He walks to work every day for 4 years and I’m curious

He walks to work every day for 4 years and I'm curious

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Hi, Team!

 

What’s below is a unique exchange between two bloggers. Scott (at Making Momentum), is a blogger I’ve come to know, respect, and learn A TON from recently. His weekly Saturday Round-Up posts may be the best I’ve seen and his combination of personal finance, fitness, and overall self-improvement posts are right up my alley.

 

Given the info above, I’m pretty glued to his site these days, and when his recent post about him walking to work every day for 4 years was published I was all-in! Probably equal parts respect, jealousy, and sheer wonder had my mind spinning while reading through his post.

 

He did a great job explaining the benefits of walking compared with driving or public transit, but the questions I had were more of a “nuts and bolts” variety (e.g. – how does he actually do this???). So I reached out on Twitter and asked him if he’d be willing to share any answers to a few of my ‘off the wall’ questions.

 

Luckily for us – he obliged!

 

If you’ve ever considered walking to work over driving or taking public transportation, we’ve got some context for you below. If there’s anything we’ve missed – call us out in the comments section and let’s keep this conversation going!

 

Let’s get to it! (my words are in regular or bold fonts and Scott’s are in italics):

 

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You explain the benefits of your walking to work very well in your post. Here, I’m more interested in the thought process, the nuts and bolts, the how, and why. 

 

I think your walking to work through all the elements of a Toronto year is very interesting. Thanks for agreeing to take part in this … (I’ll call it an) experiment…

 

On the day before you decided to start walking, what was your thought process? Did you make a pro/con list or did you plan this in advance?

 

I didn’t make a pro/con list per se but I did move to my current residence because of its proximity to the office. I knew being able to walk every day would save me thousands of dollars and I am also not the biggest fan of the busy, hectic transit system here. Once I moved to this place (4 years ago), I knew that this would be my game plan moving forward.

 

How far in advance did you plan your wardrobe? Do you wear different clothes to walk then change? Where do you keep your cold gear in the office?

 

Part of my routine the night before is getting my clothes out for my morning workout and work the next day (I wrote about that here Waking Up At 5AM Changed My Life). So as soon as I roll out of bed, everything is set in terms of wardrobe.

 

On the most humid and hot of summer days I will walk in a dry-fit shirt and then change at the office but otherwise, I am just wearing my work clothes for the trek.

 

Luckily in my office, I have a cupboard and open space to store my bulky winter coat, boots, scarf, gloves, etc. in the winter.

 

Do you walk in your work shoes? How often do you go through shoes?

 

In the nicer weather months, I walk in my sneakers (Nike Air Max or Reebok Classics). In the winter or when it’s raining, I walk in boots. They’re big and heavy but keep me dry!

 

My work shoes are stored in the office, so luckily I don’t churn through those soles too often.

 

Based on my reading your site, I don’t think these walks take the place of your workouts… Do you carry workout gear with you or when do you get your workouts in?

 

For the last two years, my morning routine has consisted of a workout to start my day. I am up at 5AM and by 5:15AM I’m either out running or at the gym getting in a 30 – 45-minute workout.

 

I used to be an after-work exercise person but I found I was getting sluggish and lazy at the end of the day. I’d often skip it or drag my feet through it inefficiently (that’s just my personal experience and I know dozens of people who are the opposite of me).

 

So I made the drastic change to get up at 5AM every day and haven’t looked back!

 

What type of bag(s) do you carry and does this change throughout the year?

 

I carry the same backpack every day! I used to carry a laptop bag/briefcase but that lack of space was forcing me to buy lunch more often.

 

So I went back to the classic backpack and keep anything I need in there. I feel like I am back in high-school but it gets the job done.

 

Are you able to shower at work?

 

Yes, at our offices we have access to showers. However, I’ve rarely used them.

 

I know you listen to (A TON) of podcasts… What kind of headphones do you use?

 

I have had this iPhone 7 for almost 2 years now…and I still use the OG earbuds that came with it (same story before that with my previous phone). If I was more of a music audiophile I’d upgrade but for the purposes of podcasts and some phone calls…but #FrugalLife.

 

What’s your EDC? What 5 items do you always have with you?

 

Well my EDC would be the trendy backpack I mentioned above and those always-on-me items would be: my Swell water bottle, notebook, laptop, the book I’m currently reading and a pen.

 

Not the most exciting!

 

Are you a runner and have you ever considered running to work?

 

I do run 3-4 times a week and had considered running to work. Once I started getting up earlier and beginning my day with physical activity immediately, I saw so many benefits in my productivity and mood, that I haven’t shifted that routine.

 

Do you pack your lunch or buy? If you pack, how does that work?

 

I pack my lunch 95% of the time (probably 19/20 times in a standard 4 weeks / 5 working days calendar).

 

I bulk meal prep on Sundays and package up enough food to last me through the first half of the week. Then generally on Wednesday, I will do another larger meal prep and that will cover me for the rest of the week.

 

I get everything organized the night before as part of my pre-bed routine so that I can just grab and go once it’s time to head to work.

 

I would imagine that if you’re setting off on foot every day and won’t have quick access back to your place, you would have to be good at planning your day. Ever forget anything? If not, what practice do you have to stay organized? If you have forgotten things, what were they?

 

As I mentioned above, I am a big proponent of the night before prep. I make a to-do list for the next morning, prep my coffee, pack my lunch and layout my exercise and work clothes.

 

I sound like a crazy person when I read that haha. But I like to say: win the morning, win the day. So I try to set myself up for success as best possible the night before.

 

I keep my keys, wallet, phone, headphones, sunglasses, etc. on the kitchen island and then just pack up the laptop, book, lunch, and a notebook before I head out. I try to stay as organized as possible, just all part of that win the morning, win the day mantra.

 

I’ve definitely forgotten my wallet a couple times. I forgot my passport when I was flying out directly from work that day. I’ve probably forgotten my lunch in the fridge a few times too. The item I most often forget seems to be my umbrella, which is a major pain on the wet walks back after work.

 

Have you ever been in a frightening situation during a walk?

 

Weather-wise, it can be a mixed bag here at mines. Crazy snow storms, lightning, giant hail…more of a nuisance than frightening but it can definitely make it an adventure.

 

The route I take to work includes passing a handful of major intersections so that has definitely created a few hair-raising moments. People blowing red lights, rolling into intersections, road rage, etc. I’ve witnessed some pretty bad accidents and bikers being struck but thankfully I’ve never had too close of a call personally.

 

There is also a strong contingent of wayward nomads in the downtown core here. It’s unfortunate that this wild world has left so many people without a home and mental health issues.

 

I’ve had some interesting interactions with a couple of the more audacious ones over the years. Thankfully, I am a pretty big guy and their bark is definitely bigger than their bite.

 

Although I wouldn’t want to be bitten by one, their dental hygiene isn’t of the highest standard (something you might better be able to attest to Mike haha).

 

M: Haha. I’d rather not have to lend our expertise in a situation like that… But if the need arises, stop down to Columbus and we’ve got you covered (bring your workout gear, too. Wouldn’t want to disrupt the routine).

 

What’s your craziest story from one of these walks?

 

I ran into Will Smith when he was here shooting a movie. I was a big Fresh Prince guy growing up so that was pretty cool.

 

Otherwise, it would definitely just be the weather I’ve encountered that I mentioned above. Sideways snow swirling falling at an alarming rate right into your face. Thunder and lightning storm just downpouring endless rain. Golf ball sized hail pelting off cars.

 

M: Love us some Fresh Prince – awesome!

 

Is there a best moment that stands out in your mind from walking? Maybe a time you got great news, met someone awesome or had an “A-ha” moment.

 

Some of the personal finance podcasts I listen to on my walk have had a pretty profound impact on my current financial situation. More from an overall strategy and long-term approach than one specific breakthrough.

 

Do you interact with many people while walking?

 

For the most part, it’s just me, my thoughts and my earbuds. The best interactions though are definitely from my girlfriend (quick note coming below).

 

Is there a worst moment that stands out that you care to share?

 

I started to write out an answer here and it sounded so first world problems that I couldn’t talk about how the weather got me sick and rain ruined my notebook and book.

 

In the grand scheme of the world, I’ve got it pretty easy! There are people in other parts of the world who walk 10x my distance just to get water.

 

So I shouldn’t let a crazy homeless person, bad weather or annoying road ragers honking their horns get me down.

 

Have you ever come close to quitting or to purchasing a car/public transit pass?

 

Not yet! I am really not very fond of our transit system here (busy, noisy, dirty, hectic) and the route to drive is so short that I’d feel pretty guilty driving it.

 

The walk gives me a chance to reset after my earlier morning tasks and get set for the day ahead.

 

Are you in a relationship and if so, does walking to work have any impact on that?

 

Yes, I have been with my significant other for all 4 years that I’ve been walking to work. She’s an amazing person and the best moments are when I get a text message or call from her. It might just be a heart emoji (I am a softy) but those little things help put some extra pep in my step.

 

What do you do when you want to travel longer distances (i.e. to a different city and you’re not flying)?

 

If I am traveling anywhere for work, I have access to vehicles to be able to get anywhere I need to.

 

If I am traveling personally, I’ve rented cars, borrowed cars and participated in ride-sharing services. There are also two different long-distance train systems here so if I am traveling to another city, that’s also an option.

 

You live in Toronto – cold winters, hot humid summers… What’s the worst weather and the best?

 

The best weather is like 10-15 degrees for the morning walk. Not too cold that just a light jacket works and not hot enough to the point of any discomfort.

 

The worst weather is definitely the rain. I grew up in Vancouver so I am well-versed in the world of rain. It doesn’t rain as often here in Toronto but when it does, it’s generally a downpour. It soaks you to the core and is much more troublesome than snow in my opinion.

 

Have you seen Forrest Gump and what percentage of your inspiration is attributed to that movie?

 

“From that day on if I was going somewhere, I was running”. Big Forrest Gump fan.

 

One day I will grow the beard out and just keep running.

 

A co-worker of mine asked for a picture of your calves… Kind of a weird ask and she’ll understand if you don’t send that over…

 

I will take a rain cheque on that one! The sun only just started to come out here in Toronto so maybe after the ghost white hue of my skin goes away thanks to getting outside for summer, I will send that over.

 

Haha.

 

M: I’m regretting that I left this in here… But the coworker did make the comment. Shame.

 

What’s the best benefit to walking to work every day – financial, mental, physical, or other?

 

Financial

 

Based on my numbers I’ve saved anywhere from $7,000 – $11,000 from walking to work every day. Those savings have compounded much bigger returns for me no matter if I look at the consumer debt I’ve paid off or additional money I’ve been able to invest.

 

Mental

 

Now that I’ve developed this consistent 5AM routine, this walk to work every day serves as my reset time. I can think about the day ahead at the office or just let my mind wander to other things.

 

It’s a freeing time for me…not to mention the thousands of podcast episodes I’ve listened to and the endless knowledge that has provided.

 

Physical

 

It’s not the longest walk but anything I can do to stay active and keep moving is a big win for me. I am unfortunately at my desk or in meetings most of the day at the office. Once home, I do a lot of work on my computer (freelance, blog, etc.), so I am sitting more than I’d like to.

 


 

Reader’s Input

 

Have you ever considered walking to work? If this isn’t a practical option for you, what daily habits could you instill to promote a more active lifestyle?

 

If you’re at a loss, shoot me an email and I’d love to help you come up with something!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

If you’re interested in discovering a better version of yourself – whether with fitness, finance, or family – then subscribe below to MikedUp Blog’s FREE newsletter and let’s improve together!

 

I’m glad you’re here. Thanks again and talk soon!

 

– Mike
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4 Comments

  1. I was given a free car with unlimited personal use as well as free gas as a perk of my job. Zero financial incentive not to use it plus if you think Toronto has hot, humid summers…it doesn’t, not compared to the deep south in the US. But I do get up before 5AM and run in the mornings. The other issue is time, driving it was an eight minute commute, walking would have been an hour each way, it would have been a huge time suck. The concept is cool for city folk in cool country. Impractical for rural folk in sweltering swampland.

    1. Steve – Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. That’s awesome that you were given a car & gas as a job benefit! That makes this decision an easier one for you. I’ll also agree that your specific conditions have to be appropriate to even make the choice of walking vs. driving to work. But – if it’s an option for you and you can build it into your schedule – the health, mental, and productive benefits that Scott has discussed in his post are hard to turn down. I admire his effort. I’ll also say that I’ve worked in the panhandle, Alabama, and Mississippi coasts during the summer and, yeah… That would make this incredibly difficult… Fair point.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -Mike

  2. I’ve been walking/taking public transport for the seven years since I’ve graduated. Some walks have been longer than others, but by doing this, I’ve been able to completely avoid car ownership altogether. I’m in the UK, so you can imagine most days I get wet out in the rain… but from my basic calculations I save myself approx £3-4k a year from not running a car. That over the 10 years I’ve been eligible to drive has probably saved me upwards of £30k. It’s enabled me to get on the property ladder in my early 20s and renovate my home. It can be really worth doing if you are able.

    1. Katie – Thanks so much for your comments! I’m fascinated by the possibility of eliminating a portion (or all) of the vehicle expense, so your experience (and Scott’s) is intriguing! It sounds like you are crushing it partly because of the savings you’ve made in the vehicle department. Do you have any regrets or is there anything you would do differently if you were to start over?

      Thanks for being here, reading, and commenting! I appreciate it.
      -Mike

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