Bus Rides Are Forever

Bus-Rides-Are-Forever

Caro and I walk to the bus station at 7 a.m. the next day. Caro is a 5’10” blonde German kid taking a 3-month break before starting university in Germany. This is the first time she’s traveled and she doesn’t think she will travel again after university. She says that it’ll look bad on her resume if she travels after university. Employers think that people who travel after university simply weren’t able to get a job. It’s a very corporate mindset, and it makes sense to me when she goes on to say that she’s thinking about getting a business degree. Her comments hit close to home. My recent abandonment of a perfectly good career makes me wonder if I’ll ever manage to get back on the bandwagon (or whether or not I want to). All passengers board and one guy speaks briefly to Caro, so I assume she knows him. He seems familiar. I think back to the guy who quietly pointed out the hostel information section.

Eventually the bus stops at a café.  I sit at a safe distance from the guy who seems familiar and he shoots me a look that says “Oh, you’re going to sit way over there? Fair enough.” He greets me anyway, and in a pang of guilt, I move over to his table. His name is Richard, he’s from Manchester City in England and has taken 3 months of unpaid holiday to travel southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. His voice is slightly raspy, like that of a smoker and I wonder if he smokes, but I don’t ask. I confirm that he was the guy who helped out with the hostel information the day before.  Caro, Richard, and I are all stopping in Franz Josef and it seems that I’ve unwittingly become part of a pack.

We stop off at a tourist attraction called “Pancake Rocks” for only twenty minutes. It wasn’t enough time to really see the natural phenomenon, but enough to give you the idea that spending an entire day at the spot would be a waste. It’s obvious we’re heading towards the mountains as the cloud-covered landscape starts to throw out some appetizing sights. We arrive in Franz Josef on time, and it takes me a while to sort out exactly which hostel I’d made a reservation at.  Caro and Richard follow me and book their own rooms there. We start discussing what to do with the half-day on the following day, and Caro drags her feet a little on going to see the Franz Josef glacier. She doesn’t think it’s really worth going to. Richard and I finally convince her that it’s worth it, and I come up with the idea to head out there at 6 a.m. to catch the sunrise.  It’s agreed upon and after a quick walk around town we grab a couple of pints. Caro and I start talking about kiwi women’s fashion sense. “Have you seen what the women here wear?” asks Caro. “It is a little unique,” I respond. She crinkles her nose and follows with, “Nothing matches.” “And they all wear black boots!!” I say emphatically. She smiles and nods. We continue sharing out fashion observations for a few minutes more. (Secretly, I love the fact that I get to be this girly while wearing travelers clothes). “Well, they don’t exactly have designer stores here.” Richard interjects. While he makes a good point, Caro and I are on the same page that you can still coordinate your outfit nicely without designer stores.

Richard seems flummoxed. I laugh and the subject changes to rugby. Caro and I agree that it’s a game that doesn’t make sense.  The night ends quietly.Bus Rides Are Forever – Science. Finds. Life. Caro and I walk to the bus station at 7 a.m. the next day. Caro is a 5’10” blonde German kid taking a 3-month break before starting university in Germany. This is the first time she’s traveled and she doesn’t think she will travel again after university. She says that it’ll look bad on her resume if she travels after university. Employers think that people who travel after university simply weren’t able to get a job. It’s a very corporate mindset, and it makes sense to me when she goes on to say that she’s thinking about getting a business degree. Her comments hit close to home. My recent abandonment of a perfectly good career makes me wonder if I’ll ever manage to get back on the bandwagon (or whether or not I want to). All passengers board and one guy speaks briefly to Caro, so I assume she knows him. He seems familiar. I think back to the guy who quietly pointed out the hostel information section.

Eventually the bus stops at a café.  I sit at a safe distance from the guy who seems familiar and he shoots me a look that says “Oh, you’re going to sit way over there? Fair enough.” He greets me anyway, and in a pang of guilt, I move over to his table. His name is Richard, he’s from Manchester City in England and has taken 3 months of unpaid holiday to travel southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. His voice is slightly raspy, like that of a smoker and I wonder if he smokes, but I don’t ask. I confirm that he was the guy who helped out with the hostel information the day before.  Caro, Richard, and I are all stopping in Franz Josef and it seems that I’ve unwittingly become part of a pack. We stop off at a tourist attraction called “Pancake Rocks” for only twenty minutes. It wasn’t enough time to really see the natural phenomenon, but enough to give you the idea that spending an entire day at the spot would be a waste. It’s obvious we’re heading towards the mountains as the cloud-covered landscape starts to throw out some appetizing sights. We arrive in Franz Josef on time, and it takes me a while to sort out exactly which hostel I’d made a reservation at.  Caro and Richard follow me and book their own rooms there. We start discussing what to do with the half-day on the following day, and Caro drags her feet a little on going to see the Franz Josef glacier. She doesn’t think it’s really worth going to. Richard and I finally convince her that it’s worth it, and I come up with the idea to head out there at 6 a.m. to catch the sunrise.  It’s agreed upon and after a quick walk around town we grab a couple of pints. Caro and I start talking about kiwi women’s fashion sense. “Have you seen what the women here wear?” asks Caro. “It is a little unique,” I respond. She crinkles her nose and follows with, “Nothing matches.” “And they all wear black boots!!” I say emphatically. She smiles and nods. We continue sharing out fashion observations for a few minutes more. (Secretly, I love the fact that I get to be this girly while wearing travelers clothes). “Well, they don’t exactly have designer stores here.” Richard interjects. While he makes a good point, Caro and I are on the same page that you can still coordinate your outfit nicely without designer stores.

Richard seems flummoxed. I laugh and the subject changes to rugby. Caro and I agree that it’s a game that doesn’t make sense.  The night ends quietly.


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