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On the Magic Megabus

Have you ever heard of the infamous “bucket list?” The list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” For me I got to experience one of my bucket list items and it was actually thanks to the magic of the Megabus.

For those who don’t know Megabus is a non-expensive way to travel around the country. It’s similar to the Greyhound bus, but less expensive. The downsides are that are typical of taking a bus a long distance. Long hours in what could be uncomfortable seating positions, rest stops, rest stop bathrooms, loud traveling companions…did I mention rest stop bathrooms?


To start I should inform you that I wave my nerd flag high and one of my “nerd” activities is playing trading card games. Now one of my bucket list items was to go out-of-state to attend a tournament. I don’t know why but I was slightly envious of my friends always talking about how they are training for regionals and saving up for the drive across the nation. Something seemed noble about it. Y’know, having people in your hometown cheer for you as you venture off for a distant land hopefully making new friends. It seemed like a right of passage for all card players. And it was one that I wanted to achieve for some time.

So if you take out all of the card jargon the story is quite simple. Two of my friends needed a third person for their team for their trip to New York. Coincidentally, this was just as I was coming back from my second tour of teaching in China. At first I didn’t want to go because I wanted to save what little money I had to pay for more bills, they bill vultures were waiting for me ever since I landed. However, I’ve adapted my mother’s philosophy about bills.Choose adventure.The bills will ALWAYS be there and keep coming. But since I was so light on funds my friends and I decided that the best way to get to New York was the MegaBus. From Chicago to New York, the total cost was $130 for a round trip fare. On paper they estimated that it would take 17 hours to get to New York.


To be completely honest I am one of those stir crazy people who have to keep moving, so the ride itself was interesting. We started in the middle of some non-forecasted torrential downpour which makes our epic ride all the more epic. Next, as the bus weathered the beaten path out of Chicago, my friends and I noticed that the people sitting next to us was a small family of 3 who had a little girl. This little girl would become my greatest source of agitation for at least 6 of the 17 hours.She couldn’t have been no more than ten, but she had the profound need to constantly make barn noises while the bus was driving. I know it doesn’t sound like much; but at 2:00am when you’re trying to sleep in a chair and all you can hear is “moo…moo…moo,” it’s a nightmare. This child made noises for hours. She wasn’t just annoying us, she was annoying her family that was right next to her. No one silenced her.

Eventually she tired with the rising sun, but it was enough to drive me crazy. And the fun didn’t stop there. After, the little menace finally tired herself out the bus broke down. They said it had something to do with the air conditioning, but we don’t know for sure. We were stuck in the heat for 3 more hours. On the plus side though I got to meet a dance crew. Apparently they were on their way to a gig in New York.


Once again I had to appreciate the Megabus’ cost efficient status of getting people long distances. The important thing about traveling is TO TRAVEL!Use the budget you have to take the trip, even if it is a short distance and on the really reasonable Megabus.Changing your scenery, changes your mind and gives you new ideas.It changes your life, too.

The rest of the trip to New York was thoroughly entertaining. My friends shared their sordid life dramas as we practiced our cramped card games on the way there. At the end of the day, no bus trip is going to be perfect. Things will happen beyond your control such as obnoxious children or sudden “mechanical malfunctions” (just sayin’ lol) or even the weather. That doesn’t stop the journey from being good and worthwhile.My friends and I made to the top 16 of that tournament we went too and it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say it was all thanks to the Megabus. I recommend it for people who want to travel stateside with limited funds. It worked out well for me and I hope to road trip with my friends again.

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