It appears that the Washington Post has decided to do a series of features on the suburban lifestyle. This article from the Post Magazine features two families with long, long commutes. It is a common trade-off that many make: pick the place you want to live, but it is rarely the place you’ll find a job. As a result, the article notes that more and more Americans are drive 60 minutes to work each way. The families featured here average 2-3 hours one way.
Obviously, people make choices about where they live and work. I live in the ‘burbs, not my first or second choice, but I am also less than a mile from my campus and my husband is less than 2 miles away from the commuter train. Neither of us enjoys driving, so we traded a hip location over family dinners and coaching our kids’ sports teams. Life isn’t always pretty, but at least we have a life.
What the article also points out is that some of the long-distance commuters are choosing to commute so they can have larger homes and property, or live outside the metro area. Both are worthy goals, but what point is it to have a house if you never live in it?
Here in San Miguel, about 90% of the expats I’ve interviewed have told me one of their criteria in picking an ideal place to live is that they did not want to drive at all. Many here have sold their cars and walk and bus everywhere. If this article is any indication of what the driving life is like, it’s easy to see how driving itself can become the bane of modern existence.