Whether you had no choice because it was the cheapest transportation you could find or you wanted to challenge the traveler soul in you, here are my main tips to survive not only a 31 hour bus ride. But really really long travel days.
GET OVER IT
Accept it. You’re gonna be sitting next to people who smell, listening to people cough up their lungs, and if you’re lucky, hopefully the air conditioning works. Facing these obstacles won’t be as difficult if you just accept the fact you are going to be on a bus for a long, long, time. Find some humor in it. I’ve said this before but you could be sitting in traffic for a job you hate or sitting on a bus mixing it up with interesting people and gaining experience going to a place you’ve never been to before. Hey who knows, maybe you’ll have the whole bus to yourself….well, at least for a couple hours. It is what it is. You’re on a bus. Get over it.
You’re going to find out real quick how good your music on your phone is. Try not to skip a song. Maybe not for the whole entire 31 hours but at least the first six hours. Or find that one song you can listen to over and over again. Lol, for me its, last call by kanye west. But the reasoning for not skipping is a song cause hey, you got nothing but time. Maybe you’ll catch a lyric that actually makes sense to you or understand a lyric even deeper than you’ve ever heard it before. When you skip songs, you’re going to burn through your library really fast. By the 5th hour, you’re already repeating songs. So, trust the playlist and get lost on the road.
Stay awake as long as you possible because it'll get to a point, you're so tired, you’ll just fall asleep. NO matter how uncomfortable
For me, I can fall asleep anywhere. Especially if I’m tired enough. So, stay awake as long as you possibly can. If its like 12 hours into your trip and you still haven’t even napped (which I doubt). I’m willing to bet you’re going to be pretty tired. Maybe even SO tired, it doesn’t matter how uncomfortable you are, you’ll just knock the f*%$ out.
Window Seat Boiiii
Three words…… WINDOW SEAT BOIIIIIII! I can’t tell you how crucial this is to the survival of a long bus trip. Yes, you may not have the leg room (sorry for my tall people) but you have the window to lean your head up against the window. Trust me, sometimes the bus may be empty so you have the whole row to yourself but incase its jammed packed. You have the window seat!!! The window is always a little cold (at least for 10 seconds) but my god, the fact you can lean your head up against the window will have you so thankful and appreciative you can get some shut eye.
Yo. Are we still talking about this? You still haven’t accepted the fact you have 19 hours to go? Do yourself a favor. GET OVER IT!!!! I don’t know if you know this but a second lasts a second and a minute lasts a minute. The time is going to pass, whether you are having a great time or a terrible time. So, you might as well be having a great time.
Read, Read, Read
Depending on how fast of a reader you are, bring at LEAST 2 books.
Nothing passes time by like good conversation but in a close second place; nothing passes time like a good book. If you’re broke, get to your local thrift store or second hand shop. Books for 25 cents or at the most $1.00. Doesn’t have to be the greatest literature ever written, just something that intrigues you. Buy two or three books, if you don’t like him then just toss em, they were only what? 50 cents? Worth the risk. (that’s a risk?) I go through at least one book on a long trip (bus, train, whatever). If you’re in a foreign country or a different part of your home country, try to find a book that took place wherever you are. To me, I believe it makes more special or surreal cause you can place yourself in the book as you see the scenery the author is describing. Well, honestly, not even the scenery. The people you interact with or the special dish you tried your author was talking about on page 56.
This is my go to when I have long layovers, time to kill, or for this instance, a long bus ride. If I’m leaving from one city and headed to another, I’ll write down five things that city taught me, or better, what life taught me: INSERT PHOTO OF MY JOURNAL 5 things I learned** .
I’ll relive my past couple days through my journal. Talking about how hot the sand was on my feet or the intense sun burn I got from being in the sun all day. Reminisce about the stupid jokes that had everyone crying of laughter. Genuine laughter. Is there anything better? When you keep a journal, you can look back, read through these memories and relive those moments.
Get lost in your thoughts. I write down goals I want to accomplish (short or long term). Take a moment to reflect maybe not just about your trip but your life. Think about everything that has ever happened to your life. Good or bad. All of these things that have led up to you right now in this moment, on a bus, writing in your journal. It’s powerful. Write down what you appreciate in your life. The people in your life, the experiences you’ve had, or even the accomplishments you had to work hard for. Give yourself some credit.
Like we talked about before with the books, take in the scenery. But if you aren’t much of a reader, still take the time to appreciate the scenery of where you are. Think about the generations of families that were born, raised, and died there. To you, its just farmlands or green trees. But to me, those farmlands you drive by is somebody’s life. Somebody’s way to provide for their family. To me, I see hard work, dedication, patience, and sacrifice as I drive by these farmlands. It’s all about perspective.
One of my biggest pieces of advice to survive a 31-hour bus ride is similar to GET OVER IT. But its more understanding and a little warmer……
Stop thinking. Relax. You have 31 hours to do that. For those 31 hours, you shouldn’t have a worry in the world. You got your seat and your source of entertainment. It’s just you and Cuba. It’s just you and India. Whatever country you may be in. For those 31 hours, its just you and that country.
Trust me, there’s no other way to say this, 31 hours bus rides suck.
But think about some of the points above and the next time you take a long bus ride, have a long lay over, or whatever it may be. Think of this piece.
It’s not about what you have. It’s about what you make of what you have.
For questions or comments, feel free to contact me!