Stress-less or simply less stress?

22 Nov

That is the question of the day. But either way, I have come to the conclusion that whether my life here in Spain is stress-less or simply just has less of it has an awful lot to do with leaving the driving up to the public transportation workers. Today is Thanksgiving in the US and I am thankful for Spain’s wonderfully reliable public transport system!

I was talking with my adult students at the Academy this evening and decided that one of the biggest reasons my life is defintely less stressful is that I no longer have the worries and frustration of a car and being a driver. No more idiots cutting me off. No more interminable red lights. No more racing through yellow lights to gain 2.3 seconds to get to work on time. I leave all that up to the bus drivers now. All I have to do is make sure I pay attention and get off at the right stop! (I almost missed my stop today because I was so focused on reading what everyone was thankful for on Facebook on my mobile phone.)

During our conversation, I explained to them that in the part of Kentucky where I come from that yes, there is a public bus system, but that it is certainly not as reliable and efficient as it is here in Bilbao. And that actually, Louisville CUT bus services because not enough people used it. Here, there are thirty-five (yes, 35!) bus lines just inside the city limits (Bilbao is about 400,000 people.) Each line runs every fifteen to thirty minutes daily, in a constant swarm throughout the city. There is also the regional busline which has close to one hundred routes that service the whole province (that would be like the whole state of Kentucky) on a daily basis, transporting people back and forth between cities. Bilbao also has the metro (subway) with two lines and a third one under construction. I never have to worry about getting somewhere because a bus or the metro will get me there.

I also live bien comunicado. Well-situated. There is a bus stop across the street from house and another one block away. The metro is a ten minute walk. That definitely helps. But even if I didn’t, I would enjoy every minute of my walk because I am no longer the one fighting the traffic!

Granted, I will admit, I have to walk. Sometimes a little farther than I would like. And I have to carry things. Not always convenient. But guess what….You walk when you go to Wal-Mart or Meijer. Look at how far you walk when you park your car. That’s about the distance I walk to get to the bus stop from my house. A nice walk outside is refreshing and the exercise is good for the soul. I have learned not to shop impulsively and not to buy things I do not need which helps a lot when it comes to carrying things home.

I sometimes miss the convenience of a car, especially when I am tired and don’t feel like walking the last block uphill home (yes, I live at the top of a very steep hill and no matter where I go, it is ALWAYS uphill home.) But overall, public transport has definitely alleviated my stress level and for that I am thankful!

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