Ranking Tube Activities

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Megan Kempton
April 15, 2024
A picture of the Tube at Blackhorse raod

London is the ultimate commuter city. The tube, or London Underground is one of the most comprehensive train systems I’ve ever seen and makes it so that the majority of Londoners take public transit every day to work! This was no different for me, my ride to classes was 45 minutes and my transit to my internship was an hour. Additionally, my boyfriend lived at Queen Mary University of London, which was also an hour on the tube. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on that train. Because of this, I have tried out a lot of different ways to keep myself busy during these long commutes (there’s no service on the underground), and have somewhat of a good time too! This is my official (not really) ranking of the things I did to keep myself busy on the tube.

9. Staring Into Space

I don’t recommend this. When I did any of the other activities listed here, the tube ride felt so much shorter than the time I was spending, but without a distraction, I felt every minute. Additionally, if you’re just staring out into space, people might think you’re staring at them. Londoners do not like this. It is a private city, they don’t want to be looked at.

8. People watching

This is a bad idea for the same reasons listed above, people don’t want to be looked at on the tube. To be fair, I don’t really want to be looked at either. This one only ranks higher than simply staring into space as it is slightly more active and thus serves as a better distraction. If you’re going to do this, be discreet about it. Don’t be weird.

7. Doing work

Doing work on the tube is HARD. A. There’s no service on the tube so your work won't save and B. working on the tube makes whatever you’re doing feel so much more chaotic and stressful and C. taking out your laptop on the tube will get you stares so you’d have to use your phone. Use the time on the tube to decompress, don’t work yourself up. This is only good in emergencies.

6. Talking to someone

This one is low on the list for two reasons. A. I’m an introvert and I like to use my time of the tube to recharge in my own little world, and B. The tube likes to SCREAM at you. Especially the Victoria line. It is so loud you can’t even hear yourself think sometimes, much less hear what another person is saying. 

5. Writing things in my notes app

If it’s not formal work, writing things in your notes app is great! I like to journal, write poetry, or just plan out my day. I find I actually have a lot of inspiration while I’m on public transport.

4. Playing games on my phone 

I like this one, I just need to do one of the next two items at the same time. My current game is Spider Solitaire. I’ve played a ridiculous amount of it.

3. Listening to music  

I’ve done a bunch of album listen-throughs on the tube! While I’ve been here, so many new albums have dropped, and the tube is the perfect place to give them a run-through. My favorites that have dropped in this time have been Cowboy Carter (Beyonce), Older (Lizzy McAlpine), and Eternal Sunshine (Ariana Grande).

2. Listening to audiobooks/podcasts

I am a HUGE audiobook girly. I live by my audible subscription. I also have recently really enjoyed binging podcasts that allow me to learn something about the world (current favs are You’re Wrong About and Rehash). However, like I said before the Victoria line likes to scream at the top of her lungs sometimes. This is okay when you’re listening to music because you can still get the gist of the song. When you’re listening to a book though, sometimes you have to go back to listen again. Or just play the volume ungodly high.

1. Reading a physical book

Commuting has allowed me to be in my physical book renaissance! In the U.S., my commutes are usually either driving or comprised of a lot of walking. However, here I can read physical books for large portions of time! Reading also makes the time go by so quickly, plus you look cool and mysterious while you have your book out. Not to mention it doesn’t drain your phone battery, which can be a real problem.

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Megan Kempton

My name is Megan Kempton and I am a junior at American University studying Musical Theatre and Communication studies. I'm going to London to study and to embark on an internship. In my free time I like writing, reading, puzzles, and making music!

2024 Spring
Home University:
American University
Theatre Arts
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