Retiring early means less time on the road
Thanksgiving is on the way. Do you shop on the Black Friday? It’s the time again to think about the gift shopping, which could be overwhelming. Don’t forget to set up a shopping budget, and follow it. And enjoy the time with family and friends.
This year, oddly I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas in China. Not many people in this village know about the two western holidays. I’ll miss the beautiful Christmas decorations in central Ohio, and the lovely snow.
Back to the topic. Today’s post is a light one: retiring early means less time on the road.
The Dalia Research report in 2017 listed the countries with longest and shortest commutes. That’s the total number of minutes people spend on the road every workday. I assume that’s the round-trip time. Here are the highlights:
- The shortest commute is Japan, with 39 minutes
- The longest commute is Israel, with 97 minutes
- US: 79 minutes
- UK: 73 minutes
- Germany: 60 minutes
Probably the commute time for each country doesn’t tell much, as the cities in each country vary a lot. I guess the data for each city matter much more.
For several years, my commute was 36 miles for the daily round-trip. If the traffic flew normally, it took me 1 hour (round-trip). But half of the time, the traffic was bad, and it took me 90 minutes.
Daily commute was not a fun to me. It was so exhausting, sometimes agitating. The driving in the winter could be very challenging when there is snow, sleet or ice. Most of the drivers in central Ohio are nice, but there are some rude and very aggressive ones. Thanks to my early retirement, I don’t have to drive through the rush hour traffic anymore.
Here is my story that happened 4 years ago, when I was still working.
$600 Christmas gift for myself – the car rear bumper:
In early December 2014, I was driving on the highway going to work. It was still dark in the early morning. The traffic slowed down, so did I. Then suddenly, one car hit the back of my car, and ran off like nothing happened. It was quite a shock and scare to me. Luckily no one was injured. I did control my car, and no other cars were involved.
Yeah, there are bad people on the road, and hit-and-run happens often. I managed to pull over to the shoulder. Out of nowhere, one state highway patrol officer showed up in front of me, like an angel. A nice couple also stopped their van on the shoulder, and made sure I was okay. I was so thankful to the patrol officer and the couple, and felt lucky in some way.
The incident was documented, but the troublemaker was never caught.
The rear bumper of my car was damaged. The amount was within the limit of my insurance deductibles. As a result, there was no need to even file a claim. I paid $600 to fix the bumper. What a nice Christmas gift for myself, a brand-new bumper!
After the accident, starting the next day, I kept getting calls on my cell phone while at work. The calls were from those shameless ambulance chasers: personal injury attorneys, and chiropractors. The stress was even worse than getting the bumper replaced. My curse and yell on the phone surprised my coworkers, as I’m quiet and polite, most of the time.
My point is that, daily commute is stressful, and has more probability to get involved in traffic accidents, no matter how good a driver we are. And the accidents make our life even harder.
Driving after retirement:
I don’t drive that much after retirement. Once a while, I got caught in the afternoon rush hour traffic. But, I become more patient sitting in the traffic, and feel how blessed my life is.
On the other hand, obviously my driving skills are not as good as when I was working. That’s probably the downside of retiring early. Every 2-3 weeks, I have to force myself driving on the highways to get a practice.
Dear readers, how’s your daily commute? Do you drive or take the public transportation? Is it a hassle to you?