Tag Archives: bus travel

Everything I Need to Know about Life, I Learned from the Overnight Megabus Trip from Washington D.C. to Boston



1. Happiness is a choice. You can either spend your 8 hours wallowing in self pity and regret, or spend your 8 hours thinking about coffee and the possibilities of the future.

2. Get work done and don’t procrastinate. Because you never know when you’ll be able to blog, wash your face or brush your teeth again.

3. Every moment can hold something special. The journey is not the destination, but it’s not nothing either, so take advantage of those miles in the middle of nowhere.

4. Don’t give up. Just after you’ve tried every possible sleep position, you just might stumble upon the one that will allow you to rest longer than thirty minutes.

5. People make life incredible. Nothing beats seeing the smiling face of a friend in the wee hours of the morning in a city you love after 8 hours of purgatory.

6. Assume nothing. The person behind you may have terrible taste in music, but they might be going through a hard time in life and need the crappy music to get them through. You don’t know.

7. Baggage sucks. The less you have, the better. That goes for personal baggage as well as possessions.

8. Other people exist besides yourself. The bus was not made for you and your needs. There are other people with different life stories, different clothes, different allergies and literature tastes, and their way of life is just as valid as yours.

9. People are people everywhere. This one goes without explaining.

10. Smile. Your smile will open more doors and give you more free donuts than your fist.

11. Think. Preparing ahead of time and thinking about the repurcussions of your decisions can lead to better, more effective outcomes. For example, bringing a pillow would make sleeping easier and the next day less exhaustion-filled.

12. Think positive. Since you’re already thinking, you might as well make it positive. Stress causes your brain to ferment, and too often you spend it worrying about things you can’t control, like what you’re going to eat for breakfast at South Street Diner.

13. Call Mom when you get in. She really cares about you and wants to make sure your trip went safely.

14. Sleep more. You probably need more sleep than you’re getting and especially more sleep than you’ll ever get on the overnight bus.

15. Bring warm clothing.

16. Infinity is everywhere. It is in the lengthening hours of the bus trip, it’s in the distance between your legs and the back of the seat in front of you, and it’s in the distance between you and a golden time in your past that you can never return to.

17. Love others.

18. Beauty is everywhere. It’s in the way rain hits the windows, in the color of a German’s hair and in the rich brown of a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

19. Care. Care about other people, about yourself, about the bus and the cities that you’re passing through. Care about the quality of work you produce and about the state of the nation and the world. Care even though it’s risky, even though it might hurt, even though it takes energy. Care.

20. Remember that life is heartbreakingly beautiful for reasons you will never quite understand, and that your great privilege and duty is to chase this beauty for as far as you can go, until your Megabus reaches its final destination and not a second sooner.

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The People You Meet and / or Avoid on the Greyhound



The woman rigidly sitting upright wearing dark glasses. She mutters continuously while staring straight ahead and has long straw-like yellow hair and a basket covered in a trash bag.

The man who stands in the glass doorway with his arms inside his sleeves and his hands down his pants.

The man with growths all over his body and a woman too wide in the ass region to step through a door without turning sideways. She yells at him and asks him lots of questions, almost like she’s quizzing him.

The woman that sat next to me and looked like a raisin. She said she’d been on the bus for four days coming back from Tampa to visit her mother who was 99 and dying. Terrible cough, delirious with sleep deprivation, fingernails long and textured, and a terrible itch on her left wrist that she would scratch for minutes on end, her dry skin rasping and flakes that would fly off and cover her purse, which she would then scratch/brush onto the ground. Yum. A nice person, though.

The young male hippie with a small backpack, no cell phone, and stringy hair.

The Australian woman traveling with Apple products.

The chatty Kentuckian with two tattoos with two different men’s names and a vaporizer that she’s passionate about who eats an entire Cinnabon then complains that her stomach is hurting.

The man who can’t get his change out of the Greyhound ticket machine and threatens to come in and run it over if he doesn’t get his money back.

The bus driver who likes to be called Todd and not bus driver.

The man with a laptop sitting in front of me who battled Greyhound wi-fi for the entire ride from Greenville to Charlotte.

Everyone else (like me) just trying to get from point A to point B.

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How to Sleep on the Megabus: A User’s Guide for Success



A successful bus nap starts before you get on board. Prior to your trip, do whatever you can to make sure you are completely exhausted. This could include over-exercising, getting 20% of your normal night’s sleep the night before, or skipping bedtime altogether.

Once you’re exhausted and grumpy, you’re ready to board the bus. Be one of the first ones on board so you have first pick of the bus seats. An easy way to get ahead is by limiting the amount of baggage you bring with you. This goes for both personal and physical baggage.

Next, use all manner of lies, deception, and flat out rudeness to make sure no one sits by you. Putting your backpack on the seat next to you and then pretending to fall asleep is a good place to start. Stretching out your legs, sporting a Mad-Eye Moody eye patch, and wearing a bloody bearskin can also limit the number of people who will want to sit next to you. WARNING: some people respond positively to these kinds of signals and might actually be drawn to you. Watch out.

Having secured both seats to yourself, pull out your pillow, recline your seat, rest your head against the window, and fall asleep. Just kidding. Your work is only beginning.

Most likely you’ve forgotten or do not have a pillow. In that case, pull out the towel you have in your backpack and use in lieu of a pillow. In the unlikely case you’ve forgotten your towel at the home of your friend where you were staying or for some reason can’t find it in your backpack in your sleep-deprived stupor, pull out your running pants to use instead.

You’ve also noticed by now that it’s very cold on the bus. Not to worry, you can just use your towel. Unfortunately, you forgot your towel, so you’ll need to pull out your blue fleece leggings that you wear as pajamas, and pull them over your arms. This will be the best you can do.

For the next three hours, writhe in various positions across the two seats until you find something that seems like it might be comfortable for a couple of minutes and then kind of fall asleep until your leg or arm goes numb or you can’t bear the pain in your neck any longer.

Aggressively attempt to stay asleep until you reach your destination. Then, “wake up” and marvel at what a world you’ve arrived to. Of course, you’re more tired than you were before you got on the bus, the only difference being the bus taste in your mouth and a thin film of grease on your face.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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