Staring out of train windows

Normally when I travel to and from London I’m glued to my blackberry. I automatically think of travelling between A and B as wasted time if I’m not working, whether catching up on emails, writing briefing notes or reading reports.

Look around in any carriage and most people will be tapping away on a laptop or they’ll be glued to a smartphone possibly emailing or checking in on Facebook or twitter.

Rewind ten years and travelling on trains was very different. Yes it was a chance to do some work but you weren’t digitally connected in the same way. You very often had that most precious of commodities: time.

There is an almost overwhelming feeling of guilt if you’re not working if you’re on a train. We need however to have down time and thinking time. Some of my best ideas have come while travelling on a train while just staring out of a window. It’s a chance to daydream and let your mind wander. It’s a chance to have the space to think helped by the motion of travel.

So this week I decided to ration how many times I checked the blackberry or read paperwork that I needed to catch up on. This increased idleness felt liberating and refreshing: a chance to reconnect with the countryside as I whizzed through it letting my mind drift.

Yes I did send some emails but having the time to think felt good in a world where you’re always connected and something demands your attention.

It felt good to just stare out of the window watching the world go by and daydream.


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