Let's face it, no one particularly enjoys the process of commuting to and from work, regardless of how they make the journey...'
For me, that commute is a 50 minute drive from a little village in North Wales to a slightly bigger town in Mid Wales. I live 32 miles away and travel on country roads that take a fair bit of concentration.
This isn't just because the roads are small, but also because there's always a truck or bus using up part of the oncoming lane. Or an errant sheep that's decided to test the theory that the grass really *is* greener on the other side.
Anyway, I find my drive is massively improved by a number of factors...
As bizarre as it sounds, the thought of my commute, on a freezing cold winter morning in rural North Wales is a million times easier to cope with when I have coffee. I own a Nespresso and a Dolce Gusto machine, as well as the uncanny ability to purchase instant coffee in the supermarket. For my morning drive, only the best will do. Drinking nasty coffee will not make this woman look forward to driving on country roads. Quality coffee, on the other hand, makes everything seem a little less 'meh'.
I love a cappuccino made with pods in the Dolce Gusto with and a shot of flavoured syrup. As I drink average instant coffee during the day, having this little treat makes getting up a bit less depressing. I use a Thermos mug to keep my coffee hot. This also stops me scalding myself when negotiating corners, which can never be bad.
Clearly, I'm not able to take a book in my car to enjoy while driving to work as it would likely end rather badly. However, though I miss out on relaxing on a bus or train and engrossing myself in a good story, there are plenty of options for amusing myself. If you've read the blog before, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of country music. I'm an even bigger fan of singing along with my favourite artists. Listening to the same tunes each day can get a bit monotonous, so I like to switch it up.
I subscribe to Audible's audiobook service and have a huge range of books. As the stories are ongoing, however, I do tend to favour downloading shorter podcasts. I can usually fit in a full episode in the time it takes me to get to work. Unlike Audible books, podcasts are free of charge and cover a brain-addling range of topics. My preference is true crime, but you can pretty much find anything topic you like.
While I like perfecting my singing or keeping up to date with ways to infiltrate serial killers on my commute, I don't always use the time productively. I get bored easily, so I do like to chop and change what I do of a morning and evening. Given my travel time is unavoidable, it makes sense for me to use it wisely. Therefore, I can be found, several times a week, tuning in to my Spanish podcasts in order to refresh my skills. You can look a *touch* odd, sat at traffic lights, chirping away to yourself, but don't let that put you off.
Learning a new skill, or keeping an existing one fresh, is a great way to spend your commute. It also needn't be a chore. I work 4 days a week, which involves a 50 min drive x 2 on each of those days. I might do a spot of singing on a Monday morning (when I *really* need some cheering up) and practice my Spanish on the way home. The next day, I'll tune into a book and then a true crime podcast later on. The main thing is to keep it interesting. A train ride or drive can seem way longer than it actually is when you're bored rigid.
In an age when I talk to my friend's son's Amazon Echo and instruct Alexa to bark at her cat (true story), it's easy to work remotely. I quite like using the voice notes function on my phone to build lists of things I need to do. Obviously, this is easy for me as I'm in the car on my own and have no one to annoy.
Obviously, on the train, this might seem a little odd. However, in that situation you can type it instead, can't you? I use voice notes for potential blog posts; tasks I need to do during the day and, more often than not, lists of podcasts I want to download. It can be a pretty neat way to get your life in order.
Again, this isn't possible for everyone but it can be useful for those who commute to work by car. When I worked for a local authority in Scotland, we had an internal notice board for this. Employees would list details of their commute and leave it open to others to join in and share driving duties.
Being an introvert, this sounds like my idea of hell, but not everyone likes to be alone as much as I do. Also; if I put on some of my true crime podcasts with someone else in my car, my buddy wouldn't be my buddy for long. However, as well as company, it can also drastically reduce your petrol costs. This, therefore, gives you more money to spend on good coffee, no? Exactly.
Yellow Car Game
This is what people play with kids to keep them from asking: are we nearly there yet???...'. Don't let the fact that it's a children's game in *any* way put you off. I live in the country and the only yellow thing around me is the trim on someone's John Deere. Therefore, I have to stay more local with: 'How Many Mansell Davies Trucks Can I Get Stuck Behind In The Space of 50 Minutes?'. Or the wildly successful 'How Many Sheep Will Launch Themselves Off The Tal y Llyn Pass This Morning?'.
A game I inadvertently played last week was 'Can I Make It From Dyffryn to Machynlleth Without Any Water In my Window Washers?'. This game isn't advised (believe me) but it does add a element of danger to an early morning trip. And If that doesn't keep you on your toes, nothing will.
What do you to spice up your daily commute?