Many miles in their shoes – By @AsforAlex

Alexandra Sims

By Alexandra Sims


Many miles in their shoes


On Sunday I had to make an unexpected journey. Not through middle earth, but on a four hour trip up and down London which is as close to an arduous adventure encountering goblins as you will get.

My day began with a few hours spent walking around South London, mainly Greenwich park and up through Blackheath before getting indoors to sit down for dinner. That was my only plan for the day prior to receiving my call to action.

I pulled my socks back on, hat over head and said farewell to good, Sunday eating and leaving with a vow to my boyfriend’s family that I would be back. (So if they could pop the roast in the microwave that would be great.) Then I set off on a jog to catch a train. Already my travels were off to a surprising start. With a combination of a dodgy knee and general poor fitness my decision to do so meant I was already becoming a little less of myself that afternoon.

I made it just in time to be met with the glare of the oncoming 15:41 train to London Bridge and it was from there that I moved underground. Between the seven stops from London Bridge to Camden, I allowed my neck to be clutched at for support by a Spanish traveller that looked determined to crush a pram of babies on the sharp breaking tube train. Upon resurfacing at street level, the grumble in my gut reminded me that I hadn’t eaten since the croissant I wolfed down that morning. At a time that I was none too pleased to see. I could afford five minutes before my meeting so I hurried round the local shop for something to keep my hunger at bay. I was tested by the lack of plastic forks but I decided that I wanted a snack pack of king prawns so fingers would have to be excused.

At the over ground station I took the bags from my companion and we boarded a train back towards South London. It was only after changing at Dalston Junction and looking at the departure boards, all of which omitted our destination, that I checked our route. ‘Did you see if the trains were running?’ I asked. Engineering works are always a problem on the weekend and had I known fully where we were heading then I would not have minded planning the journey myself. An hour had been added to our travel and I could not stop the irritation that engulfed me as the leisure time in my Sunday slipped away.
I’m going to cut my tale of woe here. Two buses and two trains later I fulfilled my duty and made it back for 8pm to chew on a Yorkshire pudding that was then twice cooked. Anyway, the point I really want to make is the importance of empathy, being inside your audience’s skin. It was during the 40 minute bus ride to Lewisham that I stepped back from my rage and exhaustion and related it back to our current brief. Selling yoghurt pouches to busy women in their 30’s. The women that have been working all day only to travel back on cramped transport that is very likely delayed, the women that didn’t get a chance to stop for breakfast or lunch, the women who may have that yoghurt in their bag only to realise they’ve nothing to eat it with. Once I glimpsed into their day I started scribbling down ideas, all of which took me in a different direction to where I was sat at a desk guessing at personas.

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