A One Hour Trip? That’s Too Far Away!

Seven years ago when I moved from Ohio to Ontario travelling wasn’t a burden.

I’d spent the previous eleven years living in a small town. Going almost anwhere – church, the grocery store, school, the gas station – required a vehicle. Sidewalks existed mostly in the older sections of town and not all of them were well-maintained. Often my mom and I would take a twenty or thirty minute walk without seeing anyone else on the sidewalk.

Friends would sometimes say, “I saw you out walking last weekend. Is everything ok?” It was  assumed that the only reason someone would walk is because they didn’t have enough money to drive (or had lost their license).

Enter Toronto, the walkable city.

Coming from my background it was strange at first to “share” the sidewalk with other people. Sometimes there would be so many people walking that everyone walked single file for several blocks!

I loved the idea of visiting three or four different stores without once climbing into or out of a vehicle but it was kind of funny to hear Torontonian friends say, “You want me to travel an hour just to go to dinner? That’s too far away!

Fast forward to 2012. I’m turning into one of those Torontonians.

An hour or two of travelling on it’s own doesn’t sound too bad until you realize you have to do the same trip to get back home. Before anything else happens, then, you’ve already spent 2-4 hours of your day just travelling.

Once you arrive at your destination you’ll probably spend at least that much time- if not more –  eating dinner, socializing and participating in other activities. It wouldn’t make sense to spend more time travelling than you do at your destination, after all.

Suddenly a “one hour” trip turns into a full 8-hour day and that’s if there are no public transit delays and everyone moves smoothly from one activity to the next.

I don’t want to become one of those people who stays in the same neighbourhood all of the time…but I’m really beginning to understand why it happens.

A one hour trip just for a meal? That’s too far away!


How has moving to a new area or spending time with new friends changed how you think?


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11 Responses to A One Hour Trip? That’s Too Far Away!

  1. The Wise Fool

    Great story about your change in perspective!  It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?

    I moved from a large city to a small town, but the city I came from was really just urban sprawl, not walkable at all like Toronto.  So it would take me 20-40 minutes to get anywhere in the city, by car.  It’s funny, but now that I am in the country, that same 20-40 minutes seems to take forever.  Perhaps because there is less traffic to focus on, or less buildings and people to see along the way.

  2. We love living where live…..but we would love to live in an area where we could walk everywhere. I am a country-boy but I do love the cultural complexity that only the big city can provide. Everything I have read says Toronto is a world class city. Some day we plan to visit…

    • I think you’d really like Toronto. If it works for your family, it’s better to visit in the fall or spring, though. Our summers can get really humid (and all of the concrete just makes the heat worse!)

      Let me know if/when you decide to come up. Drew and I would love to show you around. 🙂

  3. Twyseschoch

    I’m bothered by the need to drive anywhere not work related. If its too far for a bike ride, I’m second guessing it.

  4. Aaron

    fyi — the sidewalk situation hasn’t changed, they’re still empty. i’m about to take a walk right now (i practiced dui-avoidance last night…car’s at the bar).

    • Crazy stuff. I wonder what it would take to change that culture?

      Glad you avoided a DUI. 😛

      • Aaron

        not sure. during the school year there’s a lot of walkers around the college. The only other time there’s a lot of people outside of their cars is during the handful of parades/festivals during the year. those days are fun!

  5. Anonymous

    I was amazed a couple weeks back when my sister (who was in Portland at the time) drove 3hrs (one way) to have lunch with me! I do have to drive since Vashon is not walkable for someone in my condition, but I never drive more than 5 min. and I can’t imagine driving more.  Trips off island are major stress events and I get someone else to take me and it only happens a few times/yr.  But this isn’t the way it was most of my life–my perspective really changed when I moved to a beautiful rural island and realized I could have all I needed right here!  I did visit Toronto many years ago and was totally impressed by it and thought it was a very “smart” clean city!

    • I’ve always imagined that you lived in a much more rural environment. (Maybe because most of the pictures you share that aren’t of your pets are of the woods around your house? 🙂 )

      • Anonymous

        Well it is really rural and I am surrounded by trees and it is very hilly as well which is why walking isn’t an option for me.  But it is just a short ferry ride from either Tacoma (south end ferry) or Seattle (north end ferry) which is what attracts a lot of folks–rural but close to what most think of as important.  For me, I will just keep the rural–spent most of my life in cities and suburbs and I’m very tired of that.  My place is “small” by Vashon standards at only 2/3rds of an acre but that seems like a lot to me!  If I were going to live in a city, it would be one like Toronto, although Seattle does have good public transport also. Vashon has only a few stores, no traffic signals, and it is very quiet, liberal, weird, and kind!

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