OK, that was a bit melodramatic. I don’t know so much about changing your life, but it could definitely make your life easier.
For those of you in or moving to Denmark, let me introduce you to the one thing that has made all the difference in my daily life (aside from Google Translate, that is): the Rejseplanen app. It’s like the Danish Google Maps but exclusively for public transportation. And it’s freaking awesome.
The first two weeks after Brian and I moved to Aarhus, we did not have cell phones. For two whole weeks! Can you even conceive of what that would be like? That’s like living without, I don’t know, water? Food? Something very important to survival. Before coming over, we’d had these old school texting phones (I believe they’re called “candy bar” style phones, ’cause I’m cool) that we had downgraded to when we decided that $200 a month was just way too much to pay for constant access to a smartphone. The problem was, we bought these phones on Ebay, and they were originally from, like, 2003, so they didn’t even have an option of working outside of the US. The minute we hit international waters, they both turned into candy bar sized, navy blue paperweights with lots of buttons.
So here we were in a brand new city in a brand new country surrounded by a language we didn’t know without any form of portable internet, GPS tracking, or translating device. What did we do? We kicked it old school. We used paper maps and looked like the biggest tourists ever. We planned our trips before leaving the house. We ate at random restaurants that we happened to be passing by while we were hungry. We guessed at the Danish words all around us. (Luckily, Danish shares so many of its roots with English that we weren’t too far off most of the time.)
One of the most annoying problems we ran into was taking the bus. I was not a bus rider before coming to Aarhus. St. Louis does not have the best public transportation, and I’d always had my own car to get around in. So I had absolutely no idea how to read or understand a bus schedule. Which one goes where? How do I tell what time it arrives at my stop? How can I tell where to get off? And forget about it if I have to switch buses. It was annoying to say the least.
Then our lives changed and we got smartphones and we discovered Rejseplanen. And I use it daily. Even though I pretty much have the timing of my main bus trips down – I know I take X bus that leaves at Y time to Danish class – but still. Think about it. When I’m finished with Danish class, I can look on my little app and see when the next bus comes. If it’s not for 15 minutes, I can hang out in the school instead of at the freezing cold bus stop being snained in the face for 10 minutes. And if I miss bus 2A, I can see that bus 16 goes to the same place and leaves in just 5 minutes, so I can just take that one instead of waiting another 20 minutes for the next 2A. It’s just, it’s just so much easier.
So if you’re coming to Denmark temporarily, permanently, or for a week, I highly suggest you download this app. If you live in Denmark and don’t use this app, what is wrong with you! Download it. Use it. Love it. There’s even an Android version.
P.S. I wasn’t asked or paid (hah, paid, I wish) to write this post. I just really love transportation planning apps that much. Listen, it’s the little things that count when you’re an expat!