This is written for anyone who dreams of getting out of his or her damn car and finding more time and space to be free for leisure.
*Disclaimer: We are so used to being overworked and extremely busy in our culture that it might be WEIRD and uncomfortable to have leisure time. You will have to get reacquainted with yourself and you will need to find a hobby stat. My current hobbies are working in my garden, cooking (well, it’s eating really), looking for animal tracks while walking through the forest, and reading.
You can claim your time back.
The last school that I worked for (much love YC!), I spent roughly eight hours a week commuting (and buying petrol) because I was teaching at two locations. Per month it added to roughly 32 hours. Now that I am teaching online, I am trying to be more aware of my driving habits. By the end of this week, I will have driven twice for a total driving time of one hour and 30 minutes. With my free time this week, I learned how to make pad thai, mushroom and sun-dried tomato risotto, and curry. (I live in a small town. Here it’s cook or eat pine needles.) I watched butterflies frolicking in the yard, and I learned that the color of an eggplant blossom is purple. I probably should have guessed!
You can live anywhere with a solid Internet connection.
Where do you dream of living? Would you like to spend some time working abroad or would you prefer spending more time at home? Which would you choose, a tropical island or a Mediterranean climate? This is one of my favorite benefits of teaching online. We won’t be moving anytime soon, but when we do maybe we will move here…? Or maybe onto our boat?
You can spend more time with your furry friends and wear your slippers to work.
Yes, this is a ridiculously sweet benefit. My husband and I recently adopted a kitten from the pound. This is me at work, and yes, I am wearing slippers.
You will do the planet and those that live here a huge favor.
Cars and trucks account for about one-fifth of U.S. emissions. Emissions, such as CO2, trap heat next to the planet and too much heat next to the planet is bad, just like too much heat in your upstairs apartment without air conditioning is bad. Except in this scenario, we can’t bust out the box fans and put them in the windows. According to this article by the Union of Concerned Scientists (btw, not a bunch of hippies, but rather the girls and guys that excelled in science classes in high school and college) https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/car-emissions-and-global-warming, “Global warming endangers our health, jeopardizes our national security, and threatens other basic human needs. Some impacts—such as record high temperatures, rising seas, and severe flooding and droughts—are already increasingly common.”
Please do something.
If you fly, you can buy an offset. Which carbon offset should I buy?
If you don’t fly, you can be more aware of your driving habits and make a commitment to drive less. If you have already made such commitments, I would love to hear them.
If you are on a tight budget, you can volunteer with an organization, such as the Sierra Club or XR, and demand change, or you can write letters to our political leaders, or you can blog like me!
For me that change is to try to drive less. Online teaching has many benefits, but the one that motivates me most is the one that I feel I can do the least about. I have begun to track the amount that I drive, and I am trying to cut down where I can. I have made some sacrifices in moving my career online, for instance, I am currently not making as much as I was in a traditional face-to-face setting. However, I am also tracking what I will be able to save in car related expenses. I might come out even after cutting costs and spending less, but that information will be for another day and another blog.