It's dark and cold. The alarm clock flashes 4:30 a.m. Danny Finlay drags himself out of bed and mentally prepares for the two-hour, 72-mile commute ahead of him. And that's just the first half of his journey.
For almost a year, Finlay, 30, has been commuting to the San Francisco Bay Area from the rural town of Dixon, California, where he lives with his wife, Mireya. Previously, he traveled two hours to his job in Oakland. Now, he goes even further to his new job as an account executive at public relations firm SutherlandGold in San Francisco.
"I'm usually in the car by 5:10," he tells CNBC Make It. There isn't normally a lot of congestion that early, "but once I start to progress, maybe 20 miles in, traffic will start to hit because you're getting into more populated towns as you get closer to the Bay."
He doesn't drive the whole way, though. On days he's feeling tired, he says, "I'll usually drive about 20 minutes from Dixon to a town called Fairfield, then get on a bus for 45 minutes all the way to El Cerrito." From there, he takes a 45-minute train ride into the city and walks another 10 minutes to his office.