My wife is Texan and the reason I ultimately came to live in the lowcountry. We met in London - I was working for an Oil Major and Sebrina was running a commodity trading floor in the city. We lived on the South Coast of England, married in an ancient church that had, in the course of its history, once sheltered Saxon farmers, offered sanctuary to an errant Knight and had seen Crusaders leave for Jerusalem. Our workdays were long and the commute to work often tedious. For those frustrated with the workday commute in Charleston, and I'm guessing there are many who have seen it change over the years, this is how they compare. And, although my daily commute to London is what I illustrate here, this scenario is comparable for many in major cities all around the US.
5:30a - alarm goes off, always too early no matter what time, no fixing that issue!
London: Dressed, fed, coffee'd and out of the house chasing the train to London from Arundel.
Charleston: Dressed, fed, coffee'd and watching the news, may water the vegetable garden if it's dry, lettuce, greens, tomatoes and peppers all growing nicely now.
London: Drop Sebrina at the station, back in the car heading for the motorway, traffic building and heavy fog rolling down the valley in the early morning so best keep the lights on.
Charleston: Finally get our young son out of the house, shoes on, homework in hand and buckle him in to the truck. He asks me if elephants like collard greens - random?
London: Hit the first jam on the A24 dropping down to Washington roundabout. Low winter sun doing little to chase the grayness away; watch that fog - it's freezing.
Charleston: Just got through the only 'jam' on River Road, headed for the Stono River Bridge, retro oldies playing on the radio, the early morning sunlight dappling through the branches of oak trees with hanging Spanish moss.
London: Get to the top of the A24 connecting to the M25 London beltway. It's moving at 5mph across 4 lanes of traffic. Crisscrossing lanes does not help.
Charleston: Mind drifts as we cross the Ashley River with the historic district of Charleston to the right, the skyline a silhouette against the warm, rising sun. Low fog on the Ashley River drifting out towards Ft. Sumter and on the horizon, a rare "three master" Man-o-War ship in the harbor. Take quick picture of what seemingly is a "step back in time." Drop son at Mason Prep greeted by Headmaster Kreutner.
London: Now on the M25 - a truck has thrown a tire so it's 4 lanes down to three. News on the radio is the usual doom and gloom, as that oftentimes seems to be the penchant among the Brits. It's started raining so at least the frost will be gone. Need to get gas, its $14.00 per gallon!
Charleston: Sat at my desk on Broad Street in downtown Charleston planning the day's activities. Construction meeting, Historic Charleston Foundation, walk to favorite downtown restaurant for lunch with Sebrina, visit two new short term rentals underway on Folly Beach with my daughter Sophie, finance review, collect son from after school care. It's a warm 74 F degrees and sunny all day. Spring is in the air.
London: Off the M25 at Heathrow, total logjam into Sunbury moving at perhaps 3mph. Cycle courier cuts me off and kicks the fender. This is indeed shaping up to be another typical morning commute - deep joy.
London: Line up for the car park at BP, i'ts now chucking down rain. I'm late so park way out from the main building. Get soaked walking into the office, first meeting in 5 minutes, I'm freezing and unprepared. Mood remains dark all day.
Charleston: Staff trickles in, the smell coffee comes from the office kitchen, we prop open the front door to catch the breeze - an open invitation to our Broad Street neighbors and tourists alike, to stop in and say "hello." I step to the porch and see the sun glimmer off the steeple of nearby St. Michaels Church. And so the work day begins.
NOTE: I could go on about some London commutes that took 4 hours or more - both ways - due to weather or accidents, but I think you get the point. Basically, for those still of working age, you may live longer and probably enjoy it more in the lowcountry and especially Charleston SC. So, why not come and check it out?
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