Looking back on our first few weeks of being car free. It’s been going pretty well so far – genuinely quite enjoying it! Here is one highlight from the journey so far…
Monday 11th October
This morning I arrived at the station just in time to watch the train leave. Again. The next one isn’t for an hour. This is the second time this week.
I’m now kicking myself for the handful of little, inconsequential conversations and actions that I could have managed without this morning. Each of the short pauses on my way here that weren’t essential, but could have won me those precious extra 30 seconds to get down on to the platform before the doors closed, instead of being stood on top of the footbridge listening to the engine rev up. Bums.
I’m on my way to an overnight training event. Difficult enough already being car-free without missing a train connection. I have all my stuff in a rucksack on my back (my new bike with basket and cargo rack on the back is due to arrive on Wednesday), and at the other end of this 30 min train ride I will have an 8mile cycle journey to do. My minimum journey time door to door was already at least 105mins (compared to 45mins in the car), now looks like it will be 165mins. Ugh.
BUT. Were all those little conversations and actions inconsequential? Or are they actually the stuff of life – what it is to be human? Missing the train was frustrating. Very. But this isn’t all that bad: it isn’t raining, I’m sat in the sunshine on a crisp autumn day, taking time to reflect on my life and choices, counting my blessings, slowing down and being more present.
I don’t fully remember the storyline of the film Sliding Doors – whether it turned out to be a good or bad thing that she missed a train – but for me today maybe it isn’t all that terrible.
(DISCLAIMER – I am obviously child free today, this would not be so easy or pleasant if I had one or both of my lovely children with me! But maybe then we would pop round the corner to a cafe, or find a game to play together… Maybe even that wouldn’t be so bad?)
Update after arriving:
Overall my journey today took approx 2.5 hours (maybe a little more when you also include having to take a shower once I arrived!), compared with approx 45mins door to door by car. Travel today was 30mins on a train, about 9miles cycling, and a bunch of waiting… Lessons learned:
- I am not as fit as I thought I was.
- I definitely need capacity to carry stuff on my bike (can’t cope with everything in a rucksack) – thankfully new bike should be here on Wednesday!
- Taking a slower, longer journey today was really enjoyable. I saw tractors pulling trailers full of potatoes and smelled the earthy freshness (and was glad they were going the other way not overtaking me!). I noticed trees and the rise and fall of the road. I’m also very conscious that this was a massive privilege and not something that everyone can always make time for (not easily at least).