If you live near or in a city, it is inevitable that you will have to commute, one way or another. Commuting itself is pretty stressful anywhere, even for neurotypicals, so you can imagine how hard it would be for someone with high functioning autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. This becomes doubly hard for those who live in a third world country like the Philippines, where trains do break down in the middle of your commute, and the heat can sometimes be unbearable.
When I was younger, before the advent of Uber, I had no choice but ride the bus and the train, and I had to walk from whatever station I got down from to my ultimate destination. I was able to survive those days, even though I did get pretty tired and it stressed me out most of the time.
Because of this, even now, with the convenience that Uber has, I ended up coming up with several tricks and hacks to make the commute a little bit more bearable. So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Tips To Commuting Around the City.
1. Research and Plan Your Commute One Day Beforehand- If this is your first time going to a particular place, regardless of whether you are driving or taking public transport, make sure that you research where exactly you will be going to, and know what routes you will take. If you will be taking public transport, already plan out what you will be taking and how many times you will have to switch rides.
2. Give Yourself Enough Time to Get Lost and to Anticipate Any Problems (Traffic)- Whether you are driving, taking public transport or walking, make sure that you factor in your travel time with traffic, or how long you know waiting in between rides would be. Also, give yourself enough time to get lost. For me, sometimes I end up getting lost while around the city, so I make sure that I have enough time to get my bearings back, calm down, and navigate my way to where I’m supposed to go, without being late for whatever appointment I have at the place I’m going to.
3.Memorize Particular Landmarks- Regardless of whether I’ve been to a particular place before or not, I always make sure that I take note of particular noticeable landmarks in order to make sure that I am headed the right direction or am near my destination. If this is my first time going to a particular place, I try to ask around or research what particular landmarks I can take note off. This also works when you are riding an Uber, train or bus as well. When I used to ride trains, I took note of particular buildings and billboards we passed along the way to particular stations. The same goes when you are riding the bus or a car.
4. Use A Public Transport Pass and Use Their Persons With Disability Pass If They Have- Waiting in lines is definitely not fun, whether it is a bus stop or a really long ticket line for a train. For trains, in my country, it is definitely better to get some sort of transit pass card, so you don’t have to line up for the ticket, and same goes for the bus as well. However, if they do have a particular card for persons with disability, I suggest you use it. I recently got one for my bus transit card, and despite the fact that it announces to the world that my bus fare is discounted, it does help as they let me be in front of the line with the Senior Citizens, and I’m also allowed to sit in the first few seats in the front of the bust.
5.Utilize Apps That Will Help You With Your Commute- If you are driving or riding an Uber, Waze definitely helps a lot, as it not only helps you figure out what time you should leave to get to your destination at a particular time, but it also helps figure out the fastest routes you should pass. When I ride an Uber, I always have my eye on Waze, to make sure that I’m going in the right direction, and that I’m going to where I’m supposed to go. Google Maps also helps a lot, especially when I am walking instead of in a car.
6. Choose the Less Crowded Train Car or Stay in Areas Designated for PWDs, Senior Citizens, and Women- One thing that is daunting when it comes to commuting via train is the fact that you can sometimes end up in a really cramped car with no room to breathe at all. If you have enough time on your hands, if the first train is too full for your liking, take the next train. The trains over here reserve the first few cars of the train for women, children, senior citizens and PWDs, so it is better to go to those cars as it might be less cramped than the rest of the train.
7.Turn Your Commute Into an Adventure- Commuting causes a lot of stress, and is pretty overwhelming, what with all the noise and sounds around you, plus all the anxieties that come with it as well. For me, in order to survive it all, I always thought of my commute as an adventure video game. That mindset helped me stay a little bit more positive, and it allowed the commute to be more fun than it should be. It also distracted me a little bit and made the entire process less tedious. So, for example, if I had to switch rides, it was like each new public transport was a new level of the game.
8. Travel Light, Have All The Essentials & Have Your Game Face On- If you are commuting via public transport or if you are walking, make sure that you have all the essential things you need, but also make sure that you travel light. Only bring what you really need to bring, and have a really good bag that is lightweight yet is very roomy at the same time. Also, make sure that your bag is a bag that has a zipper and cannot be easily opened by potential thieves, and if you are worried about potential thieves while walking, I always made sure that I had my grumpiest face on and a small umbrella I could use for whacking people if need be. Fortunately, I’ve never encountered anything bad while commuting, but knowing that I had that with me gave me a lot of comfort and the feeling that I wouldn’t be as helpless if something did happen.
9. Wear Comfortable But Appropriate Clothes and Footwear- Wearing comfortable and appropriate footwear definitely goes a looong way in making you feel less tired during your commute. If I have to commute, I make sure that whatever I am wearing is comfortable yet appropriate for wherever I’m going, and I also make sure that it is weather appropriate as well. Aside from that, I wear my most comfortable pair of walking sandals or shoes as well. Wearing comfortable footwear will not only help take care of your feet, but it will also help you feel less tired.
10.Bring Lightweight Things that Will Help You Be Comfortable During the Commute- Examples of this include a book, or better yet, a pair of headphones and your cellphone. Listening to music you like or music that calms you down, or a podcast or audiobook will definitely help shield you from all the overwhelming sounds that happen during the commute, especially during train rides. Make sure that you bring something portable and lightweight, which is why I prefer audiobooks on my phone instead of physical books when I commute. I also wear a beaded bracelet that’s not too fancy and I usually have small key chain figures on my bag. I am very tactile when I stim, so being able to finger the beads on my bracelet, or touching the key chain figures really does help me calm down a bit during the commute.
What did you think of my tips for commuting? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments below!