As I prepare to go to Indianapolis for the Pokemon TCG national championship in a carpool tomorrow, I thought about road trips and bus trips that I have taken. Furthermore, my readers who follow my Facebook may have noticed that my profile photos have been changing daily. Well, that reason is that since last Wednesday until this coming Saturday, this is the second anniversary of my Birthright Israel trip, according to the Hebrew calendar.
Let me recount some salient times as to why I love road trips and bus trips (and train trips) so much.
So, for several reasons, I have always liked trips in cars, buses, and trains. When I was young, it was an educational experience for both my parents and me, and I must have enjoyed the changing scenery. As I mentioned in a previous post, reading street signs aloud, even those that I was not parroting from Mom and Dad, gave me practice with reading, and in some sense, learning about my bearings. I am good with directions, and perhaps my obsession with street signs and names, even from an early age, helped me out with this.
During our frequent trips to Nebraska from Iowa when we lived in Fort Dodge, I enjoyed watching the scenery go by, and watching for the signs. Another sign of youthful innocence: I loved to look for road construction signs and zones. There was a VHS that I watched (with autistic repetition of course) that described the process of road construction, and it must have fascinated me sufficiently. The family time, though I may not have appreciated it immediately, has become precious in the retrospect.
Another big reason why I love bus and road trips: one-on-one or one-on-few time. The first time I really noticed this was in mid-March of 1998, in my fifth grade year. We took a field trip from Humann Elementary School to the Central Community College in Grand Island for the Groundwater Festival, and took a charter bus, the Good Life Coaches, to get there. Jessica [last name withheld] was my seatmate, and I feel that this allowed/forced me to be sociable. This worked out just fine, as she became one of my good acquaintances throughout my school years in Lincoln. Although I did not realize it at the time, over the last few years I have realized that I am much better in small circles than at parties or large gatherings. Interestingly, she was also my seatmate on a much longer bus trip in 2003, when my English/World History block went to the tsars exhibit in Topeka. (That was a long day!)
Maybe another reason I like bus and road trips is because they take me to fun destinations. The bus trips, besides educational, have also been for Husker athletics (several times), and of course Birthright Israel.
Car and train rides have also been good. For example, the carpools that I have taken to Pokemon tournaments in Kansas City have made the rides fly by–three hours goes by in a flash. When you are deeply engaged in conversation as a passenger (don’t worry, the drivers have not been terribly distracted 🙂 ) you don’t realize how much time has passed, which is very good for longer trips. Once again, it’s the one-on-one or the one-on-few that makes it worthwhile and easier for me to engage in conversation.
And with trains, I enjoy chatting with passengers on the CTA when I am not journaling or reading the newspaper. Sometimes I am the one to strike up the conversation, and other times the other person will. All sorts of stimuli may cause the conversation, such as my bike, overhearing a conversation, or my imitation of the canned announcements. On Amtrak, although I have not always had a seatmate in going to or from Milwaukee, the few times that it has happened, the conversations have been interesting.
It was also good on the latter of these cases, as the day was November 23, 2011 when I was going to Milwaukee. Yes, one day removed from the bike/car crash. The seatmate was nice to talk to, as we went back and forth about life stories, and she seemed genuinely concerned about me. She was not particularly thrilled to see family, which is another story for another day, but the key thing was her willingness to watch over me during the trip in case my system went crazy.
It’s the sense of adventure and companionship, or at least socialization, that makes me eagerly await travel. What is your take on it?