I'm currently living at least a half-hour drive away from my workplace in downtown Calgary; on a good day, not during rush-hour. Driving to work actually takes me about 45 minutes each way, and can cost anywhere from $8.00 to $15.00 a day, not including the cost of gas and maintenance of my vehicle. This might not seem so bad to some people, but for me it's pretty much unworkable. So I take the train, which includes about 30 minutes actually on the train, 5 minutes of driving to the station and another 5 to walk the final leg to work. No matter how you slice it, I'm out well over an hour of my time each day. If you choose to look at it that way, which I don't.
I'm of the belief that an experience is what you make of it. Myself, I actually enjoy the time I spend commuting, which sounds rather sick and twisted. Here's how I cope:
- Walk as much as you can. If you can avoid driving to the train station, do so. You'll save on gas, and you'll feel far more energized when you get to work. If you sit at a desk all day, it may be the only exercise you get. After a while, you'll start to actually enjoy it.
- Read stuff. Rather than just sitting like a lump on the train, distract yourself from the odours of your fellow passengers by enhancing your knowledge. Or just read a good novel. It makes the time pass quickly, and is often the only time I have to really concentrate on a book.
- Get a music player. I use an iPod, because they fit nicely in my pocket, and I can carry every song I own on it. This makes my walking experience much nicer, and helps to filter out passenger noise on the train.
- Get into podcasts. There are some really good tech-related podcasts on iTunes as well as other sites. There's also a bunch of crap, but they're all free right now, so it's painless to try a few out. My recommendations... This Week in Tech, Diggnation and Digital Life. I alternate between listening to podcasts and reading books to mix things up a bit.
There you have it. I'm not sure how valuable any of this is, but I figured it would be good to put it out there.