. It’s not a terrible commute, but some days I’m still pretty tired when leaving my house.

  37. Sara says...

    I have about a 40 minute commute, door to door. But I don’t really mind it since I’m on the train reading for most of that time. If I had to drive it would really stress me out!
    This is something that’s been on our minds a lot lately as my husband and I are looking to move and are considering somewhere further outside the city. We currently live in Jersey City and my husband’s commute is a short bike ride along the water with views of Manhattan — he definitely does not want to give that up, and I don’t blame him!

  38. Leah says...

    When I lived in New York my commute was 45 minutes, broken down into a 15 minute walk to the subway, 15 minute train ride, and 15 minute bus ride. It was impossible to read anything, but podcasts definitely helped.
    Now I live in Rome and my commute is a 15 minute walk down tree-lined streets and past ancient ruins. I never want to go back!

  39. Haley says...

    I currently live in Cambridge with my fiancé and am getting my MMus in London. Its about 60 miles away, so should really only take an hour. But traffic in the UK is *so* unpredictable, and incredibly heavy 90% of the time, I spend between 4 and 6 hours in the car every day, when all is said and done. (I could take the train and tube, but that takes about 3 hours each way minimum, if you get the fast train and there are no signal failures, etc). Its not ideal, but its only for a year, and has sort of just become a part of my life now. There are good days and bad days, and the best thing to do is just stay calm and not let the seemingly pointless traffic effect your mood!

  40. Lisa says...

    My current commute is a 10 min walk from home. Both my daughters school & kinder and my work is in the same block of where we live. It’s great work life balance that I wouldn’t want to change in a hurry. You feel great at the end of the day having walked back and forth between pick ups and drop offs.

  41. I work from home now, thank God, but my last office job was 3 hours away from home. So, that’s 6 hours of jeepney/bus rides every day. I sure am glad I don’t need to wake up extra early just to make sure I won’t arrive late at work.

  42. tunie says...

    At present I enjoy the bliss of working from home with a 2 hour commute (4 hr total) a few times a month. Which sounds crazy but I’m finally in a rural area after a life of urban grind and the drive is world class gorgeous so needless to say, it’s awesome. And I’ll often stay overnight at a friend’s house. While driving I’ll Iisten to a lineup of my favorite podcasts or an audiobook and I’m in heaven.

  43. I live in the UK and my commute is 2 hours each way, which I do by train. It’s a bummer, but on the plus, I’m getting through loads of books!

    Sarah

  44. Eight months ago I gave up a job and commute I hated. I was travelling for more than five hours a day. I had to take a hefty pay cut, but now I walk 30mins to work past a park and leafy streets and couldn’t be happier. It was worth the salary drop to be less stressed and spend more time outdoors. Although sometimes when it’s pouring with rain I’m not quite as enthusiastic!

  45. I walk 35 minutes each way (or have an option of a door to door bus that takes about the same time in traffic, so I never take it). It’s a super short commute in London. Most people I know have about an hour each way.

  46. Janine says...

    here is Sydney I had to allow 4 hours a day…….arrgghhh…thank god not anymore!!!!

  47. Debbie says...

    I live in Durban, South Africa, and my commute via car takes 8 minutes. And about 20 on the way home. I do feel very fortunate to be able to drive to work in such a short time! In Johannesburg I have friends who live 15km’s away from work and the commute via car takes 1.5hours. (Walking isn’t really an option!).

  48. Mila says...

    I used to go to grad school full-time with research and clinical work upstate and commuted from the Bronx, by subway to Metro North, then either a bus or ferry across the river to Ulster County, bus again (different one), then walking for a bit. On a good day it was 3-3.5hrs. Going back was over 4.

    This is what you get for being from and growing up in the city and being in your mid-twenties without ever learning how to drive or knowing anyone with a car. I did it for my career which I love and yeah, the commutes made me so, so agitated and angry and exhausted, but it was worth it.

  49. Grace says...

    I’m currently a stay-at-home-mum and will be for a few more years, but at my last job, I communicated 60-80 minutes EACH WAY by car. Needless to say, morning sickness + 2hrs travelling per day was torturous. We live in Auckland, New Zealand where the public transport system is average and it was just unfortunate that my workplace was on a busy main road and there was no other way of getting there!

  50. MMK says...

    I live in a small city and used to commute by bike fairly regularly until we moved to a house on the side of a mountain. My husband still bikes in sometimes but I’m not up to the climb. My commute is only 15 min by car but I seriously miss bike commuting bs am looking for a way to manage the hill with two little kids. Maybe an electric bike??
    My grandpa used to bike from the suburbs to his government shift work job as a meteorologist in the 60’s. It wasn’t unusual to see him biking across the bridge out of Vancouver in a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase at 4am!

  51. thankfully I don’t have much of a commute – it’s only 10 minutes if I drive but 30 minutes if I ride my bike. Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts but if I drive long distances I will listen to an audio book or music.

  52. Martha says...

    My commute is anywhere from 30-45 minutes each way. However, in the L.A. area that’s actually considered a short commute! On most days, I choose to drive down the coast to get to work, less traffic than on the freeway and more relaxing!

  53. I’ve done the suburbia to inner city London commute about 1 1/2 hours each way, car, train then tube. I then emigrated to New Zealand and I now commute 10 mins in the car. I know which I prefer!

  54. Melinda says...

    For 12 years I lived in Oakland and worked in San Francisco. My commute was typically an hour each way, but sometimes much longer depending on traffic. I hated the feeling of being trapped on a bridge waiting for traffic to crawl forward at a snails pace. I developed a lot of back pain, and think it was made worse by the stress of driving and worrying about being late.

    10 years ago I moved to LA determined to live close to my workplace. I have a 20-25 minute drive now. No freeways or bridges required! It’s one of the best things I ever did. The biggest trade off is being forced to rent, since I cannot afford to buy a home here.

  55. Kukla says...

    This could not have come at a better time especially because my love and I were just complaining about this over pizza today. We commute about an hour and to an hour and a half each way to work and it kills us. Slowly. Seriously though, where are those self driving vehicles?

  56. Brooke says...

    I live in Osaka, but I work in a rural part of Kyoto, so my commute is almost an hour and a half each way by train. The ride is one of the highlights of my day. I have plenty of time to read / listen to podcasts / study Japanese / catch up on sleep, the scenery is gorgeous – green rice fields and tall bamboo – and, because the ride is so long and I’m not doing the driving, it’s easy to wind down and get into work mode on the way. Honestly, I chose to work in such a far away place partly because of the commute. It’s so nice to get out of the city and have that time to myself. It’s become an essential part of my routine and I’d be loathe to give it up, even for a more convenient commute!

  57. Emily says...

    I commute 45 minutes to an hour twiced a day to and from my college campus. My parents have always commuted for their work too, it’s pretty standard in the Bay area.

  58. Janet says...

    Have done longer commutes in the past . Since having kids time is everything. Right now my whole life daycare, work, shopping, leisure (we are lucky to live very close to the beach) all happens within 2km from my house and I love that. It’s great to be immersed in your local community.

  59. I work in the city, between Herald Square and Flatiron, and commute from the edge of Queens! My commute can take anywhere from 1.5 hours to 2 hours, one way, and involves a trek down or uphill, a bus, and at least two trains.

  60. Rebecca says...

    We live in Perth, Western Australia and my husband works in the Democratic Republic of Congo which entails an 11 hour flight followed by a 3 hour flight. Unfortunately this means he is on a roster of 6 weeks away followed by 3 weeks at home. He is currently looking for a job closer to home!

    • Great to see another Perthite reading Cup Of Jo! :)

  61. Julie D. says...

    My commute from Windsor Terrace to Long Island City takes me 1hour! But I really like it, it’s my “me” time where I get my reading done, watch people, listen to entire albums or let my mind float…

  62. Elyse says...

    It’s quite interesting reading this since I am literally going through this right now. I just moved to the area for a new job (job I hate, area I like) and commute 25 mins door to door. I want to move closer to the city which will make my commute 1-1.5 hour (with traffic I expect). I am in my late 20s and want to be closer to the action with the option to meet new people; unlike the sleepy suburbs I stay in currently (and possibly find a job I love). Decisions, decisions…

  63. colleen says...

    It takes me the average 25 minutes. I go from the suburbs to the city (with free parking!) I do know a man who lived 6 hours from Chicago and did the Sunday night/Friday night drives. He had a condo down there. Once he finally moved to be with his family after 15 years, his wife asked for a divorce :(

  64. From the door of my apartment to the door of my hospital signout room, it takes me 5 minutes or less to get to work. As someone who works 80-90 hours a week, often with 14 + hour shifts, this is very, VERY important to me.

  65. Amy G says...

    I am a pastor, and my appointment is a part-time, 20 hour a week gig at a church about 45 minutes away. I only drive there 2-3 times a week, and work from home the rest of the hours, so it’s not too bad. Plus, my most important work day is Sunday (obviously :) and there’s very little traffic early on Sunday mornings! I have come to enjoy the drive. I listen to pod-casts, music, or just have time alone with my thoughts. Now that gas prices are low, I enjoy it even more!

  66. Alice says...

    I work from home home now, but do the kindergarten commute by bike before I start work. I think a small commute is a good way to start the day. Especially if it involves walking, cycling, or podcasts. Sitting – less so.

    I previously had a job where I travelled weekly, nationwide in a big foreign country, with a total of 20 hours of travel per week, but crammed over three days. The pay was great, as was seeing the country, but time becomes more precious to me as years tick by.

    I’d LOVE to commute by boat!

  67. Bailey says...

    I just moved to Chicago and work in a northern suburb. I live right by Wrigley Field (which I love) but parking is a nightmare to find. So I’ve actually figured out how to pay for monthly parking at the end of one of the train lines instead of near home. I now take two El trains to my car, and then drive my car the remaining 15 minutes to work everyday and vice versa. It’s an hour 15 minutes total on a good day, but I much prefer it to driving in my car the entire way. I only live 14 miles from the office but even driving it takes 1 hour plus wear and tear on my car. Plus, when I take the train, I can read, catch up on emails or listen to podcasts during my commute. :)

  68. Angela says...

    I’m a stay at home mom now, but when I worked (in Fort Worth, TX) my commute to work was 30 and my commute home was 40.

    One of the things I did to minimize my commute time was get permission from my boss to arrive at work earlier and leave earlier. It helped to go to and from work at the very beginning of rush hour, rather than smack in the middle. It shaved about 10 minutes off my time each way. 😊

    Now that I stay at home, my commute is the main thing I do not miss!

  69. Oh, this post hits home for me right now. I recently left a great job [in part] because of the daily 1.5 hour long commute EACH WAY. The weird thing is, I know many people who have lived in the suburbs and commuted to the med center for 20 years and never minded it. To me, it’s maddening.

    It was simply too much. I had no time to do anything but wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. Eventually after 2.5 years I decided it’s no way to live. I was always cranky with no down-time.

    My new commute is 11 minutes, door-to-door. It’s fabulous. I feel like I’m on vacation!

    Love these relatable posts.

  70. Long term reader, weighing in here… If you are interested in seeing what my commute is like on a tiny island in Washington State… Check out the short film, my friends and I just made. Conveniently titled, The Commute!

    It’s a movie about love, goats, and Volvos. Oh, and totally a social commentary on gentrification, small community dynamics, and Tolstoy’s place in the Western Canon.

    And then, if you feel so inclined. You can vote for it. If we win, it will be shown at the Seattle International Film Festival.

    See it here: http://www.orcasfilmfest.com/the-commute/

    • Madame Dupin says...

      Emmy, I just watched it and I loved it! I’ve voted – hope you win!

  71. melissa says...

    For 10 years I had a longish commute 45 to 60 minutes each way. And I live in Maine so summer traffic and winter weather were significant variables. Fortunately, about 6 months ago, I started working in my town. Over the summer, I even rode my bike to work a couple of times a week (7 mile trip). This has been a wonderful change but I do miss my audiobooks!

  72. nmn says...

    My husband and I ride the bus to work in the Chicago Loop each morning. It is one of the best parts of my day. It takes about 30 minutes to go 2.5 miles. Sometimes I wish it were longer.

  73. Renee says...

    I live in San Jose and commute to San Francisco four days a week via the Caltrain. It’s a 1.5 – 2 hours each way, sometimes even longer since there are delays every time a car tries to beat the train at a crossing gate (I was once stuck on the train for four hours).

    I have a one year old daughter at home, so the commute is definitely hard – I feel like I’m missing out on time with her. Luckily I work for a company that’s very flexible and gives me Fridays off in exchange for working from home on Saturdays. I definitely try to make the best of my time on the train by reading, sleeping or listening to podcasts, but it’s tough! If I didn’t love my job so much it wouldn’t be worth it!

  74. Luckily, I no longer have a commute! I get to work from home, which definitely has its own issues, but I when I did commute it was over an hour each way. I would listen to NPR on my way to and from, and feel like I was more aware of the world around me before I ever opened my laptop–I loved it.

  75. Adrienne says...

    I live 60 km south of Toronto, and have been commuting by car to North York (northern area of Toronto) for a year now on the toll highway – which costs a pretty penny but there are so many fewer cars (and massive transport trucks) that it’s SO worth it. I leave late and come home late (work hours 10:30am – 7:30pm) to ease the traffic issues further. I am happy to say I have ONE day of this crazy commute left! Then I will be commuting only 15 mins in the opposite direction into Hamilton. The only thing I will miss is having the hour-or-so to listen to CBC Radio One…. But to avoid driving 1 hr 15mins each way in the Canadian winter? Totally worth it!!!

    • Katrina says...

      I live in downtown Toronto and commute by subway from downtown to YorkU. It’s 1.5 hrs. My parter goes into Mississauga and it is 40 minutes. I just thought your post was funny because all his coworkers talk about the luxury and treat of the 407. Congrats on the move… Commuting is the WORST.

    • A says...

      Ugh. I commute from Toronto to Kitchener-Waterloo a few days each week. I love my work but my commute is the worst. On a good day it’s okay, but on a day one way can take 2.5 hours!

  76. Rach says...

    my commute sucks. I leave home at 6:30, drop kids off at childcare at 7 and get to work at 8 ish. So 1.5hrs in the morning.
    Nighttime takes longer, sometimes up to 2hrs depending on traffic

  77. Grace says...

    In SoCal, my commute is a godsend. 12 minutes one way by car. My dad worked as an air traffic controller at LAX, about an hour’s commute from my hometown. He worked night shifts so the traffic was never bad at night, but on his way home in the morning it typically took him 2-3 hours to get home. So much gratitude towards him.

  78. M says...

    I live in SF and work on the coast. It takes me about 45 minutes to get to work and a little longer to get home. It is the absolute worst part of my day and puts me in such a bad. Who wants that kind of negative attitude that early in the morning? Ugh. I will say, podcasts do help but at a certain point I just want to be home, you know?

    After reading all of these comments, it seems that the people that use public transportation as opposed to driving themselves are much more at peace with their commute. I believe it because all I think about when I’m sitting in traffic is all the time I’m wasting. If I were able to be more productive I probably wouldn’t be such a grump about it.

  79. Reina says...

    for 7 glorious years I had a 30 minute (max) commute. Then went to a new job with a 1.5-2 hour commute EACH WAY – in LA area.

    I did that for just under 3 months. All the while looking for another job. Which thankfully I landed and will be a 15 min/4.5 mile commute.

    I’m just not a commuter – maybe if mass transit was better in LA/OC area. Quality of life > $$ I say

  80. Laura says...

    I commute Monday thru Friday to a near-by town. On most days it takes around 35-40 minutes. On days like today, it took around an hour to get home because of a wreck on the interstate. I know it’s a longer commute than most of the people I know, but we were able to purchase my grandparents home for less than half the amount of a similar home in another town, and we live in a neighborhood with multiple family members close by, so it’s worth it to use to really love where we live.

  81. megan says...

    my commute is the most annoying thing about my job. 48 minutes on a good day, 1 hour or more during construction or rush hour…. drives me nuts. Driving in metro Detroit is the worst (people are the worst!) and because it’s Motor City there really isn’t a viable public transportation alternative. I would LOVE to just veg on a bus and read my book. I’ve been getting more zen about my drive this fall. I’m trying to leave a little earlier, fill up my water bottle, and have a bunch of great podcasts downloaded.

  82. Anna says...

    I was until recently one of those crazy commuters who traveled to a different country for work (London to Brussels). Thankfully that has stopped after 4 years of being on best buddy terms with the Eurostar staff! Now I try to walk if the weather is ok, bus/tube if not- actually works out the same but the walk starts the day off way better!

  83. Nina says...

    mine is about 45 minutes each way if traffic is good. if I tried to take public transit (which I did for 2.5 years before this new job) it takes me 2 hours (those jobs were shorter time-wise) my new job/supervisor is flexible and lets me work 4 10s and start at 730am and finish at 6pm so I, most of the time, avoid terrible traffic problems. of course, I’m not looking forward to winter and hope that snow is not bad this year…sigh…I would like to move closer but the rent would be 200+ what I pay now a month and I can’t afford that.

    • If you pay $100+ for public transit, it may be worth it to move closer. Use that money to contribute towards the higher rent

  84. I’m surprised at New Yorkers having the longest commute. I live in LA and, famously, the traffic in this region is unlike anywhere else (in the United States at least…). I live downtown and work in a suburb 15 miles away near Compton, and- much to the shock of pretty much anyone I meet here, since it’s such a driving culture- take the bus. It takes about 45 mins, but that includes walking from my house to the bus stop, getting a transfer, and walking from bus stop to work. I usually read or nap on the bus and it’s actually a pretty relaxing way to start and end the workday.

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/SuperMignonne

  85. Aga says...

    I currently live in Toronto and my commute is 15-20minutes by bike. Most parts of the city are no more than a 30-40min bike ride away, and because Toronto is world renowned for its abysmal traffic and public transit, biking is the fastest and least-stressful mode of transport, at least for 9 months of the year. Although, i have been seen biking in the snow in a skirt. (Our subway is THAT bad).

    I can’t imagine sitting in traffic for an hour everyday twice a day to travel 35km (23miles). It seems like such a waste of time.

    • Nicky says...

      It is that bad, true. Being late for work on Mondays was becoming so predictable and the delays and crowded platforms in the winter are so bad, I started biking 30 min to work year-round. (I’ve also made in home in 15-20 min depending on traffic and how fast I want to go. I grew to love commuting by bike. Loved all the money I was saving too. I’m also a runner and do some runcommuting too. I wear all those rainy day rides as a badge of honour and despite some hassles with drivers, I found biking to work still put me in a better mood than sitting on the subway did. I don’t even look at jobs in the burbs or ones requiring me to commute more than 40 min by bike. I’m just not interested.

  86. Michelle says...

    I live and work in San Francisco, therefor I am a MUNI rider. Its about 3.3miles with a 40ish minute commute. Its usually jam packed but it beats paying $20min to park and no way I am riding a bike up and down those hills just to ride down crazy Market St. It does give me some time to I listening to some music and reading The Skimm, but occasionally I will listen to a podcast with Snap Judgement and Invisibilia being my favorites right now. My husband has a daily meditation that he listens to on the bus and loves it.

  87. I used to drive all over the Denver metro area for work. I saw my clients in their homes or schools for 1-2 hours at a time. It was maddening most of the time. Different every day, always a new traffic snarl to navigate, but occasionally gratifying when you timed everything *just right.* Since having my son, I work from home (maddening for other reasons) and occasionally have a drama-free 30 minute drive.

    A kiddo I was with the other day said his dad worked at the bus stop!

  88. kate says...

    Gave up the DC Metro after fires, near constant delays, and never ending maintenance that never really seemed to fix any problems. Started taking the Marc from a close in suburb and haven’t looked back. There is a small inconvenience factor, but it beats fearing for my life on metro.

    • Mara says...

      Me too! I fear for my life on DC Metro, after derailments, fires, and too many deaths. You know that something got to chance when you feel compelled to take a CPR/first-aid class in order to rescue fellow passengers. My commute is about 50 minutes on the doomed Red Line Metro (when everything is running well – ha), or 1 hr 15 minutes on the wonderful Marc train from Rockville — where I get a seat to myself and air conditioning and it doesn’t feel like a sardine can. Even though I still have to deal with the Metro for a few stops once I get to Union Station, my anxiety levels are blissfully low when I take the Marc.

  89. My commute is indeed about 25 minutes. I have options: I can bike the 4.5 miles along a wonderful path that’s very separated from cars. I can take just one city bus for $2 one way, or I could drive and it takes 15 minutes. I prefer biking and taking the bus because of the environmental benefits! I absolutely agree that commutes contribute to one’s happiness (or unhappiness).

  90. My commute is 4 minutes! I work two blocks from my apartment. I didn’t actually know where my office was located when I was interviewing until I googled the address — that’s when I *really* knew I had to get this job. My non-commute has really changed my life! I go home to make my lunch every day (which I then bring back to the office to eat, so I’m only gone about 20 minutes), and adopted a dog about a month ago that I also walk during lunch… no dog-walker for me! It’s amazing to be able to be at the gym, or the grocery store, or meet a friend in my neighborhood within 5-10 minutes of leaving work.

  91. My commute is about a 15-20 minute walk. Actually I’ve never really had a commute longer than that although some were this length of time driving. And I never plan on having a longer commute than this. My time is just too valuable.

  92. Kat says...

    When I was a teenager in 1992 my mom took a job that was 2 hours away. During the week she lived in that city, and on weekends she took the train back to where we lived with my dad (they remained married this whole time, BTW). She just retired last year. So she spent 23 years doing that routine of taking the train once a week to her job and living in another city while the 3 kids lived with my dad during the week. Not a great situation.

  93. I currently commute about 15 minutes to work and maybe 20 on the way home (depending on traffic). A few minutes could be shaved off my commute if my apartment complex wasn’t located on such an awkward side street or if my work place was located nearer to the interstate and less in the heart of town. However, I am happy to be working in the same town in which I live.

    I used to commute about 20-25 miles (or two major towns over). It easily took 30 minutes in the morning given no major delays or accidents and about 45mins-1hr to get home. The traffic was especially bad on Friday afternoons and that was pretty soul sucking.

    Now that I work in town I love being able to leave later in the morning, how it’s easier to pop home in the middle of the day (or go run errands), and definitely NOT spending time stuck in stand still traffic at the end of the day! I’ll never take for granted living and working in the same city!

  94. MD Everly says...

    The birth of my son changed everything, how about you? Personally, I find the unpredictability of traffic to be the most stressful aspect of a long commute. Will I make it to daycare or a meeting on time?
    An 1:10 minute commute pre kid, which was mostly pleasure reading time would have been unthinkable with an infant or the alternative of very long days at daycare. Over 3 years my partner and I made choices to opt out of SoCal commutes, eventually moving (home) to Portland, OR. He really did turn into the Hulk in traffic, which never ended and the transformation for him post long commute has been dramatic. He rides the bus, which is a middle class thing here, 20 minutes to downtown after biking our son to preschool and I drive, bus or run the 3 miles to my employer depending on the day. After the change we both noticed we don’t ‘need’ a drink first thing when we get in the door just to cope with the past 45 minutes–which helps us be more present for our now four year old son.

  95. a few steps to my desk.. never too far for photography, its sort of a rule. unless its an epic adventure like my last gig in peru.

  96. Amy says...

    i live in brooklyn and commute to washington heights in upper manhattan for work. it takes about 1 hour. i read a lot and sometimes listen to music or podcast. i don’t mind the commute but when i have 7am or 8am meetings, it really stresses me out.
    i like to ride the subway w coffee and my kindle, overall i really enjoy the commute but would ideal shave off 20 minutes if i could.

  97. Véronique says...

    My husband met a guy on the plane who lived in Frankfurt and commuted every week to buenos aires (it’s a night flight, he flew first class).
    Very interesting post. A bit short maybe but the link to further reads are great!
    I really appreciate content posts (as opposed to “sales” posts… I know, those are the ones financing the others…)

  98. 2-2.5 hours each way, but I work part time so I do not do it every day. Still it adds up – it’s all unpaid but work devoted time.
    But I really love living in a small seaside town – the rest of my days are like the dreamiest holiday.