Between commuting for work, travelling back to Scotland, and weekend trips here and there, I spend A LOT of my time on the train. So in the first of what is sure to be several posts about #trainlife, I have put together a few of my top tips on how to keep yourself entertained on a long train journey.
1) Get lost in a book
I don’t know about you, but I don’t read half as much as I would like to – between work; home responsibilities and seeing friends, it’s hard to find the chance to sit down and really get engrossed in a book from start to finish. Which is why a long train journey is the perfect time to catch up on your book bucketlist (or should that be booketlist?) completely undisturbed. Just make sure you don’t get so lost in your book that you miss your stop.
From smart phones, to tablets to laptops – technology these days makes it so easy to carry entertainment with you wherever you go. Services such as Netflix and SkyGo make it easy to download your favourite movies and boxsets wherever you are. I caught up with 6 seasons of Modern Family on train journeys alone. Virgin East Coast Trains (my favourite train company by far) have also recently introduced a new on-board streaming service, which with their free wi-fi, makes it even easier to find something to watch during your journey.
3) Get your brain working
Every summer as a child my parents bought me a new puzzle book packed full of brainteasers to keep me entertained on our summer roadtrips. Now, when me and the Yorkshireman, we pass the time taking on the codebreakers included in the tablet edition of the Independent. If you’re not an Indy subscriber you can of course find a myriad of puzzles and games online to keep you busy, or go retro and bring along an actual puzzle book.
4) Capture the moment
Who isn’t guilty of flooding their Facebook feed with snaps from their travels? (I know I am!) But pictures of your holidays make for some of the best souvenirs of your wonderful experiences. So why stick to just taking pictures at your destination? Rail journeys take in some of the most scenic routes you could ever hope to see – and make for beautiful photographs. The route from Leeds to Glasgow is particularly beautiful, whether passing through Durham and Berwick-upon-Tweed or taking the countryside route via Carlisle.
5) Let the music take over
Personally I find nothing more relaxing than popping in my headphones, tuning out the rest of the world and getting lost in my thoughts as I watch the scenic countryside roll by. Why not make a playlist to last the length of your journey – you can even theme it towards your destination. Off to London? Fill a playlist with London anthems. Heading to the seaside? Create a playlist of beach-inspired tunes. Just remember to bring your headphones – no-one wants to be that person playing ABBA to the entire train carriage (trust me, I speak from experience).
6) Get inspired
A long train journey is the perfect time to pick up that project you’ve been meaning to do for years but never quite got round to. Got a great idea for a novel? Want to record your travel memories in a journal? Fancy writing some music? Use your time on your train journey to whip out your notebook or computer and start putting those thoughts into actions. You might even find that your journey helps to inspire your ideas further.
7) Start colouring
Adult colouring books are all the rage, and are reportedly great for relaxation and mindfulness. So relive your childhood colouring fun in the most sophisticated way, with a book of intricate designs and a pack of good-quality pencils. Getting lost in the image you’re creating really does soothe you – which will come in handy when those inevitable train delays crop up.
If all else fails, catch up on your Zzzs.