All Aboard 

I do a lot of my blogging during my daily train commute to and from work. In recent weeks, however, this has been more of a struggle. The schools are back which means I have to battle through legions of orcish hordes (schoolchildren) every morning at my stop in order to board the express train to Belfast.

Often it is standing room only as the forty seats in each carriage (yes I’ve counted them) are already occupied by the time the train reaches my platform. As many people again then squeeze into the carriage as the conductor cheerily ignores every health and safety regulation in the book. This means that my travel experience usually involves staring at somebody’s armpit or trying to keep myself from being pitched headlong onto an unsuspecting fellow passenger’s lap.

I fully expect some morning to be asked to clamber onto the carriage roof or hang perilously from its side for the al fresco journey of a lifetime. No doubt Northern Ireland Railways will charge me extra for this unique travel experience. Until then I mutter to myself and endure the daily rat race in and out of the city centre. The sooner they invent teleportation the better I say.


On the rare occasion when there is a spare seat on the carriage it is usually a fight to the death between the two nearest standing passengers. I’ve seen some brutal standoffs along with equally impressive turns of foot in order to secure that much sought after vacant berth. The exception is where an elderly person is in the vicinity. On these occasions people generally do the decent thing and offer up the seat to the more senior traveller.

I always freeze in these situations. It’s a bit like holding a door open for a female colleague at work. Will they regard me as a chivalrous gentleman or an out of date sexist pig? At what age do you merit being offered a seat? 60? 70? Will they be grateful or offended? I personally dread the day when somebody offers me a seat on the train. It will be equivalent of the day I discovered my first grey hair or when I make a cultural reference in the office to be met with blank expressions from my younger co-workers. 

These are the trials and tribulations that I face every morning. I always get on the train, however. And I always reach my final destination. Sometimes the journey is more pleasurable than others but the end result is the same. Just like life. Sometimes we sail through life in luxurious comfort without a care in the world. At other times it is a mundane, uncomfortable slog. And occasionally you are literally hanging on by your fingertips as you hurtle down the track. 

Whatever lies ahead never be afraid to get on board. Whatever lies ahead. As a Christian I’ve had some hairy rides but on these occasions I just shut my eyes and ask God to get me through it. And he does. It just involves a little courage and a little faith. Don’t be left standing on the platform of life as your future flashes past you. You only get one shot at it. Even if it does involve the occasional elbow in the ribs or umbrella in the face.

What are your thoughts on this post?

Are you a commuter? What is your daily commute like?

Where are you on your journey through life?

15 thoughts on “All Aboard 

Add yours

  1. This was such a fascinating post, I’m certain there are cities here in America where the train is well used, I just didn’t grow up in any of them. Certainly the NYC subway was an unbelievable experience for my little southern Texas family when we finally made a trip there! While I could do without the rats, the people were amazing. Sleeping! All the way here and there, then popping awake like magic when their destination was reached.
    I use to work in downtown Dallas, Tx pushing paper when I was younger and the drive from outside the city into it was anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. My single mom had always worked in big buildings downtown and growing up that was actually one of the few career goals I had. I happily made my way to the big high rise buildings, as an 18 year old I thought it was pretty special. It’s amazing how things look more spectacular from the outside looking in. I imagine that trip will be much more enjoyable once cars drive themselves, although your sci-fi suggestion would be much more exciting!

    The one thing I’ve found in my life that doesn’t loose its glow, so to speak, is God. Everything else has grass greener, until you get there. With God, learning about Him in His Word, praising Him, praying to Him, it’s like a light that gets brighter or a pool that gets deeper. Thank you for your wonderful posts, I hope one day to visit your country, but until then I live vicariously through your posts! God bless you, brother, and your family.

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  2. I thought this was a really good metaphor. I’m not a commuter, but my dad is. I think his trip is a bit more peaceful. We live a few miles north of Boston. Thanks for checking out my post, by the way. 🙂

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  3. I’m not a commuter, but I did have the opportunity to ride a subway, bus, and train a couple of times this year. I found it anxiety producing because, being middle aged, I also had to judge the ages of those around me. I didn’t want to offend the people that looked about 10 years older by offering my seat, but yet felt guilty for sitting when others stood. Who said that midlife is not awkward anymore?? Regardless of age, I am happy to be traveling on this journey and not waving good-bye from the platform. God has my back so I can move forward..

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  4. Okay, so I finished writing my post for Sunday about the United Kingdom. First, I learned I cannot do this on a weekly basis haha with everything I read and research. Second, about Northern Ireland, wow. You were not kidding about the history. Like, I wrote a little bit about it, but it’s some murky water stuff. This was my thought when I read Northern Ireland.

    Do you write standing up? It seems difficult. I don’t like crowds. I once went to a grocery store and about had a panic attack because there were too many people in the produce. It’s like, “Are you people following me? Why are you all here?”

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  5. I used to ride the buses in Calgary, Alberta. One time, when I was 7 or 8 months pregnant and very big, someone got up and I tried to sit down. A business man sat down right in front of me! I had to laugh at that.

    When I moved to Kelowna, I was on a bus that passed the high school. Tons of teens got on. At the next stop some elderly people got on. The teens rose up and offered them their seats and they did that at every stop until I was at mine. I was very impressed. Never forgot it, because so many bad things are said about teenagers and I thought, see, they are wrong. Teens are thoughtful too.

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  6. I am commuting to my new job. Its all fresh at the moment i have been told i will soon get fed up. But at the moment it gives me a nice journey away from my home town for the day and i for me and what i have been going through it is only a positive thing for me. As you know my journey is recovery from my eating disorder and my depression in my life. The first step was to get a new job, a fresh challenge, something to peak my interest in my career again. Love the blog as ever…………………….. Anyone wishing to read please feel free to click http://mattchristianblog.wordpress.com

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