I took the bus this morning. This might seem like an odd thing to blog about, but it is something of an anomaly for me these days. I have been trying to think of the last time I took the morning bus and keep drawing a blank.
Due to the rain, my waterproof trouser being at my parents’ house and Jit needing to be in work early this morning we ended up having to take the bus into town. It was an experience to say the least, and one that I hope not to have to have again any time soon.
The reason for this blog post is to share my experience and a brief insight into what I have come to realise since walking to town and back since July last year. It is a story that really brings to light how walking really is good for you, both physically and mentally.
To give you a bit of background, I used to take the bus into town and back every day for over 4 years. We would stand at the stop in all-weather: waiting. Eventually the bus would arrive, we would slowly pile on and then chug our way into town with the steamed up windows and sullen faces staring to the front or down at phones.
The thought of it makes me feel rather uneasy even while I type this. (that could be because I experienced it again this morning though as a refresher)
When we first caught the bus we made commuting friends with the regular travelers. There would be greetings and conversations giving the ride a bit of buzz. Over the years that fell away as some of the ladies retired or changed jobs. The buses became quieter and quieter. I then changed jobs which meant taking the tram and now I work from home.
Primarily I started walking more and more when I would miss the bus or it was running late. I got fed up of standing around doing nothing but tapping my feet and watching the world go by. Waiting would only make me feel cold and uncomfortable and I found that walking would keep me occupied, warmer and feeling as though I was doing something rather than wasting time.
Then in July last year, Jit and I decided to start walking more regularly as part of our commute. It was a way to stay fit as well as for me to get out of the house a bit more often. (something that can become somewhat a bit of a problem when you are self-employed and work from home) Within a short space of time the walk got easier and easier. We were running on our own time rather than that of the bus systems and for the first time in years had a regular schedule, getting to town at the same time daily.
Getting up earlier even made more sense too. I had time to walk to town, have a coffee with Jit and even get home with plenty of time to get going. The freshness of walking in the morning and getting the blood pumping is great. You feel more refreshed, awake and ready for the day.
On the bus
Sometimes it is good to have an experience even if it is just to remind you that you are doing the right thing for you. When I took the bus this morning it was one of those valuable lessons (and one that has reminded me to get my waterproof trousers back!)
For some reason where we live (3.5 miles from the city centre of Manchester) we still only get morning buses every 15 minutes until later on in the morning. This means that every stop for the school run and early birds is jam-packed with people waiting to shoe horn themselves into the already busy bus. You can see from the start that tempers are starting fray. Even I found myself getting a bit frustrated by having to wait in the cold. I get white finger and toe from cold weather but since walking I haven’t had it at all but this morning was another story.
The bus pulled around and everyone around us barged forward leaving us flagging at the back. We have obviously forgotten how to catch the commuter bus. We board at the end of the queue, damp from the rain pouring from the side of the bus and actually get a seat together, which we weren’t expecting at all!
Being Monday everyone is topping up their smart cards for the week, so we stop at each stop and wait. Again and again.
Even though taking he bus is actually quicker, the journey seems to go on forever! Windows misted so you can’t quite tell where you are. Silence filing the space and everyone staring to the front or down in front of them.
After a failed attempt to get off a stop early we were relieved to get to the final stop.
Although walking to town takes 40 minutes and means that we have to get up that bit earlier, the benefits far outweigh it. The journey on the bus this morning felt like an eternity. It was slow, stagnant and pretty miserable to say the least. Not a greeting to be heard and a sea of people avoiding eye contact. Not the kind of community feel that makes for a good start to the day.
During the past eleven months is that walking is much better for physical and mental health. Not only does it mean that we can work to our own time schedule, but we get to experience the seasons and get to know people in our local area too. I have lost some weight, I feel healthier and we get to start and end the day in the fresh air rather than in confined spaces.
So after I took the bus this morning…
The journey this morning reminded me why I do love walking my commute (or reverse commute in my case) so much. I get to spend quality time with Jit, keep fit, joy the fresh air as well as see the seasons change and get to know other people in my area. It is a win win in my opinion. And you can save some money too by using your legs as your transport.
I’m definitely sticking with walking after I took the bus this morning.
Here’s to more walking commutes and encouraging you to give it a go too!
How do you commute? How could you integrate walking into it?
If you already walk, what is your favourite part about it?
Let me know in the comments below 🙂