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The manual of the imperfect commuter: what you need, what you don't
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Estimated reading time
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The manual of the imperfect commuter: what you need, what you don't

The life of a commuter is tiring – and that's a fact. However, if you’re able to do it sensibly, in the long term it can lead to a strange form of dependence. Actually, having to withstand the strain caused by endless travelling is the greatest risk of all: of dehumanizing yourself, plainly said. This is why style matters: it’s payback time.

London, 1919 - photo credits: H.F. Davis / Tropical Press AgencyLondon, 1919 - photo credits: H.F. Davis / Tropical Press Agency

The first step: wave goodbye to the old commuter

The first step was to make over its name, in order to give it a new image. So, the old-style commuter resigned to his fate makes way for a new type of traveller with a proactive attitude. He's made a choice: public transport is the only motorised way of transport he’s going to use. Trains, the underground, aeroplanes, steamers, buses, bicycles, walking. No cars, motorbikes, mopeds, spaceships or yachts.

You have to share both the strain of it and the time spent waiting around if you want to be a good commuter who turns commuting into a choice, to be pursued with pride. A bike ride or a short walk, half-an-hour spent reading, a pair of headphones and a computer where you can finish your work or start working on something new: lost time is recycled and turned into time well spent. Even the merciless delays of the typical Italian stopping train.

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The perfect commuter backpack, according to us

Here, in the office we can count at least five seasoned commuters, some are young and have just started, some are ex-commuters and others are long-distance commuters. This is a list of what the perfect commuter – or the aspiring commuter – should carry in his backpack:

  • A water bottle or a flask. Or a coffee thermos for mornings.
  • Food. Nothing out of the ordinary, but can’t have absolutely nothing.
  • A book. And then a second one when you’ve read more than three quarters of the first.
  • Large noise-cancelling headphones or an earpiece.
  • An electronic device for your favourite music, iPhone or not.
  • A battery charger for the electronic device for your favourite music.
  • A monthly LTE internet plan of at least 4 gigabytes.
  • Your trusty laptop or tablet.
  • A toothbrush and comb.
  • A magazine for times when you loose your concentration.
  • A thicker sweater.
London - photo credits: Neil Hall / ReutersLondon - photo credits: Neil Hall / Reuters
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aHead wireless headphones
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The same destination for everyone

A commuter carries a well-equipped backpack. But how to spot a real one, and tell him from any other traveller? Silence reigns around him. A commuter might weave or nod to another person who often travels in the same direction, but as soon the train starts each person focuses on his own interests: chatting is reserved for the platform, to the unavoidable wait, reduced to the minimum by habit and experience.

London, 1967 - photo credits: Fox PhotosLondon, 1967 - photo credits: Fox Photos

Some commuters go by car, some leave their bicycle at the nearest station, others have a bicycle that folds in half and can be carried to the end of their journey, when they unpack it and cycle to the office. Every large metropolis has its own style, but you can find scooters zigzagging between underground stops in Paris as well as London. Cycling is more common as we go up North – although if you think about the climate, this is an idea which beats logic.

Without a doubt, there’s something which brings all commuters together. Their favourite destination, the main goal which is the same for everyone: getting home. I’ll see you later.

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