Over the past few months, I’ve grown to love commuting to and from work. Now I’ve exchanged crammed, stifling tube carriages for airy, bright yellow buses, the time spent on the twice daily journey has become something to enjoy rather than dread.
I’m emphatically not a morning person, but the brief view of the bay on a sunny morning can usually lift my spirits just enough to make me start to feel ready for the day ahead.
The early evening bus ride home has become one of the small delights of my working day. At only 35-40 minutes, it’s not a long journey, but it is just right.
After a long day in an office, the bus ride offers an ideal opportunity to begin to unwind. When I last lived in Wellington, my evening walks home along the waterfront gave me the perfect chance to clear my head, and now I find the bus commute almost as beneficial.
Sometimes I read or catch up on news headlines on my phone, but often I prefer to simply look out the window and enjoy the view. Never mind that it is the same view everyday – the same streets, same shops, same houses. As the bus winds its way out of the central city and into the eastern suburbs I am comforted by the familiarity and the knowledge that, as the bus passes those village shops or that sports centre, I am edging ever closer to home.
Most of all, I have the time to block out the world and daydream.
The ride home gives me space. Not so much personal space, mind. But space to think and space to process the day. If it’s been a bad day, the bus ride is my allotted time to wallow and ruminate. I can fuss over the tasks that should have been completed, the way a phone conversation should have gone, the burden of the workload. In that pocket of time I try to get it all out of my system so that by the time I step off the bus and walk towards home, all the niggles and worries are let go and my evening can really begin.
On the good days the journey is simply pleasant free time to listen to favourite music, ponder writing ideas and plan the evening ahead.
In a hectic big city, it’s easy to resent everything about the grim evening commute, usually spent jostling for space with hundreds of weary, irritable workers, and the way it saps the last reserves of energy and eats into precious leisure time.
But here I find that even if my bus is full, or there are some delays, none of it is so bothersome. Rather than being a daily draining experience, the journey has become an unexpected opportunity to begin to recharge. For that, I’m grateful.