Life should not be boring. It shouldn’t be spent inching your way to work every weekday morning and then inching back each evening, your time eaten up by roadworks and bus replacement services, your small-talk centred around how ridiculous platform 1b was on your way in, and your weekend plans left hanging in the balance because of the service changes. No. Life should be an adventure - and that includes your commute.
It might be a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a half-hour thrill ride that takes you into the unknown, makes you see your incredible locale in a different light and has your heart thudding through your suit jacket as you loudly proclaim "Wow! What a trip!” to your colleagues at the water cooler.
Life’s too short to give up that much time riding the underground and then griping about it afterwards -- way. too. short. So, here are 7 ways you can turn your commute into an everyday adventure:
1. Stop For An Inner-City Adventure
Picture this: you arrive into work feeling alive - your hair wet, sweat running off your brow and your lungs burning - and not because of the rush-hour tube, but because you’ve just been wild swimming in the serpentine. Or wakeboarding in the lagoon. Or climbing the limestone cliffs of the Avon Gorge. Wherever your commute takes you, there’s an adventurous side to every city and our guide to the best inner-city adventures will help turn your monotonous journey to and fro into a heart-pounding getaway. Simply pack your bag like a pro, gear up, strap in and get your blood pumping.
2. Subscribe To One Of These Adventure Podcasts
The first best thing you can do is wander. The second best thing is wonder - and there’s no better way to keep your wanderlust alive than plugging into an adventure podcast as you commute. From the Dirtbag Diaries to Wild Ideas Worth Living, GetOutside to Terra Incognita - you can commute to and from work with the very best storytellers and listen to the extraordinary lives of treetop explorers, commando snipers, undercover journalists and pioneering climbers. Podcasts are your chance to escape when you can’t escape.
3. Use The Time To Plan Your Next Trip
As much as you might feel trapped by the tube or the bus or the train into work, you need it. But you don’t need to view it as dead time. No way. Think of it as the best time to plan your next escape. Your next road trip. Your next weekend adventure. Your next off-the-grid getaway. Start using your commute time to plan where you’ll go and how you’ll get there, which trails you’ll track and which bags you’ll pack, and you’ll find your journey through the commuter belt will become a thrill ride of anticipation. Fact.
4. Swap The Tube Ride For A Bike Ride
Life’s not a race. It’s a journey. It’s a medley of moments that should take you to places you’ve never seen. But what’s a straphanger meant to do when the underground pains you, the busses are banal and Ubers are unsustainable? The answer: cycle. Live life in the bike lane, see parts of the city you haven’t noticed before, weave through the delays, smile as you undercut the traffic and change up your route. You’re looking for a thrill ride and cycling through the shadows of your city’s skyscrapers is exactly that. It’s practicality, exercise, recreation, adventure and freedom all in one simple machine.
5. Step Off Two Stops Early
Of all the routes you can take into work, make sure some of them are on foot. It doesn’t have to be your whole commute, or even half of it, but stepping off the train a couple of stops before your destination and walking the rest of the way will give you the best views. It’ll give you the chance to look up, feel the rain, walk the backstreets and feel a little more alive. It will let you move your body and still your mind. Every commute takes you through somewhere, so why not tighten the straps of your backpack and discover the scenic route?
6. Take The Route Less Tracked
Every seasoned commuter has worked out how to get from A to B in the fastest time. They’ve worked out which escalator is usually the emptiest, which tube doors open closest to the exit and which roads have less bumper-to-bumper traffic. But adventures aren’t about speed. They’re about opening your eyes to new experiences -- and that’s why you should start setting off ten minutes earlier and changing up your route into work. Go left then right instead of right then left. Zigzag through the labyrinth of cobbled streets instead of dodging phone-zombies on the high street. Take the No.31 instead of the No.46. Look up and look around. It will take you out of your comfort zone, and there’s nowhere better to be than outside your comfort zone.
7. Kayak To Work Instead
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: there’s no better way to explore a city than to pull yourself through it, one paddle stroke at a time. It doesn’t matter whether you work in London or Liverpool, if there’s a river, there’s a chance to kayak to work, which is exactly what modern adventurer George Bullard would do. He would kayak the six kilometres from Battersea to The City, deflate his ride, store it beneath his desk and inflate it again for his paddle home. Unusual? Yes. Adventurous? Hell yeah. And there’s nothing stopping you following suit.
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