KENOSHA, Wis. — The saying “the road less traveled” often means taking a path others typically would not.
Seth Weidmann’s commute to work certainly fits that description, in a very literal sense. He traded in his four wheels for a paddle, a lifejacket, and a dry bag back in May.
Yes, he kayaks to work.
“I live close enough to work that I can bike, or walk to work and I thought this would be a way to get to work differently,” he said. “It’s been working out really well.”
He and his wife downsized to one car during the pandemic. Her commute is further than his, so she got the wheels. For Weidmann, all the better. He realized working from home made him miss his morning commute to the office.
“It’s a time kind of like a typical commute where I’m thinking about the day and what I have ahead,” he said. “It’s atypical from a normal commute because it forces me to focus more on what I’m doing and makes me be more present.”
Weidmann’s destination is Carthage College, which is just a short 30-minute paddle from where he lives near the shore of Lake Michigan. He has worked there for about seven years as men’s head swim coach.
Ironic and fitting.
“It’s about wanting to embrace water and loving water,” he said.
From his quiet Kenosha street, waves can be heard crashing in the distance. It’s a particularly choppy day on the water. Luckily, he knows how to prepare by now.
“I have lunch, my computer, and everything in a dry bag, which I trust pretty well,” Weidmann laughed. “It doesn’t get completely dunked, but it can get wet when it’s choppy.”
A vantage point others may never experience. Seeing his city and his campus from a completely different point of view. He said that’s what he loves most.
“What’s amazing besides just how beautiful the lake is, is just the different perspective it gives me,” he said.
For those who know Seth well, his lifestyle is no surprise. It mirrors who he is as a person.
“He gets the job done, but he knows how to take a more relaxed approach to things,” said Beth DeLaRosby Murray, the college’s head women’s swim coach and Weidmann’s friend of 20 years.
“He’s a very caring person, both to the athletes and to co-workers,” she said. “He has gone out of his way to make sure people feel included.”
Weidmann often bikes and walks to work too, even during the winter. He said he tries to promote sustainability to the athletes he coaches as well.