The Not-So-Dreadful Commute to and from New York

The trip between NYC and the Poconos is derided by many and can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s better than riding a crowded subway through Manhattan every day.

So my family and I moved from New York City to Stroudsburg, PA in March of this year. I’ll be honest, I was scared at first. So was my wife. We had never owned a house and we didn’t know but a handful of people over here. Worst of all were the scary tales about the bus commute to NYC. We were just hoping for the best.

The First Week Is a Breeze

Sleeping in a bus can be complicated, sure. If you’re not used to it, I’d suggest actually trying the commute before you close in a property to get a feel for it. I for one was never able to sleep in a moving car even on long trips. But the reality here is different. You’re inside the bus for two hours each way every day and everyone else is just as

Sleeping in a Bus NYC Poconos
Sleeping in the bus at 4:30 in the morning is easier than you think

willing to pass out as you are. Within a few minutes the bus is quiet like a ghost town. Everyone is gone asleep, no lights are on and no phones are lit up. In fact it’s quieter than home a lot of times, with the kids waking up in the middle of the night. I brought a pillow from home (which I still use to this day), put it against the window and was gone before I knew it. The biggest scare was definitely past us.

Beware My Child, Beware!
Scary comuter stories
It turns out that the spooky stories going around were just folklore

And the “warnings” of the most seasoned residents telling that within a few weeks or months I’d feel otherwise also turned to be unfounded. In fact you learn to use that time to your advantage. It takes a bit longer for the bus to quiet down, but after you reach New Jersey the bus quiets down sooner or later. If on your way in you’re catching up with your sleep, the way back is definitely time to catch up with your emails, social media (in my case I had plenty to do on LinkedIn), reading and so on.

Better than the Alternative

So yes, the way back is not so quiet, but it beats standing up in a crowded subway to Queens any time. There’s nobody bumping against you along the way but the eventual person you’re sharing the seat with. No worries about holding on to contaminated surfaces. No crazies coming in yelling. No people using the bus as a trash can or toilet. In fact if you need to use one

No more crowded subway cars
Never really bought the “Oh, but standing up in the subway for hours is great exercise” theory

you can just walk all the way in the back and do so. If somebody gets sick your bus won’t get stuck in the middle of the freeway, delaying in the process every other bus behind it. The reality is that riding a bus through a major interstate at 4 or 5am is a lot more reliable than the subway.

I’m inside the office at 6:15am. Fifteen minutes later if I decide to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge rather than bike. That’s gold time to catch up on what happened the day before. At least a couple hours of undisturbed work. Definitely not bad.

Paradigm Shift

It turns out that it’s all a matter of perspective. So when people jump back in awe when they find out my commute is over 4 hours long, I just smile and answer back “Oh yeah, and I’m loving it!”

 

To be continued in a future post.




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16 Replies to “The Not-So-Dreadful Commute to and from New York”

  1. I love your positive outlook on the use of our most precious commodity time. It is nice to know that just because you have a long commute, doesn’t mean that you can’t be productive especially in a bus at 4am. I had a similar experience when I was dating my wife and had the opportunity to ride Greyhound for a few trips. I won’t comment on their service but I was able to take advantage of the 5 hour commute to do some work on social media. Great outlook. Thanks for sharing

    1. 5 hour commute? Wow. Yes I agree, this is plenty of quiet “me time” that can be put to good use. Thank you for contribution!

  2. Interesting perspective. I am always interested in seeing how commutes vary from one region to another. In my area, anything over 1 hour commute is considered an extremely long commute. I feel so fortunate to be able to work from home and not even think about commuting. I guess as with anything we can adapt to the situation, just enjoy the journey and not think so much about the destination. In some aspect, I miss my former 20 to 30-minute commute to work. It allowed me to listen to the radio for news and some entertainment before getting to work. Now I tend to sleep longer into the morning and then just jump into my work. So I don’t feel as awake once I start work. How do you feel after your morning commute as you catch on sleep during the drive?

    1. You’re right. Even around here a commute over 1 hour is considered long. But sure, I feel much fresher after that power nap in the morning, and especially since I still bike for another half hour until I’m actually in the office 😀

  3. Great article! And what a fantastic attitude you have about your commute. As I’ve mostly worked from home, I’ve never really thought about commuting by bus—but it sounds quite relaxing and interesting. Sure beats having to pay attention to driving and paying the costs of vehicle maintenance. I checked out the rest of your site and will come back when you post more info. I plan to move from Northern Virginia in a few years….but I’m not sure where I would go. Thanks for your post and enjoy your commute!

    1. Thanks! I do enjoy the commute, but wouldn’t mind working from home like yourself instead. Rest assured in a few weeks time there’ll be plenty more info here.

  4. Hi Mauricio,

    As you have quite correctly pointed out, it is all a matter of perspective. You have chosen only to acknowledge the positives of this move and that is all that matters. My commute time to work has double in the last 3 years from urban sprawl. I think the time for a change has come, and the aim is to work from home. I hope you are able to achieve that also.

    All the best,
    Adam.

    1. Thanks! Hopefully sooner than later, Adam! Although I’ll probably miss the commute when that happens, at least in a sense. Cheers!

  5. I really enjoyed your article! My first reaction was, “Two hours EACH WAY every day?!?!?!” But when I read the rest of the article, I began to think, “Yeah, I can see how that would be nice.” It’s amazing what you can get used to.

    I used to commute an hour two and from work every day and I found that the positive parts of it were that it created a good separation between work life and home life. I also used the time to decompress. I don’t miss the drive, but I can see how having that quiet time set aside from other distractions could be a real benefit.

    Nice work. Keep it up!

    Kevin

    1. I agree. I like that term, decompress. It defines the stress relief from the different aspects of life that the commute provides. Thank you!

  6. Amen. I could not agree more with your post. I made the move from the city to the Poconos 6 years ago and could not be happier. I just hope not too many people read your post and get inspired to move here. LOL. I like the peace and quiet

    1. Lol. Thank you for posting. I also hope the place doesn’t get crowded. If anything I’d like to reach a specific audience, which is families with kids for the most part. Preferably those who have a love for peace and quiet 😀

  7. I travel daily for 2 hours to my office and 2 hours back. I use this time for my emails and social media and many a times, I just doze off. I liked your positive attitude towards things in your life. Keep up your positive attitude.

    1. Welcome to the fold. Good to know that there are people outside of NYC who can also appreciate the long commutes. Be sure to come back for more soon-to-be-released content!

  8. great post,i too used to commute to a big city for work.train left at 6.30,arrived 7.50,walked to work,got there at 8.15.loved it as well.could sleep or read or talk.my choice.
    one thing though,i hope you won’t be doing it for decades.
    working from home is better!

    1. Nearly two-hour commute, huh? Yeah, no matter where you are you have to make the best of it, that is my way of thinking and it’s worked well. My commute days will be over (at least for a few months) next week, but hopefully things go so well that they never come back.

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