(picture: one snapshot I took on a fine morning on my way to work)
When I started my internship, I chose to commute by train straight away. I have a house contract in Manchester and Huddersfield is 30 minutes away by train (not as far as what most of you think!). I wanted to avoid the hassle of finding accommodation and moving as well as paying extra for my rent. Moreover, it would be a new experience for me. I’ve never commuted with public transport in my life (always by car or walking on daily basis), so I thought I’d give it a try.
I’d say that I’ve had enough of it and if it’s not necessary, I wouldn’t do it in the future. I know that for many people 1 hour commute seems normal, but yeah, I hate commuting. Probably because I’ve lived within walking distance from my school/university for the most of my life, so I’ve been conditioned into an easy life where everything is so close to me. But yeah, waking up 6 in the morning to catch a train at 7 in the morning is tiring. Thankfully I only have to do it for 3 months.
My favourite part of commuting
So well, I’ve told you about what I don’t like from train commuting, so now move to the good part of it. The best part of my train journey – oh my word the scenery is stunning! I see the beautiful purple heathers on the mountain, little houses surrounded by hectares of green grass, reflection of blue sky in a small pond and sheep with a backdrop o stunning mountain. These sceneries wake me up in the morning and calm me down after a tired day of work. Even after 11 weeks sometimes I still sit in awe when I see the beautiful scenery of English countryside.
The worst part of commuting
Of course, in the unfortunate circumstances when something breaks down and I get stuck in the station for hours. Just a few weeks back, a freight train broke down on the line and I had to wait in the station for 1 hour before a train came to rescue us. Major train delays happened twice during these 11 weeks, which is not very common, but once they happen they are such a pain. Cancelled train journey is the last thing I wish to happen after a stressful and tiring day at work.
What do you do in the train?
I normally commute with 2 other friends that work at the same place, so I spend the time talking and socialising with them. I love talking to people, so I cherish this moment a lot. When no one is commuting with me (for example if we go home at different times and so end up taking different trains), I listen to my audiobook.
Honestly, audiobook is a complete heaven to me. I love reading in my spare time, but I try to avoid reading in the train as it makes my eyes hurt and also prevent me from completely enjoying the beauty of English scenery. Hence, audiobook is the perfect solution for me.
Is commuting really that bad?
I think this depends a lot. For example, the journey I’m taking is not the most popular track in England, let alone UK, so seats are almost always guaranteed. The train is almost always delayed by 5-10 minutes, and occasionally major breakdown, but 5-10 minutes does not interfere with my schedule too greatly (I’ve never been late to work etc). So these 2 things make commuting really bearable. But honestly, commuting is expensive. I spend over £200 a month just for this. I calculated that if this continues for a year, it would add up around £3k. THREE GRAND. omg. That’s why I’d be better off moving to Huddersfield entirely if I get a long term job there. Commuting is also tiring because I need to add a time buffer so I don’t come late to work. Theoretically I could take the 7:40 train and arrive at work on time. However, this is under assumption that my train is never delayed or cancelled, which is a really bad assumption. So I have to take the 7:30 train. The problem is that I have to walk 15 minutes to the station, which means I have to start around 7:10 (5 minutes for walking buffer and looking for the train). But, there is a station which is right next door from my house and I can catch the train 7:07, which means I have to leave home around 7:00. So well, instead of arriving at work sweaty, I take the 7:07 train. So you see, even though I start work at 8:30, I end up taking the 7:07 train. This is why it’s tiring for me.
Tips for new commuter
Plan what you are going to do during commuting. I would advise against listening to music and do something productive – read a book, listen to audiobooks, do some work or do hobbies e.g. sewing or something like that. Even 15 minutes a day will add up to 120+ hours in a year. Don’t underestimate the hour spent on commuting.
Buy a season ticket, it saves you money if you are commuting regularly. Of course, not always, you need to do research and do simple maths about it. But it saves a lot of hassle in terms of the actual act of buying train ticket regularly.
Plan ahead for your first day and see how it goes. Add buffer (always!). If you think you are in a risk of arriving late, then for the next train use the earlier train. Adjust as you go.
Any experience on commuting? Any questions/comments? Drop a comment below 🙂
P.S. I will be travelling abroad next week, might take a week off!