Greyhound Across America: An Exercise in Positivity

The experience I had getting to Oklahoma from Florida was a trying one, but I took it as an opportunity to prove my ability to stay positive in less than desirable situations.  Let’s see how I did.  Hopefully you can take these examples and apply them to some negative things going on in your life.  My apologies for the lack of photos.  I was on day 3 through 5 of constant travel and wasn’t really in the picture taking mood while switching buses.  My storytelling will have to suffice.

After arriving on US soil, I walked out of the Fort Lauderdale Airport in and was in a taxi to the Greyhound Station within two minutes.  That’s what I call convenient!  It was in a somewhat scary part of town and the heat/humidity had me melting.  Fortunately, I had enough time to walk a mile down the road to buy sandwich ingredients before my bus left on its two-day expedition across America.

There were people sleeping at the station and the unattended children had plenty of time to inspect my bag.  My constant talking to them made me seem approachable by a 15 year-old named Rick.  He was trying to get to Indiana and was facing a long series of bus transitions and was nervous about catching the right ones.  I compared our tickets and it turned out we were going to Atlanta together so I told him I’d make sure he got there.  It was a good opportunity to continue paying forward the help the Bulgarian woman gave me on the way to Germany.  So after the bus got there fifteen minutes late, we were en route to Atlanta.

The completely full bus stopped in Orlando at 2am where we learned that twelve tickets were not printed with the correct bus schedule on them and had to be fixed and completely reprinted out one at a time at the desk.  Mine was included in this list, but luckily, mine was not one of the many that were delayed by several hours as I made sure Rick and I were at the front of the line for service.  So after chatting up some fellow travelers in line for our hour and a half layover, we were aboard the correct bus.  I was glad it was still dark out so I could thoroughly pass out for a couple hours before the bus stopped again.

The whole next day was full of stopping over and over again to pick up random people until the bus filled up completely again, but the entire time, I got the window seat.  Score.  I didn’t mind the prison inmates at all because I had my sandwiches and a comfortable place to rest my head on my makeshift pillow.  One of the last passengers to board sat next to me.  It was an older man.  At first I was annoyed that I didn’t have my extra leg room next to me, but I made the best out of the situation and decided that it was a good time to make a new friend.  So I pulled off my headphones and introduced myself.

His name was Dennis and he was a software engineer.  He loved movies and TV shows about time travel and had the mathematical background to be able to talk about the physical possibilities of such things.  This actually made for hours of intriguing conversation.  I now know more than I ever have about quantum mechanics and theoretical wormholes and he knows more about sci-fi films and television.  Thank you for making the trip more interesting, Dennis.

That night, I was on a bus to Nashville with all new people.  The girl that sat next to me looked around at the crowded bus full of screaming children, people complaining about the available seating, and the people complaining about showing up too late to get a seat, then she turned to me and said she was thankful to be sitting next to me where it wasn’t so stressful.  In response, I fell asleep.  Though I must admit, I was not only grateful for having a seat as well, but also being able to keep myself from behaving as negatively as some of the other people sharing this predicament.

On the last morning, I was in Arkansas, and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was now relying on the idea of returning home to my loved ones in just a few hours to keep my sanity and positivity about me.  One of the last stops consisted of people complaining about being on the bus all day and how hot it was outside.  I sat and listened quietly and enjoyed the last of my sandwich provisions from Florida.  I tried to get some sleep during these last hours since I hadn’t been too successful on the packed buses the night before, but I couldn’t because the woman behind me had a terrible cough that was giving me a headache after a while.  But you know what?  I was thankful that I was healthy and without what sounded like a painful cough.

It wasn’t long after that when we arrived at the Oklahoma City Greyhound Station where my parents were waiting for me.  It was all worth it.  The confusion on the Bulgarian bus line to Germany, the all night layover in Frankfurt, and the Trial of the Greyhound.  All of that struggle led me to having a wonderful lunch at one of my favorite restaurants with two of my favorite people.

In that exhausting exercise, I had the luxury of knowing the ultimate positive outcome of my situation, but it took conscious effort on my part to see the bright side of every single thing that went wrong during the trip home.  I know there are much worse things that could happen to me, but this whole post is to demonstrate what I talked about in my Lessons: Part One post regarding positivity.  It’s easy to stay positive when things are going alright.  But it’s when the  bad things happen, the things that really annoy you or make you extremely angry, that is the only time positivity matters.  Otherwise, it’s completely meaningless.

So here’s something I hope for you, specifically.  Go the next 24 hours without complaining.  Not once.  No matter what bad things happen, especially if something bad happens, don’t complain.  See what happens.  I bet you’ll be in a better mood than you think you’ll be in.  And that’s because you’re taking the first steps to being a truly positive person.  And positive people are happy.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Let me know how it goes.

I’m so inspired I think I’ll make a Lessons: Part Two post to end this part of my story.  Thank you for reading and stay tuned.

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