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One year ago I started working at Meet, a pharmaceutical recruitment company based in central London, in their offices at the top of Euston Tower. With this came a whole host of changes to my life including a dramatic shift from working nights to now being at a desk during the day. With all of that in mind, it was my status change to ‘super commuter’ that most dramatically re-defined my life.
Unfortunately, I owe you an apology for the lie in the title. My commute is not luxury jet-setting back and forth from the clear sunny skies of Barcelona to spend my weekend sat on sandy beaches sipping on sangria. Think more of the stony south coast of Southampton with its luke-warm pale ales. I have travelled the equivalent of around the world more than 1.25 times this year (by train) and a have weekly commute of 1,000 km. It’s a 4 hour round trip with constant queues, broken down trains, delays and a scrum to get onto the train that makes the Black Friday Sales battles look timid.
There are probably a lot of you reading this thinking “Why one earth would you do it?”. Even by my own admission it isn’t an attractive selling point to my life. But the longer that I’ve been stuck on my sweaty, cramped, sluggish train from Waterloo the more I have come to appreciate the break from being plugged into the online world. Extreme boredom was the first hurdle I faced; I flicked through the Metro and Evening Standard even before leaving the station. I would then stare at my phone for the next 2 hours praying for the odd blip in connectivity that would give me a brief update to the outside world, questioning if the small villages had even advanced past dial-up when I wouldn’t get a new message.
But a year into it, my commute has become a chance to get involved in all the things in life that I just didn’t have the time for before. I have read more books this year than I ever did as a student, actually written letters to friends (I don’t think I had ever even bought a stamp before), along with a long list of things that I always wanted to do but always had a poor excuse not to. My personal and professional world currently sit a hundred kilometres apart and the debate between miles and square feet battles on. As much as the train time in the middle might be great and I might be ticking off personal goals, It's possible and worthwhile because of the two hemispheres I have at either end of the tracks. You can’t choose your family (who have been great for the record), but you can change your company. Meet have given me the opportunities, support and flexibility that make my journey worth it. Whatever the distance, however long the trip, is the destination worth it?
It might redefine your life and mine is certainly more fulfilled for it. Are you ready for the change?