Every morning hundreds of thousands of people traverse Austin’s congested roads to get to work. Most of them have probably thought: There’s got to be a better way.
This is the story of one man who found it.
Jason Dzubinski, the chief operating officer of Westlake Dermatology in West Lake Hills, lives on the north side of Lake Austin. “As the crow flies, where I work is actually really close,” he says early one morning standing by the lake’s edge before he begins his commute.
There’s just one problem: His work is across the water. For years, Dzubinski drove.
With traffic, he says, it took about an hour to reach a place that was only a few miles away. Then it took another hour to get home.
“For a long time, I was thinking about how I could overcome that,” he says. “I considered swimming, but the lake kind of smells.”
Then, six months ago, he bought an inflatable kayak.
Now, two days a week at around 7:30 a.m., he walks to a park near his home, inflates the kayak and puts it in the water.
“There’s a certain amount of peacefulness in the morning,” he says, “when the water is like glass and you can hear the birds.”
He rows to the other side of the lake in about 10 minutes, deflates the kayak and stuffs it in his backpack. Then he begins a long hike through some of the city’s most desirable lakeside neighborhoods, clad in a rash guard shirt, a wide-brimmed hat and black compression socks.
There are no sidewalks, so he sticks to the shoulder of the road, passing well-tended lawns, the occasional dog and a few people who wave or stare quizzically.
Dzubinski says his commute has struck a chord with people.
“I’ll [usually] post something on Facebook and maybe I’ll get like nine or 10 likes,” he says. “But whenever I post about my commute … it really spikes [to] 40 or 50 people.”
“I think there’s something universal about our hatred of traffic,” he adds.