Every New Year the travel card prices in London increase, not by much but over time quite a bit. Towards the end of 2015 I got a new job in the city, I worked out I could get one straight bus to the Aldwych area and walk the rest of the way, a total journey of 30-45 mins on a good day. When I first started the job I was leaving at 7:30am to get to work for 9am; the traffic wasn’t bad at this time and the bus sailed all the way through my journey normally getting me to work for 8:30am once I got my coffee. A couple of weeks into the job I started leaving later and later thinking I had time to get to work for 9, and boy was I wrong. As soon as it hits 8am in London the traffic is chaos. The buses terminate early after spending 20 minutes stuck at a junction and there is always some sort of delay going on. The worst part is that most the time you don’t even manage to get on a bus as they are too full. After a couple of attempts of trying to get on a bus one day I thought “Screw it” and started walking to work. It took me an hour exactly and is roughly 3.5miles. In the New Year I stopped buying travel cards and got new trainers and began walking (almost) every day.
- Saving Money. I ditched my Travel card for walking which is FREE. In London £80 is the price of a Bus Pass where as if I took the underground which I used to do in previous jobs I would spend £120-£140 depending on Zones. Now I still use my oyster card (London Underground Travel card). I top up money at the beginning of the month as I go to aerial further away from home which requires I get the train and to go to my second job but they are not a daily occurrence or always a regular occurrence, it would be wasteful to get a travel card to cover the zones they are in as it would be more expensive than my regular travel cards.
- Exercise. I didn’t realise how little I was doing each day if I didn’t go to the gym. Since getting my Fitbit I have realised that without walking to work or going to the gym I am barely even clocking 2 miles per day. Most of what I do is just walking to make a cuppa or going to the loo. Since walking to work most days I get in at least 3.5 miles and that just a journey to work. On a good day I will do 10 miles, to and from work and time in the gym.
- Feeling better. I work in an office job where I sit down all day, it’s easy to get into the habit of snacking at your desk and not moving much, I don’t know about you but I tend to feel very bloated and fat if I’m sitting down all day and not getting any exercise. Since walking to work, I feel a lot less aches and pains, I’m able to digest food better and feel less bloated. I also have way more energy, the cold morning air is waking me up on the way to work.
- Guilt. I feel less guilty about scoffing a pack of biscuits when I know I’ve done a bit of exercise. Somehow feel like I earned the treats I eat.
- Sightseeing. When you’re sitting on London transport, it’s so easy to put your head down look at your phone and ignore the rest of the world passing you by. Since walking I have noticed so much more about London and began to appreciate many more things on my route. I walk past so many things depending on the route I go, I have the opportunity every morning and every night to see Big Ben, The London Eye, The Shard, St Pauls Cathedral and many bridges, markets, museums and cute little cafes and shops I might never have noticed before.
- A Break from the Gadgets. I do not look at my phone the whole way to work as I find pedestrians that do that rather annoying, they don’t look where they are going and drift and block other people’s way. Also if I keep looking down my nose and eyes water and then I have make up running down my face and look a total mess by the time I get into work. I sometimes have my headphones on to accompany my walk, I put on a playlist and just go, but that’s about all in the way of tecnology.
- Fresh(ish) Air. Since walking I have got the bus/tube/train a couple of times, and only then have I noticed how unhygienic it can be. People coughing a spluttering all over you, doing their make up on public transport (spreading germs all over their faces), the endless supply of rubbish sprawled all over the bus/tube/train. These are just a few examples of things I personally can’t stand. Even though London is rather polluted walking will give you fresher air than being in a packed tube carriage pressed between a sweaty stranger and a filthy partition.
Overall I’m enjoying my walk to work. I get to wake up later, I feel more energised at work and feel fitter. Even if you can’t walk all the way to work maybe you could get off a stop early and add in a few more steps/miles into your day.