Walk the World

This blog is not generally a forum for discussion, but today I feel like discussing just a little bit.

Lately, since I've been so busy and stressed, I've also been semi-addicted to Zen Habits. There are some things they say don't really work for my life right now, but there are a lot of really good insights about how to make life more simple and less stressful.

This section really stuck with me:

"Yes, it sometimes take longer to get places — maybe 20 minutes instead of 10-15, or 45 minutes instead of 25-30. But that’s OK, because cars (while faster) are also more stressful. Driving in traffic is stressful. So we go places slower, which is less stressful, more fun. I like a slower life."

I like a slower life, too.
I love the idea of living in a place where I can walk almost anywhere I need to go.
I love walking, and I really believe that you see the world differently by foot than you do by car.
Sometimes I don't even see the world if I'm driving. I zone out, which is not only dangerous, but takes the fun out of getting wherever I'm going.

Over the past year or so, I've really come to appreciate public transportation.
It's so convenient.
It's relatively inexpensive.
And it's great for people-watching.

What do you think about all this?

*Some of you know that I don't really like driving, but know that it's the stressful 15 minute drives that I'm not a huge fan of. I'm always up for a good road trip. But, who knows, maybe I can take a cross-country train trip. Or a cross-country bike trip like these friends of mine.


Elizabeth @rosalilium said...

I don't drive at all (I have no licence) so I walk or take public transport. It is much healthier and enjoyable.

Matt Chandler said...

My thoughts -
First you say that you love the _idea_ of living in a place where you can walk everywhere - are you talking about in the future? Because it seems to me that you already live in one now... (just confused why you said you love the idea of it instead of just that you love it).

Second - public transportation can be really nice, like when I took the express bus to Salt Lake every morning for the month of May. But it can also be really really really annoying. Like 1) if you live more than a mile from the nearest non-gas station grocery store and would have to transfer routes and wait forever for buses that come inconsistently to get there (making grocery stopping both really expensive and really annoying) 2) if you don't live near friends and want a social life, and 3) when it takes you a hour to go 6 miles to work every single day (bus to metro to bus, having to wait for each one). That means you go 12 miles each day and waste 2 hours doing so. Just my experience from DC.

So basically the metro isn't bad if it goes where you're going, but if you live off the metro routes and the bus route doesn't work exactly, things get really annoying really fast.

Laura C said...

Matt-Yeah, I walk a lot of places, but I don't really feel like where I live now is conducive to walking everywhere. I rarely walk to the grocery store, because I don't feel like I have time (which also goes along with have a slower life). So when I say i love the idea of walking everywhere, I mean living around the corner from a little grocery store, or living in a downtown area where most of what I need is within a few blocks. Although I do feel like I've gotten to know Provo differently because I've walked a lot of places that most people drive.

As far as public transportation goes, there are obviously negative aspects of it and cities where it isn't as convenient. And I can't really speak from personal experience, because I've never lived for an extended period of time in a city like that. I also wonder how long it would take to drive those 6 miles into D.C. each day, because I bet the traffic is pretty bad. (That is a complete assumption, you would know much better than I do how long it takes). And I think "waste" is a relative term when it comes to time.

Anyway, I could go on and on because I'm curious and interested in this stuff, but we can chat later. There are obviously good and bad things about using public transportation/walking/biking, and it would take some adaptation and getting used to.

I guess I just like to remember that there are often more pleasant alternatives to driving.

ps: thanks for commenting; I knew you'd have an interesting perspective about this :).

njcrofts said...

I'm so with you. I prefer walking over anything else, and definitely public transport over cars. I feel like it's refreshing and cathartic. Driving is just stuffy and stressful. Ick.