Notes from a Small Country

Episode 2 – The enjoyable commute

"The key is in not spending time, but in investing it." - Dr Stephen R. Covey

“I love my one hour commute!” Said nobody ever.

That is until podcasts came along, where the choice for free entertainment and learning suddenly became a reality & commuting became more productive than ever.

I remember a few years ago wondering whether I should live further from my workplace, just to fit more listening and thinking into my life.

“But your commute is so long!” say my Danish colleagues…

Not really…

My commute is 40 minutes door to door. Not unusual for someone in the UK, where you can easily spend 40 minutes just waiting for a train to turn up at the station.

The problem I have is the Danish transport system is so efficient (said no Dane ever btw..)

To me (and anyone who’s used public transport regularly in the UK) the Danish transport system is gloriously effective. The terrific problem this causes for me is such little time to get through my podcasts.

I think I need to live further away from the office…

"Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely" - Rodin

There are trains every 10 minutes practically anywhere within the Copenhagen region (and miles beyond).

The buses are new, clean and mostly on 10-minute cycles too, and the taxies are like Uber i.e. minutes away and there’s an app that takes payment when you get to your destination.

It’s terrific!

Yes, it really is…

In Denmark, if a train stops and gets delayed for even 30 to 60 seconds there’s an announcement to all passengers.

In the UK a train can randomly stop somewhere due to a leaf falling on the tracks. Then it’s 10 minutes or never before the driver eventually tells passengers there might be a delay to their destination (with the enthusiasm of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh).

When a train gets cancelled in the Copenhagen area, it’s a 10-minute wait before hopping onto the next one.

Worth every penny

Getting to work is now the cheapest it’s ever been for me. In fact 30% cheaper than what I paid in the UK for public transport (possibly the only part of Danish life that is cheaper), this is the icing on top of the cake of efficiency.

“Don’t you find it expensive?” Say many of my fellow commuters when I talk with them.

If you’ve paid $6000 for a yearly ticket, only to stand squashed like a sardine all the way to London, you get to say it’s expensive.

Happy to travel

Today I sat next to the window of my train to Copenhagen. As I wrote a post for LinkedIn, I could see the countryside whizzing past out of the corner of my eye. I decided to look up to see my fellow passengers.

Everyone was either smiling or chatting, reading or listening.

What do you do on your commute? Do you invest in that time or let it pass?

"Time is a created thing. To say 'I don't have time,' is like saying, 'I don't want to." - Lao Tzu

On my Danish commute, none of us is crammed in like sardines, none of us is complaining.

Thirsty work

Or…as I’ve recently learned, is it a result of lager in Denmark being drank like Coke or Pepsi is in the USA?

Perhaps Tuborg beer is part of the Danish path to commuting happiness?

I’m unable to find studies that suggest it, but you’d be forgiven for thinking this given how many people drink it on their way home.

If I’m going to do as the Danes do by embrace the culture, I wonder if my liver can cope..

I hope you enjoyed episode 2 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

See you next week for Episode 3.

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Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at

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