Dovey and I were house and dog-sitting this past week while our friends were on vacation in South America. This friend lives in Moorpark, CA - about 40 miles away from our house. We decided to look at this adventure as an experiment on how we would do as commuters.
We gathered up a weeks belongings and the pup and headed out on Sunday afternoon. We just love their house, huge backyard for the dogs to play in, 4 bedrooms a big kitchen and lots of room to spread out. Moorpark has beautiful weather, in Ventura County so it has the beachy weather. Its a quiet neighborhood too. Its the equivalent of our 'dream' home except the distance from the city. Suburban living is the trade off for space! We did enjoy the weekend time, relaxing in the back yard with the dogs and enjoying the quiet, suburban life.
Test 1: Early mornings and late nights!
Dovey works all over the city with different clients. The first day he was working near our home, and left an hour earlier than usual (at 7am) to get there on time. He said that he arrived on time - barely - and that traffic was horrendous. In the evenings, he had to hang back for an hour until the traffic broke up - and didnt arrive at the house until about 8pm. (We usually eat dinner around 645 - so we were both starving by that time)
One day this week he also worked in Long Beach - a trek he takes every other week on average, so this was the true test! He went to the office first so he wouldn't be counted as late - that took about 1 hour - and then left after his morning huddle to LB - another 2 hours one way. He was on the road for about 6 hours that day and decided that the 2 more than usual really wasn't nice. He was exhausted from dealing with traffic, and starving when he arrived home at 8pm.
I work the opposite direction, but the first day I also left about an hour earlier. My drive took just 15 minutes more - and I was stuck close to the office with about 40 minutes to kill. (Target here I come! Best place to window shop! haha) Every other day I just gave an additional 15 minutes, so the commute didn't bother me that much. But waiting for him to get home at night was the kicker.
Test 2: Carpooling!
In order to save gas and mileage - we decided to try carpooling from the house a few times. This way only one car would make the trek to Moorpark. It was nice to be together on the ride there and back, have a little more time together - but we still had the early mornings and late nights. We also ate out during the 'hang back' time on those days - which would have been nice except we were paying more for gas, mileage AND food as a result.
Overall, we decided that we weren't going to cut it as a 'commuter couple'. We would rather pay more to live in the city and sacrifice size and space for quality of life. We really missed our morning and evening walks - spending that crucial fresh air and cool down time behind the wheel was an awful trade-off. We were both grumpier and super tired all the time. We ate out more because we lacked the energy to cook - sacrificing our healthy homemade cooking for convenient, bad-for-you food just wasn't our thing. Once in a while junk food is a treat, but all the time is just bad news bears! (At least in our opinion!) We aspire to be healthy and happy - and this was definitely not the way to achieve that!
I'm glad though, that we had this chance to see what life would be like - so that we didn't just assume it to be a better choice and buy further out without knowing.