Taking It Slow

Leor Grebler
2 min readJan 25, 2024
Generated by author using Midjourney

Recently, I took the train between cities. It was my first time in close to thirty years that I had done so for any significant distance. When it comes to flying, I’ve traveled around the earth dozens of times. But when you add up all of the pre and post flight processes, it can sometimes take longer than if you used a different modes of transportation.

There are many analogs in life to this. Using a dishwasher starts to make sense after 10 dishes and with a variety of utensils, when you account for loading and unloading time. Same with walking from one place to another in a city center where there can be issues finding parking, navigating, or getting around traffic.

There were many benefits of the train that I hadn’t fully appreciated prior to the trip:

  • No security
  • No wait to board
  • Close proximity of the train station
  • No waiting for the seat belt sign to turn off to go to the bathroom or arrange items
  • Huge windows with a moving landscape
  • Lots of legroom and comfy seats (at least on the line I was traveling)
  • Quick debarking off the train to local transit
  • Less schedule impact from weather
  • Cell connectivity and free WiFi for >90% of the trip

Looking at this particular route and for the time of day I needed to travel, flying didn’t provide much an advantage for time.I worked for the entire 4.5 hour ride and the cost was 10% of an airline ticket.

The padding before the trip was about 30 minutes, with 15 minutes of commute to the station, and it took another hour to get by public transit to my final destination. If I had taken a flight, it would have been 110 minutes before the flight and 90 minutes after, plus an hour in flight. On that flight, I’d be able to work for about 30 minutes without interruption. The rest of the time, heavier items would have had to been stowed under the seat in front of me.

375 minutes by train vs 260 minutes by flight.

Driving would also be possible but at the same time, would have been the choice requiring the most focus with no time for work. With breaks and traffic where I was arriving, it’d take about as long as the train. The caveat being that I’d have flexibility for a return time of my choosing. Parking, gas, and depreciation would definitely cost much more than the train ride.

For every task there is prep and follow up. Sometimes, choosing the fastest option in between these two activities isn’t the best choice.

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Leor Grebler

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler