One thing I always get asked at local hackathons, developer conferences and networking events is where I live. Once I tell them I don’t live in the city, and actually have an hour commute both ways, I always get asked why?
Here’s a few of the reasons I chose to commute instead of live in the big city:
I’m on a train for 50 minutes to and from work. This forces me to be away from a computer and gives me time to catch up on some sleep, finish reading a book of mine or just take some time to rest. While some people don’t like a lot of rest it’s something that I need. I always think better after resting and it helps me program better
Probably the biggest reason I chose to commute was because I could actually afford to buy a condo outside of the city. Without getting into the Buy or Rent argument (I’ll touch on this later) I just couldn’t afford anything in the city. My condo (680 sq. feet) was almost double the cost if I had bought downtown. Even renting a smaller apartment would have cost more than what I pay for.
Friends and Mobility
Having grown up in the suburbs most of my friends and responsibilities outside of work are here. If I had chosen to live downtown, getting back to the suburbs weekly or even monthly would have added a lot to my monthly costs.
I also like the freedom of owning a car. While it does add a lot of cost each month, there’s nothing better than being able to drive anywhere on a whim.
The suburbs definitely aren’t for everyone. It’s harder to get around (you need a car), there’s not always as much happening, there aren’t as many food choices and it takes longer to get to work. Despite these short-comings I would always chose it over living downtown.