Four hours a day may seem like an exaggeration and you’re right, it is. I currently travel for roughly 3 hours 57 minutes. I round up, you caught me.
I currently live in Wollongong and work in Sydney. I leave the house at 6:30am on the dot. Any later than this and I will end up sprinting onto the train illegally without a ticket (much like today). The train leaves at 6:39am and whilst I can usually get there in about 6 minutes I often seem to find the slow drivers or I can’t find a park that’s not a 3 minute walk away. I then sit on the train for over an hour until about 7:52am (if the train is on time) before I walk between platforms and wait a few minutes to catch the train to the right station. My train usually gets into the station at 8:05am and from there I walk and roughly walk into the office at 8:22am.
In the afternoon I have to leave work early to make my train or else I have to wait like half an hour for the next one (beauties of living in Wollongong). So I leave work at 5:20pm, again this is very calculated however if I leave later I can manage it but it’s a big rush and includes praying for there not to be a line at the ticket machine which there almost always is. I catch the 5:39pm train back to the station I switch at and usually with about 8-10 minutes to spare depending on how on time everything is running. I get my train at 5:56pm and arrive at my Wollongong station at 7:14pm, by the time I walk over the station to the other side, walk to my car, and finally drive home, it’s usually 7:27pm. So essentially for the sake of being short, I leave at 6:30am and get home at 7:30pm.
Why is this good? There are obviously many ups and downs. I prefer to try and see the good in things so I’ll do the pros to long commutes first;
Because it’s a train, I never have to worry about traffic. I will be at work at the same time everyday provided something doesn’t happen. I don’t pay nearly as much as I would to drive. I am also able to sleep should I get tired. The trip is genuinely beautiful and the track runs through national park with incredible sea views as well. It’s inspiring for my writing. It forces me to make the most of my time and either meditate, listen to music, watch ted talks, listen to podcasts or write. I’m actually learning a lot because I have four hours of learning built around a day at work. I have also kickstarted my love for reading and so that’s always good for personal development (obviously depending on what type of books you’re reading).
A blessing and a curse is the fact that there’s very minimal reception the whole way, and by that I mean, I don’t even bother trying to get reception because it’s so patchy. So for the whole first trip, I rely on predownloaded podcasts and ted talks, or other forms of entertainment that don’t require reception. Old school.
A con is definitely that I have to share with a lot of people and sometimes I have to wake people up to get off and all that, which is pretty stressful. I don’t have any leeway with travel time which is hard bc I’m often late (much like this morning). When I’m late and don’t get a ticket, I spend the trip praying that I won’t get a fine which is actually very stressful on the body. Changing stations is also very stressful because by the time I need to change, there are that many people on the train that I almost get off a stop early. When I’m on the short train, I got via the airport which means that people are much more unforgiving, slow, tired and cranky so again I get stressed about getting on and off the train because sometimes I have to go far into the carriage only to come out a few stops later. Often you get very loud inconsiderate people. I’m currently having to listen to someone’s full dubstep playlist because they are playing it through their headphones at what I can only assume is full volume.
All in all, it gives me four hours of time that otherwise would have been lost in Facebook, instagram, Snapchat, sleeping and doing nothing else of value. This has forced me to organise myself, make breakfast every morning because my lunch time I’ve been up for almost 7 hours sometimes. It’s taught me a lot about time management. I used to sleep on the train everyday but then I’d get home at 7:30pm after an hour nap and wouldn’t be able to sleep until 1 in the morning. Anyways, commuting isn’t always bad. Public transport is better for the environment, it’s easier because you don’t have to pay someone and whilst it may be longer on average, I’ll never be late for work because the traffic was bad.