I am often asked how I got into my current life style of spending a lot of my time away in the woods or up a mountain somewhere or in a river.
The short answer is South West Trains and open plan offices.
I used to work in Central London in an open plan office. My day began waiting on the platform at Richmond train station for a train that was always full. I would get there over an hour before I needed to be there to try to find a place to cram myself into on any train that was passing.
90% of the time, the first train slow down at the platform at about 7am and as it moved slowly past I would see hundreds of faces pressed up against the steamed up windows and a look of hatred and disdain on the faces of those already inside as they considered that yet another person was going to try to squeeze onboard this already grossly over crowded train.
As the doors opened, people literally fell out onto the platform as the doors were the only thing holding them in.
I would let that train pass and wait for the next one only to find it in a similar condition of a train carrying two to three times the number of people that it was designed for, all of them paying the full fare too.
Some mornings this would go on for 4 or 5 trains until eventually I would be able to squeeze on.
Then I would endure, along with my fellow inmates, a 30 minute journey, breathing in the fumes of the night before from the man next to me and being overpowered by the woman wearing too much perfume behind me. Usually there was nowhere to hold on so you would just use the passengers around you to absorb the blows as the train moved around. Everybody was touching anyway.
A sought after and hotly contested spot was in the corner by the door. This was you could lean on the wall and you would get a gulp of fresh air as the doors opened at a new station. Unfortunately this made you vulnerable to being pushed and buffeted around by other passengers trying to get in or attempting to get out. I would often see people unable to make their way off the train in time and have to go on to the next stop.
One time, I saw a women, presumably a tourist, actually give up her prime corner standing up spot to allow somebody off the train, before she could get back on somebody else pushed in front of her from the platform and stole her place.
Commuting in and out of London is a dark, dirty and awful business in which a moments kindness can see you pushed off the train and delayed for an hour.
Once at the other end I was supposed to tackle the similarly unpleasant busy underground network but preferred to power walk the two or three miles to get to work.
At work, a noisy, hot and smelly open plan office awaited in which nobody could get any peace and concentrating on work was impossible.
After 8 or 9 hours of that it was back on the train again for more of the same. Usually I would get home at about 8 or 9pm depending on the trains.
It´s an exhausting existence and once you finally make it out to the other side in the evening, doing anything other than sitting quietly is out of the question.
I think a normal, healthy mind can only handle this kind of torture for so long before they crack.
After repeating this day for years, one day it dawned on me that the only reason that I was doing this was to earn enough money so that I could afford to live in London and I only wanted to live in London so that I could work in the high paying job that I only did so that I could live in London.
The absurdity of it all hit me and I immediately quit my job and left london.
If you are looking for a way out, nature usually has the answers and I can help you to find them.
Don´t suffer the rush hour again, check out my new website and it´s training and expedition packages here and leave that behind.
For April 2018 – reader of this blog can get 20% off a trip to *Arctic Sweden with me using this coupon code openplanofficesarenotefficent
*It is the very end of Winter and the beginning of Spring so the exact conditions will not be known until we arrive but expect below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing during the day. Expect to be going in the 3rd of 4th week of April 2018. Contact to be sure of the details.
Bringing a friend of two is allowed, contact or give them the coupon code to ensure that they get the same discount.