So, I have a question for you – how long is your daily commute? Do you travel to work by car, bike, train or bus and generally speaking is a pleasant journey?

My brother in-law is visiting us for a week. He lives in Pretoria and truly is one of those busy Gauteng’ers who never seem to sit still. Last night, over dinner, we chatted about this and that and the topic of commuting came up. His journey / commute however is quite different. He tells me that he will spend an average of 3 hours EVERY DAY commuting on that dreaded highway between Pretoria and Joburg to get to work and the stress is enough to drive anyone nuts.  He has been doing this for nearly 4 years now, so in some ways it’s become as normal as brushing his teeth.


When I speak to my London mates, making a 45 minute tube journey to work in the morning (squeezed, in like sardines) is pretty standard and acceptable. They even find ways of reading while they do it!

Now, by Cape Town standards my commute is almost worthy (to most locals) of packing “padkos” – a whole 25kms from Muizenberg to Roeland Street. I’ll admit that some days it’s trying, especially on rainy days when people seem to forget how to drive, but for the most part I really enjoy the the scenery along the M3 and some lovely tunes as the soundtrack before the madness of my day begins. It raises an interesting point I thought. What is an acceptable commute in this day and age?

Perhaps its conditioning or sorts. We find ways to adapt and make the best of it, but at what price? When do we stop to ask what this daily schlepp is really costing us. Is it worth the paycheck at the end of the month?

Here are some interesting reads I found highlighting the negative effects of commuting.

  1. Commuting makes you unhappy – c/o The Economist http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2011/06/perils-commuting
  2. Your Long Commute May Be Hurting Your Marriage http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/08/your-long-commute-may-be-hurting-your-marriage/6483/
  3. 5 ways to stop your commute from killing you  http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41175749/ns/health-heart_health/t/ways-keep-your-commute-killing-you/#.UkKUPpKR9sk

So how long is your commute?