Why I Chose to Commute

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:

Forced Downtime

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

Affordable Living

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

  • Shae E

    I have an issue with owning a house. You lose all of your mobility and liquidity. You could easily rent and still commute. You’d probably save money (it’d be less than mortgage) and you could move around whenever you wanted.

    • Adam

      In my area it’s actually more expensive to rent than it is for my mortgage plus all of the utilities. I pay $200-300 less than I would renting a similar place. Plus, at the end of my mortgage I’ll have the value of the condo.

      As for mobility, you do lose some. You can’t just walk away from it (without legal repercussions) and move somewhere else. If you’re not used to staying in one place this can be a bad thing. It also limits your job opportunities to local companies.