It’s a fact of life: everybody has to travel long distances by bus sooner or later. It’s boring. It’s terrible. Sometimes, there’s nothing to talk about.
You’re sitting there, looking at the faces around you… and so many people look so miserable, don’t they?
Whatever the reason is, you’re taking the bus for the long, grueling haul of traveling for countless hours… here are some nifty tricks you can use IMMEDIATELY to make the time pass by.
1. Don’t Forget Your Tech
Some classical items to take along this “wild” journey are, of course, fail-safes to ensure a good time. In fact, I’ll bet you RARELY go anywhere without…
- An mp3 player
- Your smartphone
- Tablet/mini laptop
There is absolutely no reason to go anywhere without these devices. A long time ago (2009) I had to make an eight-hour trek by bus… to New York City.
What nobody told me at the time was that you had to go through endless miles of highway. Nothing but forest after forest and pavement. It was really monotonous.
Luckily, I had an mp3 player (that sadly died halfway to NYC). But listening to music soothed the sheer pain of having to be on that bus (which had no air conditioning, by the way, in the middle of June).
These days, however, you can play virtually anything: videos, podcasts, and the like. Maybe even get around to reading that ebook you always put off. (I have at least 76 downloaded PDFs that haven’t been cracked past the third page.)
2. Unplug and Tune In
But tech can only get you so far. It’s no surprise that we live in the age of information. Life seems like a rat race, and we rarely have the time to settle down and actually enjoy the serene art of doing nothing.
There is some serious Zen in sitting back and relaxing. While you’re on this long charter bus ride, there’s simply nothing you have to do but sit back and relish in the journey.
(This works even better if you use your media device to play some relaxing sounds – waterfalls, rolling water, crickets, a jacuzzi softly humming, etc. There are even 6-hour binaural soundtracks specifically designed to calm your mind down. They’re really worth checking out – I listen to these at least 30 minutes a day when I can sneak in some book-reading time.)
3. Stretch Those Limbs
Many busses have layovers. Sometimes you wait 15 minutes, 45, or up to an hour. (My journey to NYC took a detour to Virginia. In this glorious state, we had a two-hour layover.)
All that sitting can play havoc on your legs and blood circulation.
This is why layovers and breaks are the perfect time to catch up on some light stretches and exercises. It’s a fact that many of us spend too much time sitting on our butts, anyway. We could all benefit from a healthier lifestyle, right?
Something as simple as static lunges gives your legs the needed stretch they need.
If you’re more inclined, even the power of push-ups benefit you greatly. And the best part? These can be performed literally anywhere.
One quick tip I do daily to get my heart rate up and stay healthy is a bout of jumping jacks. The important part is to boost your heart rate and get your blood pumping. This keeps you looking young and in charge of your life.
(If you’re shy like I am, all of these exercise hacks can be done in a public restroom. It might be stinky, yes… but at least no one will see you.)
The sweet deal with all these quickies are the fact that you don’t have to break a sweat!
4. Get The Party Started
If you’re traveling with a party of two or more people and looking for some good-natured human interaction and socialisation… playing games with people go good together like peanut butter and bread.
So, this is a perfect time to break out the cards! (Especially handy if there’s a table in between your party.)
The cream of the crop for my friends is to go through several rounds of Cards Against Humanity. You absolutely CANNOT go wrong with playing this classic game. It’s sure to help you pass the time (in the best way possible).
Another incredibly fun game to play with people is “Why? Because.” In case you don’t know the game, don’t worry – it COULDN’T be easier.
All the game involves is answering someone’s question.
Such as… “Why are we on this bus?”
Then they fold the paper over (so the question is hidden), and hand the paper to the person next to them. That person then answers the question starting with “because.” So… “Because elephants are huge” or “Because Stephen Hawking is awesome.”
The randomness of Q&As have the potential for ensuing hilarity, depending on the party you’re with. It’s a seriously fun game that my old lady and I play with her siblings every holiday. It’s THAT addictive, and certain to shave some hours off the long bus ride.
5. Jot, Jot, Jot
This one should be a no-brainer: going “old-school” with a notebook and pen. There is absolutely NO WAY to go wrong with scribbling down your thoughts, scheduling your future, or brainstorming an idea or two of taking over the world.
Since I’m a writer by obsession (having written for 10+ years), scribbling down my thoughts, ideas, and unloading my “future’s blueprints” in a notebook is like breathing air. When I was traveling for eight hours to NYC, a notebook saved my life.
Plus, the notes and observations I “stalked” from that wonderful journey provided some rich imagery that made my later poems much more vivid, real, and engaging. The thrill of being somewhere new, no matter where it is, is what most artists strive for. To be able to capture that “essence of living,” no matter the circumstance, is why most artists breathe.
Even if you aren’t artistically inclined, handwriting can be an intimate distraction from the flurry of using your fingers to type on your keyboards and Smartphones. You can use it to plan out your day, your week, or write first drafts for planned emails.
And, if you happen to be traveling with a party, you can’t go wrong with Tic-Tac-Toe or any other classic “writing” games we played as kids.
(You aren’t going anywhere, so why not?)
Passing the time on long charter bus rides is sometimes so simple, all you need is an active imagination and a willingness to “get back to your roots.” Think about it: what were you doing before technology? —When life was simpler, and time passed by like a speeding fly.
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com