How to Commute on Foot

I’ve made it my business the past few years to live someplace where I could walk to grad school, and I’ve grown fond of it. It’s not yet clear whether I’ll be able to continue my pedestrian commuting ways in my new gig, but I hope to. Planning alternate commuting strategies has renewed my respect for the merits of the foot-commute.

I was initially intimidated by the idea of schlepping to and from on my own two feet, but became super glad I started doing it. As it turns out, my fiercely independent side likes getting myself there and home again without worrying about public transit failing me or where I’ll put my car when I get there. It’s definitely not for everyone, or for every day, but for the past 3 years, I’ve been happy to say that it’s been for me!

Thinking about commuting by foot? Here’s how to, in 11 simple steps.

1. Live close enough to your workplace to walk there.

2. Acquire commuting shoes.*

*I grew up in Houston, a town where approximately 0% of the population walks to work. I had no concept of these alleged “commuting shoes,” but they’re exactly what they sound like. Usually comfy sandals in the summer and sneakers in the winter, it’s whatever you would choose to wear to walk  from A to B on any other day. The important thing is that they need not coordinate with anything else you’re wearing. Pulling it off requires only attitude. See step 4.

3. Leave all real work shoes in the bottom drawer of your desk.

4. ROCK the work skirt with sneakers look. Don’t worry, at least half the other ladies on the sidewalk will be wearing the same thing.

5. Create plan B for inclement weather. Your boss will not accept, “Well, it was raining and I usually walk” as a reason for not showing up. Alas. Bus, metro, taxi, or begging a ride from your nearest and dearest are all possible plan B’s.

6. Create plan C if you chose the begging option. Let’s have a semblance of self-sufficiency here.

7. Plan to call family members on your commute, and rarely any other time. Make sure to have an ambulance drive by at LEAST once per phone call. It will become a running joke with your mom. Call your sister only when it’s windy, then pretend not to understand why she can’t hear you. Laugh until you can’t take it anymore at her WHOOSH Hey WHOOSH it’s me WHOOOOOOOOOOSH impression of talking to you on the phone.

8. Plan your day around what will mean you have to tote the fewest pounds in the morning and evening. If in school, try NOT to let this morph into, “Oh, I guess I just won’t read that because there’s no way I’m carrying that book home.”

9. Realize that you didn’t read something because you didn’t want to carry the book home. Make it through anyway!

10. Scrutinize the crosswalk timing until you perfect your walking pattern to minimize wait time. Scoff at the mere mortals who don’t know your tricks.  Try not to scoff out loud.

11. Stop and smell the roses. Don’t stop and smell anything else.


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