Travel: A Week in North Carolina

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My (likely) final trip of the 2019 calendar year is now behind me, after a wonderful week spent down in North Carolina with my sister and nephews. I’m really glad I was able to make this trip happen; they moved from Buffalo in 2016, and this was my first time going down to visit them. It was also quite an adventure considering I went alone, got on a plane (for just the second trip of my life) and drove 800+ miles around the state (more driving than I do in a month typically.)

Here’s a rundown of my trip and some recommendations I have along the way!

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Dear Megabus/Greyhound, WTF. – No Love, Me

Anyone who’s either known me or followed this blog long enough knows that I travel via bus on a fairly regular basis. As someone without a driver’s license, and with the price of cars, gas, and the like, it’s just pretty easy to hop a bus and rely on them to take me where I want to go. Whether it’s Toronto, NYC, Pittsburgh or elsewhere, I usually don’t mind taking the bus places.

In the past two weeks, I did two bus trips. First was a round-trip to Philadelphia via Megabus; the next, a trip to Detroit and Windsor (and home) via Greyhound. Overall, these trips were wonderful, but they were lessened slightly by extremely aggravating bus situations.

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A Traveler’s Thoughts on…. Traveling

Every time I travel, I’m struck with the same line of thinking.

First, it’s amazing to me that I can hop on a bus and travel a couple hours with a group of complete strangers, and we’re all traveling for our own unique purposes. I think there’s a certain beauty in that. Of the 40-some odd people on this Greyhound bus traveling down the highway, how many are headed home, and how many are going off to some wonderful vacation or trip? How many are headed towards a final destination, and how many are simply headed to a crossover, a layover along the way? We’re all on our own journeys, but for this moment – whether it’s an hour or six hours – we’re all going in the same direction.

And we’re all going for different reasons. A handful may be off on a vacation, while others are tidied up for a business or work-related trip. Someone may be headed to visit family members they haven’t seen in ages; to celebrate a wedding or a birth, or to mourn at a funeral. Others may be on the journey returning home from such events. I find the beauty in that; we’re all here for different purposes and at different points along our own individual maps, but this is the point where we all intersect.

When we reach our destination, we’ll all be headed off in our own directions, and it’s likely that I’ll never see most of these people again in my lifetime, unless our paths somehow happen to cross. Some will continue their journey with a whole new set of companions on the next leg of the trip, while for others, this is the end of the line. Either way, this journey is ours together, for this moment.

I’m also struck with the fact that while I’m off to visit a city that may be hundreds of miles from home, I’m a tourist; a visitor, a temporary occupant. But there are people who have made lives there, who have constructed a paradigm and grounded themselves in this spot, whereas I’m just a fleeting pushpin on that spot of the map.

While I’m basking in the glory of the tourist attractions like the Capitol Building and all the memorials in DC, there are people who live hereĀ daily. I wonder if, to them, walking by these attractions is no big deal anymore. I wonder if they see the White House and think “Yep, that’s there,” whereas I pass and think “Wow! How incredible! The PRESIDENT lives there!” That goes for any city. I wonder if the people who live in Pittsburgh every day truly appreciate the majestic beauty of the yellow bridges and the three rivers; I wonder if the people in Toronto recognize the beauty of that skyline and all the amazing things it holds, etc.

That makes me wonder, then, what I could be missing about my own hometown. Do I appreciate it the same way that tourists may? Or do they see something else, something deeper, that has simply become ingrained in my mind due to living here for so long?

The Joys of Vacation

For the past few days, I went away on a little vacation to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is somewhere I’ve been going on vacations since I was very young, since I have family who lives there. In the recent years, I began visiting on solo trips, sometimes for specific events (ie., hockey games) and sometimes just.. because. My trip this time really got me thinking about things – mainly, the joys of being somewhere and what it all means.

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The Amazing Thing About Traveling…

Every time I travel, it hits me at one point or another in the journey just how amazing it is. I mean, think about it. My favorite thing to realize when I travel (particularly by bus, such as Megabus, Coach Canada, Greyhound, etc.) is the variety of people onboard with you.

You have no idea where these people could have come from, and you have no idea where they’re going, or the purpose for their travel. One person might be doing the exact same journey as you. Someone might be traveling to a wedding, or to see a newly-born family member. Another person might be traveling for the exact opposite reason – a funeral, or another sad event such as that. Some might be traveling for work. Others, for sporting events, concerts, or just for fun. Some people might be traveling alone, while others are with a friend, family member or loved one. Someone might be going home, while someone else might be running away from home. Someone might be starting a new journey in their life, such as a new job. One person might just be starting their travel, while others may have been traveling for hours or even days.

It’s just incredible to think about that sort of stuff… how these people come from all over the place – could be coming from ANYWHERE and going ANYWHERE for any purpose – and for a short amount of time, you’re connected. Once you reach your destination, you’ll probably never see each other again, you’ll all go off and continue your travels for whatever purpose… but for now, for these moments, there’s that connection, and I just think that’s pretty damn amazing.