• 15 Tips for a Successful Train Journey

I’ve commuted to uni for just over a year now and slowly have found a love for going on the train. Why? Because I have found several ways that you can enjoy your journey, no matter what mood you’re in. I’m a bit of a strange character –  lots of people see me as quite the extrovert, but I am quite introverted… (I get pretty nervous about talking to people and I cover this up very well!) I’m saying this as if you’re an extrovert or an introvert, these tips for a successful train journey will hopefully appeal to you as I can cater for both types of people; because I have aspects of both of them!

  1. When you see the train approaching your platform, try to get your 007 head on and rapidly search for a double seat WAY before the train stops. Then, POUNCE. Get to the doors as soon as POSSIBLE. If there is already a bloke at the doors before you (and if you are a girl, like me) smile at him sweetly. 9 times out of 10, he will smile back and say the words you were hoping for, “After you!” Then jump onto the train, and literally POUNCE on that free double seat, put your bag down on the other seat and enjoy your stranger-free journey. HOWEVER, if this is during rush hour and the train is really busy, I really wouldn’t suggest putting your bag down on a free seat…by all means, if you see a free double seat POUNCE on it, but don’t take up the other seat with your bag. It’s just harsh on the other commuters during that busy time of day!
  2. Try and always grab that window seat! You definitely have way more elbow room!
  3. If you are alone on a double seat and if you REALLY don’t want to sit next to some weirdo, here are a few deterring tips: eat a really smelly packet of crisps (Cheese and Onion or Smokey Bacon work the best); pretend to be asleep and put your bag in between your seat and the other seat (so you’re not being harsh by fully covering up a seat, but you’re doing it enough so they won’t sit there); pretend you’re ill (cough and sneeze a little).
  4. If you really don’t want something from the snack trolley, at least smile and acknowledge the trolley attendant. (They must get ignored all the time!)
  5. If you need to pee, make sure you press the ‘LOCK’ button. Thankfully I have remembered to do this every time. But you do hear the stories.
  6. Also, GIRLS, it says above the seat, ‘Do not flush whilst seated’. I’d obey that command if I were you. I’d hate to know what might happen if you disobeyed it.
  7. Don’t play your music really loudly – if you do, people will get pretty agitated with you. That’s not fun. As much as I’d love to listen to the kid with greasy, black hair listening to ‘The Darkness’, it’s really not what most people would want to hear.
  8. Make friends with the guard. Smile at him. Have a bit ‘o’ banter with him. He’ll LOVE it, and it makes his journey a lot better as well as yours. Also, always have your ticket and rail card ready when the guard comes, way in advance. No one likes to fumble around with their purse/wallet.
  9. If your train is delayed, don’t cry or get too stressed. Okay, it is very stressful; trust me, I’ve been there. But, if you really are stressed about your delayed train, chances are, someone else is probably pretty peed-off too. So, drop a random comment to someone about how annoyed you are. Then, (hopefully) the conversation will start to flow and you will have made a new friend! This happened to me with a woman called Kathleen once. We were both stressed out because the carriage was full to the brim with people as there had been a delay in a previous service, we got talking and she told me about her life. We talked the whole way, exchanged names and she will forever be the old lady I befriended on the train!
  10. If you are travelling late at night, WATCH OUT. There are a few strange people about. Be tactful, keep yourself to yourself and try not to engage in conversation with anyone. I was travelling back at 1am from a night out at uni once and a sweaty, skank man started chatting me up. He then told me about his son and how he doesn’t appreciate half-term. So I replied by saying, “Oh yeah, that was me a year ago, when I was at school!” That put him RIGHT OFF! 
  11. If you are on a table (where there are 4 chairs) and you are sat with people you don’t know, catch one of their eyes and smile at them. Engage in conversation if you can, as you are having to spend the rest of the journey looking at one another! I did this once with a guy called Ben. We laughed and joked the whole way to my station, it was great!
  12. If you are sat by the window and someone has confined you in so that you can’t get out and you need to get out at the next stop, glance at them to see what they are doing; they might be reading, staring straight ahead, or worst of all – ASLEEP. If they are having 40 winks, cough lightly. If that doesn’t work, cough louder. If that doesn’t work, cough louder and slightly kick their leg. That will work. Guaranteed.
  13. Don’t eat meat on the train. That is rank, smelly and not cool. (Unless you are trying to deter someone from sitting next to you, THEN GO AHEAD! Great shout!)
  14. If you are listening to music at a reasonable level, remember that people can’t hear it.  Don’t jig around. Maybe tap your toes a little, but don’t jig and do ‘the shuffle’ to The Party Rock Anthem, because I’m afraid people can’t hear your music. (I’ve made this mistake.)
  15. If someone is sat next to you watching a film on their iPad, don’t watch what they’re watching. It might not be pleasant. A woman was sat next to me once watching a VERY rude scene between a man and a woman. It was awkward.

Stick to these tips and you’ll have relaxing/funny/safe/great train journeys!

Big love, Whitey, xx 

• 37 things you might like to know about my life….

1. What was your favourite food when you were younger?Snapshot_20130407_18

Definitely crisps…actually it still it my favourite food now…so much love for Cheese and Onion. ❤

2. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Say – John Mayer played 423 times

3. What is one of your favourite quotes?

“A woman whose smile is open and whose expression is glad has a kind of beauty no matter what she wears.” Anne Roiphe OR  “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3v17

4. What’s your favourite indoor/outdoor activity?

ZUMBA! Or it totally used to be Trampolining (I did it for 6 years but wrecked my back! Sad times!)

5. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Washing up – I avoid it at all times – I can’t deal with the tiny scraps of food left on plates, makes me vom!

6. What is your favourite form of exercise?

Dancing, Zumba and going for mega long walks on the beach.

7. What is your favourite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

Time of day – 10.30pm…not tired, not wide awake, just mega chilled. Love it! For some reason I love the thought of Fridays, probably because the colour of Friday is purple in the Radio Times and I love purple…and I love June (lush), August (my birthday) and December (Christmas!!).

8. What’s your least favourite mode of transportation?

Coaches…I puke every time…it’s not attractive. I was always the kid who sat right at the front and STILL felt ill. I’ve never been the cool kid who sits at the back of the coach…GUTTED.

9. What is your favourite body part?

Haha, AWKWARD…I genuinely don’t have a body part of mine that I like…but erm, I think ankles are pretty cool I guess….

10. What sound do you love?

Laughter. 🙂

11. If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?

A Strictly Come Dancing party! I’d get all of my favourite guys and girls together, dress up in posh dresses and suits and learn how to do ballroom/latin dances. AAH it would be amazing. It would probably be for my birthday or something random like that!

12. If you could paint a picture of any scenery you’ve seen before, what would you paint?

Well my Dad’s an artist so he’d probably paint it for me, but it would probably be Glencoe in Scotland – so darn stunning.

13. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

Ooh this is a hard one, but probably about 7 years old! Fun allllll the time!

14. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Easy. Morgan Freeman. Not because I particularly want to learn anything (even though he’s probably a fount of knowledge) I just want to sit there all day listening to his epic voice…

15. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

Jesus, when he was alive on Earth, that would be amazing.

16. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Play the piano. I totally regret giving up the keyboard when I  was 8! 😦

17. If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Give it away to a worthy cause – but keep some so that I can give some to my fam, buy some crisps, and maybe another camera.

18. If you were reincarnated as an animal/drink/ice cream flavour, what would it be?

HAHAHA, what??! Weirdest question EVER. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I guess if I had to choose, combining all those three options I would be a lion who peed out J20 and I would taste like Honeycomb.

19. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

The female version of Yoda – because that kid is EPIC.

20. What did you want to be when you were younger?

A vet, because I LOVE all animals!

21. When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Facebook! Ha! Or play with my dog! 🙂

22. What would you name the autobiography of your life?

PALAVA.

23. What song would be the soundtrack to your life? 

I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston)

24. What was one of the best parties you’ve ever been to?

My one when I was 8 years old. It was AMAZING.

25. What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?

I cry at everything. The last film that made me cry was 30 Going On 30, when Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner kiss in the playground. The last thing on TV was Casualty, and the last book to make me cry was The Hunger Games – Mockingjay…the ending just had me balling, I had to hide from my family it was so upsetting…

26. What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

SO many things have had to make me stronger in life; but I’d say most recently, was getting a job as a sales assistant – it sounds stupid, but I totally feel that I can talk to any person of any age at ease without awkwardness. You get so many randomers in my department store, and you just have to learn how to talk to people and this has totally made me stronger!

27. When was the last time you had an amazing meal?

EASY. Prezzo for my 19th birthday. Caramelised onion on garlic bread = best thing ever.

28. What do you miss most about being a kid?

The pressures of the world didn’t really affect me then – now there is all this stupid pressure to do all of this stuff that most of us don’t particularly want to do, but most find themselves doing it to “fit in”. Not cool!

29. What is your first memory of being really excited?

When my Mum was late picking me up from school when I was 5 and I saw her in the distance with a dog. That cheeky little rascal turned out to be Flinty, my first proper dog, a beautiful Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel who to this day I still love dearly. I was SO excited! He passed away on the 25th March 2010 and I’ll love him forever.

30. Worst injury?

I kicked my football behind the shed when I was younger so I ran to go and get it and I got a bamboo stick stuck in my leg. There was blood everywhere! It was horrible when it was taken out!! OR when I was 3 I tripped up a step and split my chin open…to this day I still have a big scar on my chin!

31. Are you wearing socks right now?

Yes! Epic ones! I LOVE socks, I get slightly obsessed by them…they are black with tiny orange, red and yellow flowers on them!

32. Last food you ate?

Heinz Spaghetti, toast, cheese and cucumber…one of THE best dinners you can ever have. Try it.

33. What are you listening to right now? 

I’m listening to The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby…one of my favourite songs ever! OLD SCHOOL.

34. Last time you got stopped by a police car?

Thankfully this has never happened. But twice in driving lessons in 2011, I slightly crashed into the curb in fear of police cars behind me. My driving instructor was not happy.

35. Where do you want to go in the world?

The Grand Canyon.

36. Bananas or apples?

Bananas ALLLLL the way.

37. Favourite artist/band?

Coldplay are my favourite band! Mylo Xyloto is the best album ever! And artist would have to be David Gray! Great man.

Now I’m bored and only made it to 37 questions…I hope you enjoyed this crazy little blog!

Sarah, x