Relax, the Greyhound Isn't That Bad

Relax, the Greyhound Isn't That Bad

It tries its best.
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Throughout this December, students travelled home for the holidays by car, carpool, plane, train, or even bus. For me, I typically take the Greyhound bus home. Their fares are reasonably priced, and my destination is a short car drive away from home. Taking the bus is always cheaper than filling up the car tank, and I never run into any issues with Greyhound, not to mention they provide outlets for charging and free WiFi that works pretty well. However, there are people on my Facebook feed who say otherwise, and to them I say that's fair, I have not been to every Greyhound station in the country where the infrastructure is more deteriorated, unreliable, or downright sketchy. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but let me tell you to give it a second chance.

Sure, paying to board a bus unsure of how crowded it may be full of God knows what kind of people raises skepticism. These strangers could be snorers, felons, screaming children, or people who play audio off their phone without headphones, like, I get it Brad you really like listening to Eminem and you want to break into the rap sceNE BUT PLEASE JUST PUT SOME EARBUDS OR LITERALLY ANY AUDIO JACK INTO YOUR CELLULAR DEVICE THERE ARE PEOPLE TRYING TO SLEEP IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET RID OF MOTION SICKNESS BECAUSE THE DRAMAMINE DECIDED NOT TO KICK IN.

Anyway.

A few weeks ago a friend told me a customer service horror story where he argued with the desk at his local Greyhound station about a reboard ticket that he never received but needed to get to his destination. He was scolded by the worker for losing a ticket he never received. Eventually, he was allowed to board due to the driver pulling some strings to give him a seat. It was one of the most wild customer service stories I have ever heard, mostly because I never experienced that kind of attitude with people in that industry (knock on wood). I can imagine it was an unnecessarily stressful situation for him and justification for never taking the Greyhound again

On the bright side, it gave him a good story to tell, as experiences on the Greyhound bus would. A few summers ago I took a Greyhound to Cincinnati, Ohio with my roommate, and when we arrived a man, in an almost cartoon con man fashion, opened his trenchcoat and asked if we wanted to buy some gold. This is a mild tale, and I hope to live out more entertaining ones. For now, you can always read the numerous reddit threads on riding the Greyhound (with this one being my personal favorite).

Riding the Greyhound provides a fascinating psychological and sociological study of human behavior. Personally, the Greyhound would serve as a fantastic environment for an ethnographic study. One time on my way back to college, I sat behind two Amish men who smelled particularly putrid, and I dreaded the next three hours of this bus ride. We departed from Point A, but around 45 minutes into reaching Point B, the driver took an exit off the highway and turned into an unlit dirt lot (I suppose Point A and a quarter). The driver stopped, and passengers, myself included, looked around at each other with unease. It was 8 P.M. and nearly pitch black. Suddenly, the two Amish men in front of me stood and got off the bus, hopping into a buggy where the horses trotted out of the lot and on the road. No one said anything, and our bus ride continued.

So the next time you make a fuss about the Greyhound, look the bright side. At least you will have quite a story to tell.

Cover Image Credit: Oral Clarke - Raastah on Flickr Creative Commons

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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I Took A Gap Year Off School And It Was The Best Thing I Could've Done

Pictures and stories from my road trip.

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My boyfriend and I started this trip with the intention of seeing some friends, visiting some family, and seeing some new places. We had cut the trip down to about two weeks so we didn't have to worry about money or taking time off of work. We started with a quick stop at the University of Minnesota to see some friends. The next morning we left tired but motivated.

Wall Drug 80 Ft. Dinosaur, Wall, SD

We drove across South Dakota, through Wyoming, and finally to Utah two days later. The views on this part of the trip were far more interesting. We stopped at Wall Drug but it was a little late so it was closed. The Badlands became a normal part of the scenery throughout South Dakota and as we entered Wyoming the rolling hills became imposing mountains. In Salt Lake City we visited Antelope Island.

Antelope Island State Park, view of the Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island

Antelope Island was about an hour drive from downtown Salt Lake City, even with rain and traffic. After paying an entrance fee to the state ranger at the gate, we drove along a narrow isthmus. As we passed the visitor center and continued on the road to the ranch within the park. We ran into some unexpected friends.

Bison in Antelope State Park, UT

After stopping to take pictures of the bison, we reached the ranch and went to the bathroom. From The Great Salt Lake, we traveled south to Zion National Park.

Rocks and crystals being sold in a town near Zion, UT

We then went past another gate. This time we showed our annual pass and I.D. then we parked the car and boarded the bus to the hiking trails. My camera was charged the sky was cloudy and gray and the misty clouds in the sky translated into chilly conditions to fellow hikers venturing out to the waterfalls. Oh, but what a sight these waterfalls are. There are two very easily accessible waterfalls.

Taken on the Lower Emerald Pools Falls trail in Zion Nationa Park, UT

These waterfalls are clearly gorgeous. Combined with the dreary weather and the fact that it was off season, there weren't very many tourist and very few rock climbers. It was an exciting experience it felt like exploring a new frontier while in the safety and ease of a handheld tour through Utah's unwelcoming geography.

Weeping Rock Trail while mist covers everyone

We were pretty tired and there was a lot of walking, bickering, and picture taking. After this hike, we walked back to the bus and stopped at the gift shop. Jack bought a shirt and I got a sticker then we go back to the car and went to our next location.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

After a pretty confusing and winding drive to Arizona's border, we ran into a group of the car also looking for hotels and a something to do. We were in Page, Arizona at this point. We decided to park the car and take the bus to Horseshoe Bend which is suppose to be a similar must-see viewing point. We followed other families and couples dragging their strollers and kids up and down the red, rocky path with cameras in tow, of course.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ

We spent the night in Page and got up the next morning refreshed and ready for the Grand Canyon and Pheonix.

The Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Village, AZ

This drive was crazy. We drove into the first observation point, it was already one of the busiest places we had been the entire week. Every stop had a restaurant, a gift shop and a paved trail to the South Rim. While we walked and people watched it started to rain and we quickly hustled to go take pictures.

CityScape, Pheonix, AZ

We were in Pheonix mostly for business. I went to my college orientation where I signed up for classes and met some new people. That night we went out for dinner with a friend in Tempe and saw the rest of Downtown Pheonix before leaving the next morning.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

The flowers in Joshua Tree were a highlight they were so pretty and they were everywhere. As we drove through the park every five to ten minutes the view would change completely. The park was a mixture of beautiful flowers, strange plants, and sculpture-like rock formations, all of which are set in a desert creating an alien landscape.

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

The rock formations were abundant and there were lots of places to pull over to take pictures or boulder or hike. I was pretty nervous the whole time. My wrist was in a cast the whole trip which made me trying to keep up with Jack impossible.

Santa Monica Beach, CA

The beaches in L.A. were my personal favorite. We visited several beaches but Huntington and Santa Monica beach were the best. Huntington was very private and the sand was very fine and soft. When we were there, no one was within fifty yards of us. Santa Monica had a lot more going on. The pier is always packed the promenade is clean and has lots of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Isla Vista, CA

Santa Barbra was like a dream. The weather was a little rainy but for most of the time, it was sunny and beautiful. We went to a party at a beach house with our friend from Santa Barbra then went to a concert at this huge outdoor amphitheater.

Arches National Park, UT

Arches was one of our last stops on this trip. It was a two-hour detour give or take but the drive and the hike were well worth it. I would love to be able to explore parks like Arches more fully. To really spend time in them and see the full array of beautiful views they have to offer. We didn't get to Yellowstone or Yosemite which are the next two parks on my list. Also, a little tip for the parks is getting an annual pass. It was about $90 with shipping but it gets you free entry into any National Park which is usually $30 fee.

Anyway, all these pictures and stories are the reason I took a gap year. I think that being able to experience, even for a moment, a life that is fully in your control is so refreshing. That's the best part about vacation, your responsibilities are narrowed and you become caught up in the moment doing something you love. So, why not take a year to learn how to take on responsibilities efficiently and do some stuff I love?

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