There’s something poetic about trains, whether it is not being quite as fast as an airplane, nor as comfortable as a car, possessing a certain old-school feel or simply being able to see everything pass you by in a split second.
Growing up, trains were somewhat of a myth for me – never on time and always taking far too long to arrive anywhere. My reluctance towards trains had been sparked by the fact that, by the age of 17, my only experience with them had been a cross-country train that did actually take a whole day and smelled of chicken soup. As any self-respecting 10 year-old I was very quick to pass judgement on anything at the time so that is when I wrote off trains as a viable mode of transportation.
This summer, however, trains and I had to build a very solid relationship during my 1h30 commute to work. Commuting is hard. Commuting can drain every single spark of energy your coffee might have built up in you that morning and it definitely isn’t for everyone. There was hardly anything romantic about the fast train I was on for 40 minutes every morning and back again every evening this summer. There were, however, strange men sending obscurely sexual messages on even more obscure mobile phone apps (who has the energy for that at 8am?) and people I had briefly seen around the office but tried to avoid making eye contact with before I had had my morning coffee.
Close to the end of summer, just as I was feeling like my work life had completely taken over my personal life, I decided to try an optimism lesson my mother had been trying to teach my overly realistic self for ages – seeing the good in everything. Instead of focusing on the early wake up call and the crowds I had to fight at the train station I turned towards the 15-minute countryside walk to the office and that romantic feel I used to always attribute to trains – and I filmed everything. It’s strange how easy it is to be critical and unhappy whilst letting great things pass you by, unnoticed. When you do stop and take a second look around though, you might be surprised by the good side that was always there but you were leaving behind by getting caught up in a routine.
That being said, I would always recommend looking for the good in everything but always, always avoid any commute longer than an hour – that makes everything a hell of a lot more difficult.