Ready to kick the commute

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In a few short days, I will move into a new home in Suffolk, and I will be a commuter no more!

After six years of being ingrained in commuter culture, I finally will live and work in the same city.

Since 2005, I have taken on commutes to Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, various parts of Norfolk and even to Franklin for a short time.

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For the past four months, I have endured the journey from Newport News to Suffolk that lasts about an hour and requires me to cross at least one river and drive on at least three highways, no matter which route I take.

Although it’s a long trip, the ride to Suffolk is not the worst of my commutes, because it includes very little traffic, even on the bridges.

But I am looking forward to not having to cross a large body of water at the start of my day.

I know I’m not the first person to commute, especially in Hampton Roads, but I still get people who are incredibly shocked that I drive 40 miles to work everyday.

People ask me how I do it, and it’s simple: I’m just used to it.

Especially after a few years of driving more than 20 miles to get where I need to be, I’ve adjusted to being in the car for long periods of time.

Last week, I met a kindred spirit who understood exactly how to cope with the commute.

First Baptist Christian School valedictorian Katelin Jones is no stranger to commuting, and she doesn’t just cross cities in her drive — she drives across states.

Jones has traveled from her home in Gates County, N.C., to Suffolk for school for the past four years, and before that, she was driven to Portsmouth for elementary and middle school.

Her shortest drive was to Suffolk, which takes about 40 minutes, but next month, she will take on her longest commute yet when she starts classes at ODU.

The almost 50-mile drive will take about an hour and a half, but Jones said she isn’t worried about it.

She said she is used to a long drive before school, and she is just glad to have a comfortable car that’s good on gas.

After talking to Jones, I realized I will miss some aspects of my commute. For example, I have learned tons of ways to get out of Suffolk, because I’ve tried to find the shortest route.

And the long drive is also a great opportunity for me to listen to audio books and lengthy podcasts.

But I have to admit the burdens of the commute outweigh the benefits. And I am really looking forward to spending 30 fewer minutes in my car each way.

Goodbye, commuter life.