Using Your Commute

Ferryride I may or may not have written before that I currently have about a five minute commute to work (though with summer tourist traffic, it has quickly doubled to about ten minutes). That said, I work with people who are driving an hour or more one way to get to the office. There’s a trend of people moving closer to work to avoid high gas prices but this is not a reality for some people. And so we commute.


I wasn’t always so spoiled; I used to have a heavy duty commute. It involved walking 10-15 mintues to a ferry terminal then taking an hour and fifteen minute ferry to the other office I worked in on the mainland. I only had to do this one-two times a week (thank goodness) but I still had that hour and a half to work with each way on those days.


I’m certainly not one of those people who has to be productive every second. I took lots of time to enjoy the scenery and take photos (see above). I also got stuck of talking to my fair share of tourists (Yes, those are lobster traps. No, I’m not a fisherman…) But after I got a little over the view (which to be honest, I never did get completely over, I mean wow), there was always a question of “What should I do?”


Here’s what I did on my commute:


1. Played sudoku.
2. Read magazines (books aren’t great for the motion sick; a magazine is much easier to look up from).
3. Paid bills (brought check book and stamps so I could mail immediately upon getting to the mainland).
4. Wrote. I had this whole book idea I was going to do called “Ferry Tales” about people I met on the ferry… I suppose I still could.
5. Talked to fellow commuters, like Bob. I miss my talks with Bob, who was actually the first blogger I personally knew.
6. Listened to music.
7. Interviewed people on the ferry and asked them what they were doing. (I had an audio recorder and Bob and I were bored. Sadly, I’ve since lost the files, which were fabulous.)
8. Organized my day ahead, including my mainland errands.
9. Slept. (On winter days, this kept me from having to bork off the side of the boat).


A commute is time you have set aside for usually a very inactive activity. Even if you are driving, you’ve no doubt got some spare brain power you could be using. I love audio books on my long drives to the northern terminus of Maine. Bonus: My car has a tape deck which is the format most audio books in Maine libraries seem to prefer.


What I wonder is, since gas prices and stress in general are higher, do you feel an urge to be practical during your commute? What do you do? Are you learning a language or just listening to silly pop radio and singing along (not that I do that *wink*).


I’m wondering Breaking Even readers, what are you doing in your car, plane, ferry, train, or subway while you head off to the salt mines?

Nicole Ouellette
Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she's not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

4 Responses to “Using Your Commute

  • I listen to NPR or podcasts. I only am in the car for 30-35 minutes so I don’t get to listen to a lot this way. But the drive time is a good way for me to get through my long list of podcasts.

  • I also love my podcasts Carl but catch up on mine while making dinner.

  • I’ll second the podcasts while in the car. But I’m jealous of all the options you have while on the ferry.

  • The view never did get old but like anything, it gets a little tiresome after awhile. Plus try getting diesel soot out of your clothes!

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