Thursday, March 21, 2013

How to Travel

Buy a ticket. Book a room in a hostel that you will share with a sleep apnea-afflicted Canadian girl. Wake up early. Drink caffeinated beverages. Pack ample antacids and remember your toothbrush. Bring water. Fill your pockets with granola bars. Always bring more than you think you can eat.

Go to the station. Get in line. Wait for your bus. Leave your bag on the sidewalk. Wince as it’s heaved into the luggage compartment with little delicacy. Agonize over your fragile electronics.

Choose your neighbor carefully. Hit your head on the ceiling of the bus. Avoid looking at the time to suspend disappointment. Expect to arrive at least an hour late. Play the same album on your iPod on repeat. Eat on the bus. Read on the bus. Peer over the headrest in front of you and giggle at Fifty Shades of Gray. Stretch frequently and insufficiently. Remember to hydrate.

Sleep on the bus. Press your cheek against the window. Let your ear drop to your shoulder. Ball your coat up like a sad, useless pillow. Get a U-shaped pillow - everyone has a U-shaped pillow, why don’t you have U-shaped pillow? Take notes from other passengers on how to sleep on a bus – with your knees to your chest, with your head on an empty seat, with your feet on the handrail, with your mouth open wide. Everybody’s doing it.

Wake up on a bus. You still have three hours left.

Locate the bathroom on the lower level. Secure the lock on the bathroom door. Hold on tight both hands to minimize trauma to the spine because the bus is currently careening down a highway. Use the hand sanitizer. Yes, that's as clean as you’re going to get. Eat your granola bars. Share your granola bars. Make new friends on the bus.

Arrive at your destination. Cringe as your bag collides with the soiled pavement. Check your electronics for critical damage. Choke down the last of your Pepto-Bismol. Enter a new city. You will have adventures here.