For Autistic people, travelling can be one of the more challenging aspects of life with the condition. I know for myself, I am a control freak and I freak out when things aren't on time, or that they're delayed. Its the variables that stress me out when getting from A to B.

If I am travelling anywhere, I usually use a taxi, a car, a train, or I walk to my destination. I rarely use buses, because in my view on the world, why go on an hour long ride to loads of destinations you have and never will go to just to get from A to B. In my mind, and I assume in other people's minds with the condition, we much prefer getting from A to B efficiently, and as quickly as possible. I particularly like trains, because they're linear. When you are on a train, you're not going down various roads you don't recognise, but you are going from station A, to station B, to C and so on. 

I must stress though, for some Autistic people, travelling can be stressful. I travel by train up to Ormskirk, where my University is, and because I live there for most of the week, I am packing my clothes, toiletries, chargers etc. I also complicate things by having a checklist on things I bring with me when I travel. I have sensory distractions such as stressballs, gum, water, iPod. In short, I have to get ready to go out, and if I am not ready, then I will stress out. On top of that, getting to places on time while trying to arrive at the station in a manner that you only wait for 5 minutes further compounds things. I am that sort of person.

Getting on the train is easy. Waiting around isn't. I guess the anticipation of waiting for the train to arrive gets my head worrying about delays and crazy stuff that realistically I should not be concerned about. Once I am on the train, though, I usually calm down. If the train is crowded, then I usually just put my music on and try to ignore the crowds of people sitting/standing on the train with me. My least favourite sort of passenger on the trains are children. Particularly young children. You do have well-behaved kids, especially if asleep or quiet, but most of the time they are loud and annoying. And I love children, but I guess being on a train in a seemingly stressful atmosphere. Even worse, I get two trains to go to Ormskirk. Twice the fun.

Usually for me, getting on one train and then changing over to the next one is less of an issue, as I am in the zone. But if I feel like it, I usually walk around Liverpool to see what's going on in the city. Surprisingly, being alone in a city with your backpack containing your worldly possessions isn't that bad for me. I think the freedom and autonomy of walking around the city is liberating compared to x amount of time on public transport. Not to say that there aren't weird people in the city. You occasionally see beggars, or people asking for money. For me, that is the worst case scenario. It is very hard to come up with a response to these people. Usually, my response is 'I have no change, sorry, I am in a rush'. I feel a little bad for the beggars, but I do feel it is rude to directly approach people (who are on their own) for money. 

In conclusion, travel can be fun for people with Autism, but for some it can get overcomplicated with your needs and the likes. If I were to give people some advice, try and make travelling simpler. I do overcomplicate it, and need to stop. The simpler it is, the less hassle you have when you are making your way from A to B.

Published by Ben Attwood