When I am asked “how long is your commute to school?” and I respond “an hour and a half.” Everyone’s immediate reaction is amusing to me. “What?! (they gasp) Your commute is an hour and a half? How do you manage to survive such a long commute?”
Here is a breakdown of my daily commute; Metro-10 minutes, Cercanias-45, Bus-25, and a 10-minute walk to get to each destination. Nevertheless, I want to be able to help relieve some stress or anxiety for anyone who has discovered that their school placement isn’t near the city center of Madrid. Please don’t be alarmed or discouraged if your school is away from the city.
Four Ways to Make the Most of A Long Commute:
1. Podcast Galore
This is a great time to download and listen to any podcasts that catch your attention. I highly recommend Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday." Followed by Duolingo's "Spanish Podcast." Look at the different topics that may interest you, they are a great distraction during your commute.
Right after class and my tutoring sessions, I have discovered the best way to wind down & relax is by meditating. While I am on the Cercanías heading back to Madrid I use "Peaceful Meditation" since I go home at 7:30 p.m. I have noticed that hardly anyone is on the Cercanías. According to Healthline "Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health." Here's a link where they list the "12 Science-based benefits of Meditation to help inspire you to take advantage of meditation during your commute: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation
3. Pick Up a Book:
When I lived in the U.S I rarely had enough time to read a book. That’s why I truly enjoy my 45-minute Cercanías ride to and from school, it allows me to indulge in a good book (after I meditate). Right now I am currently reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (I highly recommend this book!) Even when you take a moment to observe everyone else, a lot of individuals are reading. This is also a great excuse to go to a local bookstore and find a book.
4. Explore Outside the City Center:
My school is near “Alcala de Henares” which is a city northeast of Madrid. Monday-Thursday I have two hours of free time before I go to my tutoring sessions. This gives me some ample time to explore Alcala. I've also become a regular at "Manolo bakes" a pastelería where a cup of coffee and their famous manolitos are less than three euros. If you have the joven abono card go to Alcala de Henares, it's free! I highly recommend that you visit this beautiful town!
Ultimately I can safely say; “You got this.” Once you get to school and see your students smiling faces (and getting ambushed by their hugs.) That hour and a half commute won’t be so bad after all.