As life resumes I have found comfort and solace in my alone time of morning and evening commutes. It’s one extreme to another, the ebbing silence of an empty house, peppered only by murmuring background TV and a cat purring, to a bustling office in Manchester. It’s a sensory overload for me and whilst I am thoroughly enjoying this ‘almost’ normality, it has made me crave even more that time alone with only the hum of an engine as I chug to and from work. It is for this reason I wanted to write about how I spend this time. As mundane as it is to some it is my haven, the reset button as it were, transitioning me from one person to another. My van is a super space machine that transforms me as I journey on the tarmac across the Northwest.
Time is precious we all know that and jeez I go on enough about it here so making the most of my commute is second nature. I spend approx 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening alone chugging along the M56. It might seem long to some and short to others but for me I find it enough time to take stock of each day, setting affirmations as the sun rises over the horizon and reflecting on the day as draws down behind me.
6am alarm, hot shower to wake up my body, coffee to wake up my mind and lunch packed to fuel my day ahead I hop into the van. I leave about a quarter to the hour and listen to the radio until the news bulletin feeds me the daily update, it’s mostly celebrity crap but who knows what could have occurred overnight. Once finished I switch onto my phone (freehand of course) I will have set up my podcast already before leaving so I hit the button and instantly my sanctuary is filled with conversation, one which I don’t have to participate in that I can simple sit back, relax and digest what is being said giving me thoughts to ponder or laughs along with the hosts:
The High Low
My ultimate favourite, there is something about Pandora and Dolly, their articulate response where no word is used unnecessarily but equally, it doesn’t feel too intense. The conversation is so varied of topics which I can relate to and they continue to introduce me to new books, podcasts, people and tv shows.
My second go-to is this lovely podcast because I bloody love food so anything around that topic is right up my street! Sometimes I find it a bit screechy and if you listen to it you’ll know what I mean but when you get over those moments the guests are riveting and the stories unearthed are better than your average interview.
How to Fail
A podcast I have to be in the mood to listen to. I find it hard if I am going through a rough patch as despite its positive spin on failing sometimes it just hits a little too close to home. That thankfully isn’t too often so when I am up I enjoy listening in to see how I can develop and evolve to ensure I don’t associate failure with sadness in future.
That Peter Crouch Podcast
Firstly, please understand I have no knowledge of football. This harks me back to being in school as that was the era of Crouchy. The comical discussions on the life that surrounds a footballers are one that seems so out of reach and then I hear the down to earth discussions, the humour of lads banter and the stupidity of the events and occurrences which makes for light-hearted listening and a real belly laugh commute.
No Such Thing As A Fish
If you want something to listen to avidly then these guys have a backlog of many many many many episodes none of which seem to date. Jam-packed with facts and fun chat this podcast is a brill way of feeling you a have achieved something before you have even set foot in the office. Just promise me one thing you won’t go round being that annoying person trying to share the facts learnt…noone likes a know it all!
One thing I will say which is totally worth it is Spotify premium. Yes, I may have been under a rock trying to stick it out listening to shitty adverts but I wish I had done it sooner. As my commute can stretch to over an hour on occasion I couldn’t bear the constant flow of repetitive ads and for the pitiful price I most define get my pennies worth.
So that’s my morning routine in a nutshell. Now onto the post-work slog home.
For me, a positive mental attitude is key to finishing the day. Work may be hard but leave the negativity in the office. I have a brief walk to the car park so use that time to take deep breaths, feel the cool air and rush of oxygen. I mull over the day in my head and let the wind blow it from my thoughts. To be totally honest a lot of the thoughts tend to revolve around what I am having for tea unless it’s been an eventful day. I have swapped out my caffeine for my bottle of water so I am topping up my energy levels naturally so when I get home I am not zonked! After hopping in I share my location so my partner knows to get tea on (that thing I have been thinking about constantly yes!) and I get my iphone connected. Upbeat tunes fill me with happiness and I love nothing more than belting out my favourites (whether I know the lyrics or not I may add!) Bringing the sound from the bottom of my lungs I am better than Beyonce, I have more reach than Mariah and tones to top Tina Turner. There is no better feeling than being a total weirdo in your sanctuary and this routine of mine has me smiling regardless of the day I have had. I don’t care if anyone notices and in-fact I relish the idea of someone peering into their mirrors and seeing me putting on a show!
My top belters are:
Lizzo – anything any song I couldn’t tell you even 50% of the words but making it up is a hilarious outlet!
Anderson .Paak – Come Down
Rex Orange County – Loving Is Easy
The Maccabees – Toothpaste Kisses
Are You In Love With A Notion – Courteeners
The moral of this story is simple, make your commute as pleasurable as possible, be positive and don’t let the alone time spiral thoughts or add unnecessary stress. Switch on and off with the click of the engine.