Photo: Aaron Hawkins via Flickr
No matter if you buckle up and drive, grin-and-bear-it on public transport or hop on your bike to battle traffic on two wheels — the commute is a necessary evil for nearly professional.
It’s estimated we spend 8% of our workdays in the process of getting to and from work, depending, of course, on how far you have to trek. That’s a considerable amount of time over decades of working — but plenty of us forget what an impact it can have on our performance and psyche.
As the way we begin and end our day-to-day, our commutes have the ability to set our tone, perspective, and mindset. So when it’s over-the-top stressful and exhausting? It can take the air out of your tires, majorly.
That’s why some people have dramatically transformed their commutes, all in an effort to make it more enjoyable, less-congested and well, not as temper-inducing. Shouting profanities before 9 a.m. likely won’t reap you the best perspective when you hop on your first client call of the day, after all.
From paddleboarding to paragliding and more, let these true stories of wacky commutes propel you to reconsider on you’ll get to work tomorrow:
Overloaded highways, hot, sticky traffic jams in high heat and plenty of pollution in Miami inspired Parker Lake to shake things up. Or rather, splash things up: He quit his job, sold his car, found a home on the Little River, and decided to make his paddleboard his new mode of transportation. Today, he works two jobs (including a tour guide at Paddle Miami Watersports) and has lost 45 pounds.
Sometimes he has to paddle three miles, and other days, it’s 12 miles to his gig as a security guard at Eden Roc Hotel. It doesn’t matter to him though since he says the switch has made him happier, healthier and well, braver: considering he once spotted a hammerhead shark on his way to clock in.
While on vacation in Alicante, Spain, Paul Cox discovered a newfound love for paragliding that would become more than just a thrill, but a solution. As a Royal Navy overseer, he was accustomed to brave feats, prompting him to create an extreme sports commute by flying his way to work.
Whenever the weather allows, he makes the 10-mile journey from his back garden in North Wales to Holyhead Boatyard, helping him to soar into his workday with a clear head — and far less stress.
Several years ago, Gabriel Horchler had an epiphany: Most of his commute in Washington D.C., to his gig as the head of cataloging at the Library of Congress, ran along the Anacostia River. So, in theory, he could spend time stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or he could row — a pastime he’d always enjoyed.
Once he gave this 90-minute commute a go, he was hooked and continues to row his way to the office, well into his 70s. To begin, he bikes to a park, hops on his rowing shell, docks it at a nearby community marina and then takes his second bike to the office.
If you’ve ever spent time in New York City, you know how crazy and unpredictable the metro system can be — no matter the time of year. Now consider this: when it’s rush hour, it can be double the chaos and delays. To avoid the stench and the stress of the MTA, Benjamin Kieffer channeled his inner performer to get to his gig in midtown Manhattan.
Inspired by circus school classes he signed up for, he wondered, ‘why not unicycle to work’? While his commute used to be something he dreads, these days, it’s one of his favorite parts of the morning.
What if flying from another city could actually be cheaper than getting to work from the outer boroughs of your current metropolitan? For social media manager Sam Cookney, this was just the case, prompting him to reconsider his location. After calculating the numbers, he realized living, working and commuting in London was more expensive than taking a daily early morning flight from Barcelona. By how much? Nearly $900.
So he moved to the heart of this Spanish city, where he catches a flight that gets him to his desk in London by 9:30 a.m. Though it takes 5-and-a-half hours each way, he usually uses the time to nap, and is able to work from home one day a week. In addition to saving on monthly expenses, he’s definitely racking up those travel points, too.