Season’s Greetings from the OC!
I am currently sitting by a window in the city of Laguna Niguel, watching the sky change as the sun goes down behind palm silhouettes.
I’ve been in the US for 2 weeks now. It took me a while to get here from home – 3 weeks to be exact. Why? I was visiting friends in Europe along the way! If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I hadn’t planned any of the journey aside from the initial journey to Amsterdam and my flight to the US from Stockholm. I used to be quite the plannner, but since my travels in India, during which none of my plans worked out, I’ve realised that being flexible on the road is brilliant. It means that I can decide to travel based on how I feel, following my heart rather than an itinerary.
In the last 5 weeks, I have been to a house warming party in Groningen, watched the recording of a Dutch rap, eaten homemade vegan ice cream in a Bochum cafe, looked after my best friend’s 6 week old baby, attended a seminar at the University of Copenhagen, had a vegan meal specially made for me at a little known establishment in Christiania, attended the exclusive Vinyl release party of a Gothenburg-based Folk-Progg-Fusion band, helped decorate almost 30 gingerbread houses in a professional bakery, and have been busily preparing for an Indian/Latina Jewish wedding in the sun soaked hills of Orange County, California.
Based on what I’ve heard and read, these things aren’t on the standard traveller’s itinerary. En route to the US, I made my way through the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, staying with friends every night (except for a couple on buses and another in Arlanda airport!). In my opinion, staying with people is the best way to travel. Doing it this way has enabled me to see places I would never have thought to visit, and have experiences I could never have predicted’.
Staying with friends, and for a while in each place has also been extremely cheap! With the exception of my flight here and two train rides, I travelled between cities by bus. In my opinion, buses are a great way to around Europe, and from my brief experience on a Greyhound, in the US too. I have met some fascinating, hilarious, and wonderfully unique people on bus journeys, while enjoying the scenery of some beautiful countries (and the occasional ferry ride!). Admittedly, buses aren’t for everyone. Being short, I don’t need much legroom, while the taller traveller might struggle with comfort if confined to a window seat. I also don’t get travel sick, although there are ways to handle things for those who are. If time is pressing, buses may also not be the best option.
I, however, love them. They are one of the cheapest ways to get around, and are nowadays often equipped with complimentary WiFi, electricity, and toilets. The bus companies I have travelled with have had generous luggage allowances, conveniently located stops, and have been mostly punctual. Travelling slowly also allows for down-time, which I for one, definitely need. Whether it’s sitting on a bus, gazing out the window, or spending a day reading and watching films, while travelling, as in life, having time to myself is very important to me, to keep my mind and body in check.
Everyone has their own ways of travelling, and I love to hear them.
How do you do it?