Long distance relationships: meet reality

By Tegan Baker

If you met your partner at university, it’s unlikely that you’re from the same place. However, my boyfriend and I also attend different universities. After enduring 4 hours of train travel between counties, and a substantial amount of money spent on train tickets and watered down coffee, a date is not something that can be taken for granted.

For those of you in similar positions, or for those who are unsure whether your relationship can take the test of trains, here is a typical day in the life of a ‘long distance-e’.

Saturday 3rd December 2016

We both only have one day a week that is empty of commitments, work and lectures. This means travelling to Canterbury after work on a Saturday evening to spend Sunday together. Here is a typical Saturday when I’m heading down to see him.

9am – 4.30pm – Work

I’m very lucky to have understanding and generous managers who will often allow me to leave 15 or 30 minutes early if they know I am going to Canterbury.

4.30 – 5.00pm – Departure

At 4.30 I rush out of work, go home and grab my bags to catch the 5.17 train to London Waterloo.

5.17pm – 6.34pm – Train to London Waterloo

The train was packed due a rugby match. I endured twenty minutes of a drunk rugby fan telling me (unprompted) about his dog. My train was delayed by said rugby match meaning that I missed my next train. After arriving late, I was stuck with a hen party and squashed by briefcases commuting home. The next train was not stopping at Canterbury and so I had to recalculate my route.

 6.50pm-8.32pm – Train to Ashford Int.

This train was similarly packed, mostly with children, two of whom kicked my seat periodically. I tried to read but found my eyes drooping after a long day at work and several hours of tedious train travel. As I arrived, I had to sprint to the catch the closing doors of my connecting train.

 8.32pm – 8.53pm – Train to Canterbury

The chain reaction from my earlier trains means this one is late too. After having a dinner reservation that stopped taking orders at 9pm I sprint across Canterbury with barely a kiss to say hello.

 9pm – 10.30pm – Dinner

As we sit down in the restaurant, me still clutching my train tickets and scarf covering my face, we realise our relationship is not for the fainthearted.


  1. Communicate: The one great thing is that you are both in different places doing different things with a variety of people. Sending photos of where you are, whom you are with is a great way to keep up to date with each other.
  2. Connect: With today’s technology, waiting at the letterbox for any sign of post is a thing of the past. Skype or FaceTime is like having someone in the house with you, so catch up over dinner or while watching TV.
  3. Stress: Try not to let the stress of travelling and scheduling impact on the time you actually get to spend together. Appreciate your different lifestyles and enjoy the time apart.


Tegan Baker

Featured image courtesy of Mahkeo

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