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Transportation matters

Since moving to San Diego in 2008 I’ve taken a lot of public transportation. In fact, part of choosing where we live was proximity to public transportation.

I can catch the bus about a quarter mile from our house and the trolley is about 1.2 miles away. With a bike that means I’m 5 to 15 minutes away from one of those options all the time. Speaking of my bike– I tend to ride my bike anywhere I can within about 3 miles.

Here’s what I know

I interact with people I would never, ever encounter if I drove my car everywhere. Normal folks like me headed to/from work. Tourists perpetually lost. Homeless folks. Mentally unstable folks. Rich folks, poor folks, cops, drug dealers, addicts. And every other combination of people you can imagine.

My interactions aren’t always conversations. Sometimes it’s small talk and often times it’s just observing.

When speed and convenience become the objectives of getting where I need to go I miss out on the richness of these interactions.

No, the trolley isn’t the fastest way for me to get to work. No, riding my bike after dark on a busy street isn’t the safest option. And yes, I recognize that I’m fortunate to live in a place where these are options.

But here’s the thing: Most don’t. In fact, given the choice almost every person I know would rather get in their car and zip to their place of work than wait on a bus or ding-ding on the trolley.

Each day as I’m walking somewhere or riding my bike or sitting on the trolley zillions of cars go by. Most have a single person in them. Most of those people are doing something else. (Listening to the radio, talking on their phone, etc.)

And those of us in the slow lane are the ones smiling.

So what’s the point?

You can make the choice to slow down. Walk places when you can. Leave the car in the driveway. Make time to take time.

We all know life isn’t about getting to our destination. So why not embrace the journey in your daily life? 

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One Response to Transportation matters

  1. Tony Roos January 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Our family just moved from the midwest where we were a two car family that never walked to the outskirts of Paris where we own no vehicle. There is a bus stop at the foot of our building and a RER (train) station within 10 minute walk. I am so glad to be able to observe and to leave the driving to someone else. 
    While conversations have not taken place it is a great opportunity to observe, relax and be less hurried. I have not once yelled at the the car in front of me not using his blinker or going to slow.
    And to be honest it has been fantastic for my waistline.

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