Commuting in the build-up

Do you thrive on routine like I do? Nearing the end of our time in Darwin, I reflect on the commute of my workdays (which is almost every day). By the time I leave, I’ll have travelled over fifty times to Lucky Bat Cafe and back home by bike, a short but hot six-kilometers on a mixture of bike paths and roads. I always need an hour for the sweat to dry up. Anyone who has lived in Darwin’s build-up season knows the feeling. Only once did it rain, a tropical downpour (see photo of my bike sitting in the storm before I built up courage to start my commute) that resulted in my orthotics needing to be dried over the next two days.

Darwin storm

Wouldn’t it have been easier to drive (that is, by hiring a car)? Yes. Isn’t life back in Melbourne, where I can walk to a workplace, so much more convenient? Yes, truly. Yet a short strenuous transition (my Darwin commute takes twenty-five minutes) has much to offer. It clears the mind of “life” or “work.” That uncluttered period seems to stimulate the mind into new ideas. And, most important of all, the commute signals intention. Twyla Tharp, in her classic The Creative Habit, first brought home that point to me. Tharp felt that her morning creative routine began with rousting herself up early to get to her gym workout. I’ve felt that same sense here in Darwin: the steamy ride announces “I’m on my way to a blistering day of work.”

Indeed my only regret over these weeks has been that my commute period has varied from 8 AM to 10 AM. Better would have been a clockwork 7 AM. But that’s not a real regret, as I had precious things to do earlier.

Back in Melbourne, will it be possible to signal intention in the same way? Maybe but I’ll need to imagine the trigger step with some creativity.

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