As promised in my last midweek update, this post is going to be all about my ‘commuter essentials’. As of yesterday I have now been travelling by train for 8 weeks. Anyone that knows me will know that I don’t travel light. I am also pretty sure that many of the things I am carrying around with me just don’t need to be there. I either carry them out of habit or perhaps these things have become security blankets ‘just in case’.
Aside from the clutter in my bag these commuter essentials needed organising to make sure my new commuting routine was a relaxing one.
This was the most important thing that I needed but I left it right to the last minute. The night before I was due to start taking the train I discovered that my old pass was nowhere to be found. I ended up having to pull out some odd-Pippy-Longstocking-looking-photos for a new travel card which was created on the morning of my first day with just minutes to spare before my train arrived. Thankfully the lovely lady at the ticket booth was pretty speedy and there wasn’t a queue. I do remember being told off for doing this last time.
It goes without saying really, my smart phone is my biggest addiction after tea and cakes. I forgot it one day a few weeks back and was completely lost without it. It was the only day that I really needed it too which is always the way.
Thankfully the Chiltern trains provide you with charging sockets on all of the table seats so if you’ve forgotten to charge your phone you can give it a quick blast on your journey. Out of appreciation I thought I should at least invest in a new charge cable that doesn’t have any frayed wires hanging out. These cables often don’t last long so I don’t buy the official ones any more and as long as I plug them into the little Apple approved 3 pin plug they seem to work fine. I managed to find a light up cable from Flying Tiger for £4 so it’s nice to have something a little different.
I picked up a really cheap pair of in-ear headphones from Flying Tiger as I thought I’d probably end up losing them in the first week. Miraculously I still haven’t lost them but I did discover 2 things:
1. Some people [when talking on the phone] can actually speak continuously without breathing.
2. Not all headphones are created equally and really cheap ones do not drown out the voices of incredibly loud people.
I am now in the market for some mid-priced headphones that will block out all noise without driving everyone around me mad due to sound leakage.
New books to read
There have been some books that I’ve coveted for a while but knew I didn’t have time to read. As soon as I started commuting by train I looked for them online. The same day, just as I was about to order them on Amazon Prime I saw a video about an ex-soldier that went to work for Amazon and how soul-destroying his job was because of the company culture.
I started to feel very guilty about being part of this process, a cog in this wheel of ‘products on demand’. I was also thinking about the impact this mentality was having on my local high street and how I could wait a few days for the books and there really wasn’t any rush.
I did a bit of price-matching with my local book stores and I am happy to say that good old WHSmith was the same price as Amazon. I chose 3 books, 2 for me and 1 for my partner and while that qualified for free shipping I arranged to get them delivered to my local store for free. I ordered them on the Wednesday evening and they were ready to collect the following Monday after work. In the meantime, I had some free copies of Stylist given to me on my walk to the train so there wasn’t any need to rush after all.
I’ve already read my 2 books and my partner said I will probably finish his book before he gets time to read it himself so I’ve now started on book number 3. It feels really good to cross those two books off my list and I’m really glad I chose them as they definitely lived up to my expectations.
Small notebook & pen
My previous notebook had to be seriously downsized to be light enough for carrying while walking to and from the train station. I didn’t mind carrying the brick when driving but it adds some substantial weight to a long journey. I made this cute little geeky notebook to be portable and matched it with my shiny Etsy pen.
When I’m driving in my car I have tissues and mints in the door stash or door pocket as I believe other people call it – so these are things I forgot to pack in my bag. I had a bit of a sneezing-fest on the train and was trying not to spray my germs across the carriage so was catching my sneezes. The results of which was not a pretty sight. Never to be repeated.
I’m sure my commuter essentials will change as I get better at streamlining the contents of my bag. I’ll keep you updated on any special or super useful purchases that I make that will help make my journey smoother.
Do you have any travelling or commuter essentials that I haven’t considered?