Two and a half days on a Greyhound bus. What an experience! While the bus may be faster than driving, it was not really all that fast. It shouldn’t have taken long to exit Florida, but we soon realized we were not on an express bus. Apparently, Florida was not ready to let go of us just yet. We found ourselves traveling through the state once more before moving on.
Within only minutes of being on the bus, Emily and I met a guy named Marc. He was an intriguing character. He made his own home version of LSD and told us about the process. We stayed with him the entire bus ride through Florida, until he got off somewhere in the state. I wish I could share all his stories, he had some fascinating ones, but they’re not mine to tell.
After saying goodbye to Marc, Emily and I began to take space from each other once more. Consciously or unconsciously, I have no idea. Spending two and half days on a bus was a new kind of experience. I met the most interesting people. Everyone had a unique story to tell and was more than happy to share it. Either those who ride Greyhounds have great imaginations, or they all have truly fascinating stories. It takes a special kind of person to ride the bus across multiple state lines. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
There was a strong feeling of community on the bus. Many of us traveling alongside one another for a day or two. We ate together, told stories and shared a special bond. The bus would stop every few hours. Sometimes for short bathroom breaks, sometimes for longer food breaks, and some rather lengthy stops where we had to change buses. We seemed to switch buses a lot, but often the same people would transfer together. Each time we returned to the bus, I’d find myself sitting with a different person. The diversity was nice. I’d get to know another member of our Greyhound community a bit more in depth. Then, at the next stop reunite with the other travelers I’d met earlier.
I’d never felt so connected to a bunch of strangers. When someone would eventually depart, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend. I would continue to learn later in life how living in such close proximity is the quickest way to develop friendship. Like at the hostel. Living, working, and sleeping together. People come and people quickly go, shifting the dynamic, while others hang on for longer. And those who hang on, you get to know on a more intimate level than people you may have been friends with for years.
Eventually my time came to say goodbye to the dwindling community. Emily and I paid adieu to the Greyhound at 9pm in San Jose, CA. We had no plan. No car. Nowhere to stay. We looked in a phone book and found a number for a local hostel. We called to see if we could stay there for the night and if they could come to get us. I could tell the woman we spoke with was not happy about it, but she came anyway and was polite. When we arrived it seemed to be nearing a ‘lights out, quiet time.’ Most people were in bed. We were told we had to pay extra for sheets and we were each required to do a chore in the morning. This was the first time at a hostel where I had to do a chore, but it wouldn’t be the last.
We got information from the hostel as to where we could catch a bus that would take us to our storage unit. Emily and I each carried one duffle bag a piece. As we were headed down the street to the bus stop, we saw the bus pull up. We were still a bit a way. We began to run. Somehow the momentum of my swinging bag was not in rhythm with my body weight. The bag pulled one way and I was another. Struck off balance, I landed face first on the sidewalk. Not one to be discouraged, I quickly jumped back up, cradled the bag in my arms, and continued running. The bus driver noticed us and waited, though he looked mighty perturbed when we got on. We asked him for detailed instructions on how to reach the storage unit. It was not nearby and we would have to switch buses a few times. We must have won him over with our winning smiles, because he provided great directions and we’d become friends by the time we said goodbye.
The Road Traveled thus far