During my late teens, it felt like I couldn’t spend more than a month without getting on the greyhound, most often riding from somewhere in Colorado (where I am from) to somewhere in Kansas (where my mother had moved). Everyone should take at least one trip this way, there is no way to truly explain how much traveling (even in small doses) changed me. This is an incomplete list of things I learned during my travels.
1. Listen to everyone’s story, they all have one.
And they all want to tell it. Be the ears they are searching for. I found out so much about people, life, and love while talking to those who I shared these rides with.
2. If you have to stop in a strange city to change buses, explore.
I feel like I have seen the whole country from Greyhound stops.
3. If someone tells you they can get you booze after 2 AM, they are lying.
If you follow them, they will more than likely attack you. If you are attacked on a trip, tell someone, tell everyone. Travelers protect each other from these types of predators.
4. People traveling west are always more interesting.
This is where you will find struggling artists, musicians and actors. This is where you will find me. They will make Los Angels sound like the Promised Land, and although you may know it is not try to see it through there eyes, with all the hope they still have. Get all of their names; follow all of their twitters, watch some of them get famous, watch some of them die, watch most of them “grow up” in a conventional sense; no matter what remember who they were when they shared a trip with you.
5. If you are unlucky, you will be caught drinking and you will be left somewhere in the middle of nowhere waiting to sober up and catch the next bus.
You don’t want this. Don’t make a scene, don’t throw up on the bus, and don’t kiss too many strangers.
6. People traveling east or south are always the saddest, love on them.
Tell them how pretty they look today. Tell them they will be okay. They usually need to hear it.
If you find yourself on a greyhound make friends. You just might find yourself in their story.