It can be said that convenience is a wonderful thing, and it truly can be, however my recent travel by bus from Billings, Montana back to Sacramento, California is a testament to not living a convenient life.
The Greyhound Bus trip was a total of 34 hours and supplemented by two 14-passenger vans and a brand new experience for me in the US. I had taken several longish bus rides in SE Asia, but 11 hours was the topper. I was actually looking forward to this adventure and challenge.
|Kelvin, Dale and Taylor|
Sleep was nearly impossible for me, so I managed about 5 hours the entire trip. I had considerate seat mates the whole way and really enjoyed one of them, Kelvin from Nevada. We got close enough while riding that we were the seeds of a small group, who watched each other’s things during a six-hour layover in Salt Lake City. Kelvin was my junior by a few years, but Taylor was significantly younger at 17. The Salt Lake City security guard asked me, Kelvin and Dale (a fella more my age whom we had drawn in to our clan an hour earlier) to watch over her a bit. So the four of us passed our time together, bonding, giggling and trying the bus station food offerings, limited as they were.
A couple of hours before I thought I would land in Roseville, California, I discovered the bus didn’t stop there and I would be dropped off near downtown Sacramento. I panicked a bit – not wanting to incur a $50 taxi ride to my sister’s house on the other side of Metro Sac. I googled transportation options from the bus station and realized the light rail was a mere block away so I relaxed and ultimately hopped onboard.
When I changed trains about 30 minutes later, I met and talked to a homeless woman, Deb, for a good twenty minutes and it truly was a GOOD talk. At the end, she thanked me for treating her like a person. I nearly cried but instead answered, “Well, you are a person!” I asked her if I could give her a few dollars as respectfully as I could. She accepted, saying “You didn’t have to do that.”
When I got to my stop just a 1/2 mile from my sister’s house, I had to borrow a phone from a stranger. Although, borrowing phones is a well-known scam, the gentleman was kind and trusted me. I left a message for my sister that I would wait 20 minutes and if she didn’t come I’d start walking.
A few minutes later, I began a long haul uphill dragging my rolling suitcase with a duffel atop it and it wasn’t but a few blocks down the road when I stopped to catch my breath. Moments later, a cab pulled up with a driver from India asking if I needed a ride. I answered “yes, please” but told him I needed to go to an ATM because I didn’t have much money on me. He tried to refuse my money, saying he was just concerned about me, but I did give him the $5 I had on me. He was incredibly sweet to me.
In the course of a very inconvenient journey; I met three wonderful fellow bus riders, cheerful and resilient Deb, a trusting stranger with a phone and someone from a part of the world I’ve just visited who offered me a free ride just because.
Thank the Universe for bringing me such riches!