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Nomad Ann

The Bus

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 15 May 2014 | Views [957] | Scholarship Entry

Grey cracks in the sidewalk threaten to swallow me whole, but I fly effortlessly over them. Small victories like this are indeed worth celebrating. A dog, so tiny his legs are a blur of excitement as he walks, sniffs at me fleetingly, tempting me with a pat. But there will be no distractions, not on this day. I’m going to take the bus.

Lightly skip over vomit splattered on the side of a building. My foot sends a beer can hurtling out of my warpath. None of these obstacles are any match for the might of a girl with a passport and a suitcase! With the push of a button I hold the traffic at bay, taming these superior creatures of 400 horsepower. Weave in and out between people young and old, they part before me like a biblical sea to reveal a path of yellow brick that takes me to the bus station.

Quicken the pace. Get me over there, miraculous chain reaction of tendons, muscles, neurons and synapses, so complicated the human body, but step by step is so simple. Step by step makes everything simple. The distance between me and the bus station is diminishing.

Slow the tide. Time for waiting. Waiting for buses, waiting for trains. Waiting is a pleasure that working life perverts into disaster. Waiting gives time for reflection, and when you slow down, you see so much more. Bleary eyes, weary feet, travellers with their comings and goings, stories to tell, stories to make. Each and every one of you is on a journey to become a better person. It is so wonderful to see change in action!

My good ship arrives. She is magnificent in her mediocrity. In the tired lines of her tyres is drawn a journey of a thousand miles - banged up and bruised, this bus has been places. You’d be mistaken to seek comfort or safety in her form - heavy with experience (and not all of it good), this bus is no guardian, nor shepherd. Just a co-passenger sharing a little slice of your journey.

On the bus, they stare vacantly ahead, and me to the side. At street level, it is a jungle outside, but on the bus, I know I’m right where I should be, moving forward. Italians behind me bicker about the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Americans in front gossip of their unsuspecting flatmate. We all have no choice but to pretend we’re not eavesdropping.

It’s a bumpy ride full of undesirables, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, this bus that takes me to him.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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