Do you drive to work? Silly question, huh? Most of us are slaves to our cars, stuck in that ever lingering traveler twilight zone hovering somewhere between life and not quite life. It’s a necessary evil, one that literally drives some of us temporarily insane. Sometimes the drive to and from work can be more stressful than the actual job itself. In that case, it may be time to seek alternative forms of transportation. We all dream of escaping the gridlock grind by pressing a button on the dashboard and soaring into the blue in our flying car. Until those are available, the next best thing may be on the water. Here are a few lucky souls who have found their commuter nirvana.
Well, it seems we have coined a new phrase. “Canuting.” It sounds strange but the end result is nothing short of inspiring. Peter Kimpton used to cycle to work through the hectic London traffic. Now he’s traded in those pedals for a paddle, and his commute couldn’t be any less stressful. He competes with swans, geese, herons, ducks, and coots for space on the river ways instead of with cars and busses. He passes houseboats instead of concrete jungles. Needless to say, his ride to work is the highlight of his day.
How would you describe one of your typical commutes? Fast-paced? Stressful? How about the way others drive? Aggressive? Even reckless? Think about that for a moment and then take a gander at how Stephen Linaweaver describes his daily commute: “Conditions: sunny and absolutely bluebird. Number of seals spotted: 8. Amount of road rage experienced: none. Number of waves surfed: about five.” You see, Stephen is a San Francisco Bay area professional who has shed car in favor of a kayak, which he steadfastly paddles across the bay each day to work.
San Francisco is a great place, but it has nothing on Seattle as far as inventive commuters. Imagine sitting on a boat in Puget Sound and along comes a mature-looking professional gentleman wearing a three-piece suit—riding a jetski! Now imagine that the Sound doesn’t just have one snappily dressed hydro commuter—it has two. At least. Nat Hong and Bob Barrett both ride PWCs to work, and they will never go back. As Hong says, “the long drive didn’t make sense.”
It seems the Bay Area is a popular place for alternative commuting, and if they aren’t doing it by kayak or PWC, they are hitting the waves in their boats. Robert Noyer navigates his Boston Whaler through the busy waterways choked with ferries, tankers and container ships. He says it takes him about 15 minutes to make the jaunt across the bay, a commute friend of his who make three times more money are jealous of. “There’s no better feeling than getting on your boat and cruising to work,” Noyer says.