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Commuting from Sacramento to San Francisco

Update 7/19/2011: I recommend using Amtrak if you are commuting from Sacramento to the bay area. Amtrak is faster than driving, safe, and always on time. The time spent “commuting” on Amtrak is actually VERY productive time. With a proper wireless access card or phone, you can spend that time working or reading just as if you are in a coffee shop or university library. If you are taking Amtrak, I recommend going to Emeryville Station and using the connecting bus rather than transferring to BART. The transfer to BART, although is a bit more convenient, is less safe and less comfortable in my opinion. In fact, the Amtrak service is so good. I do not consider it “commuting” at all. I view it as finding an extra 3 hours in my day to completely focus on my work, or nap time.

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When I tell people I commute from Sacramento to San Francisco every day, they usually grasp and tell me I am crazy. A lot of people can’t fathom the idea of traveling that much every day, or waking up that early to start the commute. I usually wake up at 5am, get ready and out the door by 5:30am. From then I drive down to Vallejo and take the ferry/bus to San Francisco at around 6:30am. After about an hour, I am in San Francisco with a 10 minute walk to work. Usually by 7:45am, I am at work and ready to write in this blog :).

My trip home starts at around 5:30pm, in reverse order as above. I am usually home by 7:30pm or 8:30pm depending on the afternoon traffic. For a web developer like me, my drive to continue working on side projects or finishing up my office work usually takes me at least to 11pm before I shut my eyes. Some days I get so caught up in my projects I literally just pass out at 2am.

I know, my day sounds pretty crazy, but I chose to live this way. I certainly don’t have to be in the office by 7:45am ( I have to be in by 10am ), but I choose to because I am way more productive in the morning. Also, if I don’t choose to commute early, the commute becomes significantly longer because the highways get crowded at a later time.

Although I am completely fine with my waking hours, I find that it is pretty taxing on my life. Because I get so little sleep, I get sick very easily. In fact, today I am feeling pretty bad and I am getting chills. But regardless, I choose to live like this because

1) I love my fiancee and can’t stand to be away from her for even a day. I know this sounds crazy because when we are together, we usually spend that time fighting, but for some reason I find it hard to be away from her.

2) I really hate living in the bay area. Everyone I know seems to enjoy the busy hustle and bustle of the city, I don’t. I find city life to be extremely stressful and chaotic. I rather waste 4 hours of my day commuting rather than settling down in the bay area.

3) I have to commute because as a web developer, my job will always be in the bay area. I do not see Sacramento being a technology center any time soon. Also, there is a void of great talent in Sacramento which makes it hard for me to draw and get inspired from (with the exception of a couple of great developers I met in my meetup group.)

4) If I live in the bay area, I will be a renter for life. I do not see how I afford a house in the bay area until I am like 60! And even if I could, why would I spent more than half-a-million to buy an old box that’s edged up along side another old box (that’s my view of housing in San Francisco).

Anyways…. That is this morning’s random entry. Do you have a crazy commute story or work life habit you want to share with me?