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Travelling around on a train

This year, somewhat by accident, I am travelling to all of our bookshop crawls (except for London) by public transport.

in a lot of ways trains are the perfect transport for me - when they're not delayed or cancelled of course! They're quick, you get to see interesting stuff from the window, and generally get a lot of time to read, listen to podcasts, or do last minute planning. Although the more connections I add to a journey the more it exacerbates my anxiety - which is generally already high due to being a person with social anxiety deliberately putting myself into social situations with strangers - I also have learned to give myself a lot of extra time each side of when I need to be somewhere in case of delays and things, and so far this year that's meant that I've arrived in time to have other great experiences, or just time to relax that I wouldn't have if I were driving and parking and rushing about.

Of course there's always the problem of how many books to take along for the train on the way to a day or weekend spent buying more books, but I'm slowly learning that unless I'm extremely near to the end of a book I don't really need to take more than one (the stress I feel even writing that is very real...) because I'll undoubtedly spend half the journey staring out the window, or (as with my entire journey to Oxford back in March) listening to One Tree Hill re-watch podcasts (if you're a One Tree Hill fan, I highly recommend Drama Queens). As long as my headphones are fully charged, I have a portable charger (absolutely essential and basically the only thing besides my phone and wallet that I actually need for a bookshop crawl these days) and my book, I'm good to go. I've also got both Libby and Borrobox on my phone so I can borrow ebooks and audiobooks from the library in case I unexpectedly finish my book. So there are many options!

Through train journeys I'm able to put together so much of the geography of the UK that I never learned at school, and I often joke with people that I only know where anything is because of bookshop crawls and it's honestly mostly true! I spend a lot of time staring at maps putting together itineraries and so forth and it's been very good for my sense of location. Travelling by bookshop is the best and most interesting way to travel, and you get to have interesting conversations along the way.

This weekend coming up I'm travelling to Bristol, not by train but by coach (because the biggest issue with the train is how prohibitively expensive it can be, especially on certain routes, and the coach saved me over £50). I'm lucky enough to have wonderful family to stay with in the area, so I'm combining a very full on weekend of bookshop crawling (it's part of Bristol walk Fest, so we'll be walking even more than we usually do on a group bookshop crawl!) with spending a bit of time with them, and hopefully getting some reading done during the 3 hour each way coach trip!

When we're taking everyone on a bookshop crawl (that is, me, Rhys and the kids) we tend to drive, because honestly it's easier and we can carry everyone's book home! But if I'm going on my own, or Rhys and I are going without the kids, then public transport is the way we go and we love it, despite the strain the extra books put on our shoulders...

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