Credit: SBB

How My Daily Commute Brought Me Back to Writing

Switzerland is the land of commuters. And even here, I probably break all the records. I spend an average of three hours a day commuting between four different places: home 1, work, dance studio and home 2.

I live in Fribourg (home 1) and in a small town near Zurich (home 2), work in Berne and dance in Zurich. Go have a look at a map of Switzerland and you’ll realise I’m all over the country (it’s a small country though…).

(Not So) Annoying

Sounds annoying, right? And even more so if I tell you that Zurich – Berne, a stretch that I frequent almost every day, is among the busiest railway routes in Switzerland? The route is so busy that the Swiss railway app gives you a warning: ‘This train is particularly crowded.’ Sounds great…

But on my night-time way home from the dance studio to home 1, the trains are empty. When I let my body fall into the seat, it almost feels like home.

At first, I’d just sit there, read the news or watch some videos on the iPad. One day, I absent-mindedly opened Medium. I hadn’t looked at it in a long while. And I saw this publication. My publication. The place where I once announced I’d write every day.

Too Busy to Write?

Looking at my publication, one question overarched all my other thoughts: Why did I stop writing? What happened?

The day on which I made the decision to write every day was during my summer holidays. I’d just finished my Bachelor’s degree (well, almost…) and had one more month of free time ahead of me before I’d start my new job. Under these circumstances, writing every day is a piece of cake.

There was no time left to write. Or so I thought.

But the day I stopped writing was the day when the holidays were over. I stumbled into that new life I described earlier (the one with the two homes, a job and dance in four different places). Suddenly I was busy again. There was no time left to write. Or so I thought.

Except the three hours of commuting every day… I, however, never realised this time might be writing time. I could certainly not focus on writing on Switzerland’s busiest train, and not in the early mornings either (my brain just won’t let me do it). I never thought of the late night rides.

Until that evening, when I took out not only the iPad, but the keyboard with it. I started typing. And here I am: Welcome back to writing, Karin.