From 1999 until the late summer of 2006 I worked in downtown Toronto but lived in Hamilton. I took the GO train to work because it was an easy walk from Union Station in Toronto to the Peter Street office where I worked. The whole commute was about 3 hours per day.
I filled a good part of my commuting time on the train reading and writing. In fact, in the first year of my commute I composed the first draft of a novel. (Interestingly, as I began to make more and more friends on the GO train, my productivity decreased. Yes, chatting with friends was fun, but it had a negative impact on my writing)
I traded the 3 hour daily commute in shortly after my son turned 2 to work at Titles Bookstore McMaster University. I was barely seeing him, and the 10 minute commute to McMaster was a delightful change. It was good to return to the physical world of bookselling and fascinating to re-learn all the things I'd spent the previous fourteen years learning. Academic bookselling was an entirely different beast with rules I was simply not familiar with.
My time at McMaster was a good one.
But, after five years, it came time for another change.
I decided to leave right after the last Rush period this year. The last day of September 2011 was my last day.
It was difficult to leave a job that I quite enjoyed and was so passionate about. But I was leaving to partake in a incredible new journey, a delightful new role and for a company that I had admired since their very first days.
I started as Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo in October 2011. Having spent the past three years building up a self-publishing business via the Espresso Book Machine at McMaster, it was the right move at the right time for me. I got to expand upon an activity that I was incredibly passionate about and return to a similar role that I enjoyed when I was a data-wrangler before I left for McMaster.
The only down-side, it seemed, apart from being able to regularly work on the sales floor and put books directly into customer's hands and all the greatness that comes from that face to face interaction with book lovers, was a return to the commute.
And, given Kobo's location in Toronto, it wouldn't be a simple GO train ride. The passenger train route would likely add an additional half hour to 40 minutes to each way's journey (if I wanted to start as early as I like to start each day). The other option was to drive in.
Admittedly, I was worried about the daily drive in to Toronto.
But I have made the best of it.
With audio books.
Yes, even on the days where the traffic can be nail-biting, steering-wheel poundingly frustrating, I just sit back and listen to either the slew of podcasts that I subscribe to or one of the many audio books I have enjoyed since starting my job. Since the beginning of November (less than a month and a half), I have listened to 9 audio books.
For a person who values reading, and has always wanted to get more reading done but not been so good at reading quicker nor finding time to get as much reading done as possible (you see, whenever I spend a good deal of time that I could be reading writing - another passion that I hold dear), this daily commute has been a blessing.
In less than two months I turned what would have been wasted time into the consumption of books that would normally have taken me 4 or 5 months to read.
Got to love that.
So, three cheers for great audio books.
Three cheers for filling in my time with a useful, worthwhile and delightful activity.
And three cheers for an exciting new job that I adore!
If anyone is counting, that's nine cheers. The same number of audio books I've "read" so far since I've started my new job.