The Long Trek – Navigating The Concrete Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 20, 2012 in Thinking Positive |

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If you live near a big city, chances are that you have to commute there several days a week alongside thousands of your fellow workforce members. You might make the ride into town for your office job, or maybe you’re commuting to a nearby college campus to take the classes necessary to complete your degree. Either way, you are in the car for the long haul, and there’s not much you can do to get around that simple fact.

Many people have a tidy commute of half an hour or less (extremely tidy in heavy traffic areas), but some poor folks have to drive over an hour and a half to get to their destination. If that’s the case for you, consider these four tips to help you go through your day without stressing about your travel time.

Audiobooks and podcasts

I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to more than a few minutes of most of the radio stations in my city. When I’m stuck in traffic trying to get to my destination, I much prefer listening to an educational podcast or an audiobook version of the latest novel I’m reading to help me get by. If I have to sit in my car for nearly an hour, I might as well stimulate my brain with some thought provoking material to make the ride more worthwhile.

There’s a wealth of podcasts and audiobooks out there that cater to every interest and niche. The industrious college student can listen to scholarly podcasts on their favorite subject, while the office employee can choose innumerable “Did you know?” style podcasts on topics ranging from history to pop science.


Some people enjoy their solitude during a long commute, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who wish for company in the car. Have you ever considered how many people you’ve seen on the road driving alone but with their ear glued to their cellphone? They’re probably just trying to kill time the best way they know how.

Carpooling is the economic and environmental way to socialize during your commute. If you have a classmate or coworker who shares the same route, why not pick them up or alternate driving schedules so you have some company? If anything, it’ll help you and your friend save on gas money by splitting the difference.

Plan alternate routes

How often have you seen a car peel off from the congested highway to take a side street you wish you had thought to take? It happened to me all the time until I had the sense to plan out my commute the night before. I used all the navigation tools at my disposal (Google Maps) to plot out a route that shaved nearly fifteen minutes from my average commute. It was a process that took all of ten minutes, and it was totally worth it. You may have thought (like I did) that the major highway is always the best way to go, but there may be lesser-known routes that are speedier due to the enormous amount of jams that rush hours bring to the main road arteries.

Get comfortable

If there’s no way to significantly reduce the time of your commute, the best thing you can do is simply get as comfortable as you can during the ride. People turn their cars into a comfortable space in different ways.

You can make your sitting arrangement more bearable with ergonomic attachments meant to support your back and your neck. You can delay wearing your normal everyday shoes and put on comfortable slippers during your ride. Or you can simply bring a blanket and crank up the AC. Do whatever it takes to be more comfortable in your car, because the fact of the matter is that you’ll be in it for a while. Don’t get so comfortable that you risk dozing off, but you might as well enjoy the time!

What do you do to make your commute better in the concrete jungle?

The guest post was contributed by Katheryn Rivas. Katheryn is a freelance education writer and blogger. She loves to dabble in a variety of education topics, although her main interests include online learning and trends. She welcomes your comments at katherynrivas [email protected].

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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