Nine months ago my confidence of travelling on my own was completely knocked. The thought of organising a journey by myself and getting from A to B - without taking a direct route, completely terrified me. But a couple of weeks ago, I took my first journey that involved changing trains...
In October, myself and my friend Alice went to visit another friend Alex at Uni in Lancaster. Alice drove so no trains were needed. I have since caught trains to Manchester and coped pretty well on my own, my Mum put me on the train at Doncaster, and my best mate Robyn would pick me up at the other end. Nothing could go wrong.
When the chance to go to see Alex's adopted giraffe with her (a blog post on that will be up soon) I wasn't going to let my nerves about changing trains get in the way. If this stroke has taught me anything, it's to grab opportunities while you can, because they might not come around again, and the longer you let fear hold on, the tighter it's grip will become. A few weeks ago, my Mum and me sat down and planned my train journey. I would go from Doncaster to Manchester Piccadilly. Then Piccadilly to Lancaster. I booked trains that were half and hour apart in Manchester, just incase my train was running late or something - reducing stress on the day was important.
I got to Manchester fine. I got off the train and made a beeline for Starbucks. Once I had my coffee in hand I felt ready to take on the rest of my journey - I just had to find the right platform! I looked at the board and it said Platform 14. I'd never been at this platform before, even though I thought I knew Piccadilly well, I had no idea where I was going. So, I followed the signs. Then all these signs said ''If the customer lounge is shut...'' What's the customer lounge!? Is it shut?! I don't know. I just started to follow people - I had no idea if they were going where I wanted to go, but they looked like they knew what they were doing and they were going somewhere. I then realised I was walking out of Piccadilly, but at eventually I came across what I presumed was the customer lounge. I followed more people and eventually discovered Platform 14. Thank goodness I left myself plenty of time!
I got to the platform, and there was a train arriving before mine so I just stood around. Then the board said ''Cancelled''. WHAT?! Everyone seemed to start rushing about, and all these people I'd followed to the platform began to disappear. Anyway, I realised all these people must have been going for the train that was before mine. So I stood around and eventually my train pulled up.
I got on the train, sat in my reserved seat, and headed for Lancaster. Now, I never usually fall asleep on trains, I'm scared I'll either miss my stop, or someone will steal my bag. Well, I was so tired from the travelling, and the stress had worn me out, so I did keep nodding off...but I didn't miss my stop! Alex met me at the platform and my journey was over! We had a great couple of days, and Alex drove us home so no more train chaos!
I'm so pleased I've got this done. It's a small thing, but a big accomplishment!
See you again soon!