When I first moved to Aberdeen in August 2007 this blog was essentially still in its infancy, as was my attitudes to a job of work in general. The memories I have of moving to Aberdeen at first are quite vivid; that of a long trek to the office everyday and, later, a dusty old flat not too far from where my new shiny one resides. The truth is that this memorable period lasted barely 3 and a half months, from my arrival in late August, to my eventual movement into a real flat in the West End of the city. The one thing that did stick with me from this short, formative time, was the commuting that I had started.
When I first moved to Aberdeen I had no car, and my office was not on a direct bus link to where I was staying. I decided that, it being only two miles, that walking it was a good idea. The problem with this was that I had just came from the most un healthy period in my life – living alone in the West End with Hyder. Not that this was a bad thing, but it was a significant reason for my sweaty arrivals to the office in those first few weeks. After I obtained the car, I rarely walked to work. I walked for a few weeks in 2009 after I had killed my car whilst hill walking over by Kingussie, and that was actually more a walk to the bus stop.
When I eventually started working in the City Centre my car was left dereilict, as walking was the only way to get to work – parking was not subsidised or catered for, and rightly so, when it was 5 minutes from the train and bus station and the transport hub of the entire North East of Scotland. I enjoyed the walks to work, as they were short and relatively problem free.
In Houston, however, I had no such choice – my office was a 25 minute car ride away, against the flow of traffic. There were no buses provided, no trains to speak of, and car pooling was a potential but operational hindrance when it came to wanting to do over time – obviously, that's just the Way Houston Is ™ and I drove literally everywhere anyway, so it didn't feel too out of the ordinary.
Returning to Aberdeen, like the conquering hero I am, I found my self back into a job that I didn't quite leave – my company had merged with another Scottish engineering firm in my absence, and as such I am not working in what, when I left, was our direct competitors office. The position of this office is slightly different to that of my original location, being in Dyce – outside the city, near to the Airport. This means that, instead of a short walk to work, I am now a short walk to the trains station and then a short train ride, before another short walk to the office.
The Return of the Commute gives me solace in being wehere I grew up – going to University each day was a short wait on a bus, a 40 minute ride into town, and around a 15 minute walk to class. It felt fine, as I listened to full albums on the way into and back from university, and since starting this routine last week I have listened to almost all of my new music and some new podcasts, which has made the journey worthwhile.
The other added benefits of this is that
- I am now walking 4 miles a day, five times a week, for a daily calorie burn of 470
- I can people watch to a greater degree than before
- I am forced to take a healthy packed lunch every day, due to lack of ability to go anywhere to buy food
- I wake up when walking to work, ready for the day ahead
- Walking home clears my head from the days stress
- I can pick up shopping / meet Connie for a pint / bump into friends on the way
After missing a commute like that for a few years (and entirely for the last year) it feels like a breath of fresh air.