If you’ve never taken a group vacation on a bus, think back to the “The Magic School Bus.” It’s exactly like that, minus the science, light-speed traveling, and transformations of species and size. Before long, the fun of traveling rubs off on the bus until the sight of it is nearly enough to make travelers burst into their own theme-song. When one goes on their second bus trip, memories from the first trip return and the bus is infused with even more magic than before. This process continues until around the sixth bus trip, at which point the bus becomes Houdini incarnate and no further improvement is possible. All one can do is sit back and watch as the bus contributes to community in a way nothing else can.
Bus vacationing is a type of endurance training which inevitably begins too early in the morning. The first day starts with a stumbling out of bed that continues towards the bus as one struggles with their luggage. Next comes the seemingly important decision of picking a bus buddy. There’s a lot to consider, but in the end none of it matters. Before long, all the newly formed buddies engage in a short, excitement-infused chat before turning their attention to the rest of the bus. The chaperone has just finished counting off everyone’s heads, and someone cracks a joke that makes the whole bus laugh. Conversation then becomes an all-inclusive, bus-wide, adrenaline-fueled affair. Exhaustion sets in quick. In an hour, everyone but the driver has fallen asleep. Those who fell asleep early had the sound of intimate, communal laughter to lull them to sleep. When these same people wake up early, they find their companions sleeping in positions contortionists train years to achieve. The next bout of bus-wide laughter follows shortly after.
Rest stops come half-an-hour after they’re needed, so there’s always someone who bumps their head on the overhead compartment as part of a mad dash to bladder relief. The rest of the group emerges unscathed, throws their hands in the air, and begins a much needed stretch that turns into something resembling a dance. Dreary-eyed and hungry, the group makes their way to the rest stop to buy some food. Healthy eaters make concessions for the sake of group cohesion and learn that there is a time for everything.
The excitement of entering a new place is universally shared throughout the bus. Beautiful sights appear at the same time for everyone and cause an awe-struck “ooh!” to spread throughout the bus. Going down a tight road sends shivers down everyone’s spine. As the bus hugs the edge of the road, everyone holds their breath simultaneously. Fearful together, the community grows closer. The groups which are lucky enough to make it out alive have a topic of conversation they can return to throughout the trip: “Remember when we almost fell off the road? That was crazy!”
Everyone talks just loud enough so that other people can hear them, and they modify what they say so that everyone is entertained. Bus buddies soon become the best of friends, and if they ever feel the need to say something private, they can lower their voices. But, in the spirit of bus travel, most things are shared.