The Bus Ride

This is another piece that I wrote for my travel writing class. We had to write 500 words on the bus ride on the way to Scotland. My piece turned out to be a little more philisophical than I intended. Here it is:

The Bus Ride

As I look out the window, the world streams by. Things are passing quickly, but not too fast. At least not as fast as on the last two methods of transportation I have taken—trains and planes. The world is green and grey today: grey roads, green trees, grey sky, green grass, grey stone, green crops, grey rain. Riding on a bus can be extremely boring, but also therapeutic because it gives the mind a chance to just think without doing anything else. As I look out, I am struck by the feeling that this landscape looks like home. Now, I know that I am definitely not back in Minnesota. The bus is driving on the left side of the road, we have driven through more roundabouts than traffic lights, and the names of the roads and towns are distinctly British. But when I look beyond that, I am sitting on a bus going down the freeway, watching green fields and trees go by, and I could be home. Which causes me to start thinking: Is England more different from Minnesota, or is it more the same? What a question. In its more general form, are humans and the places we live more similar or more different?

We tend to focus on the differences: the languages, the clothing, the currency, the measurement systems, and the food. We love to talk about diversity and uniqueness. But there is more to the world than that. At our most fundamental level, we are just humans—just people living on this earth. As I peer out the window, I catch glances of the people in the passing cars. I see a family piled in with an infant in the back seat. In the next car I see a man driving to work by himself. In a third I see a lone elderly couple. They are all living their lives, trying to make the best of things, support themselves, and be happy. The way they go about things may be different and in no way do I want to undermine the distinct ways that people live their lives, but we are fundamentally all humans trying to figure things out. I look out the window again. There’s just more of the same. But that’s not a bad thing, I think. It gives me more time to think after a week of being busy. I let myself fall back into the philosophical discussion I am having with myself. I am no closer to a conclusion than I was when this bus ride started.  So, I’ll now pose the question to you, my readers, because although I have attempted to answer it, I by no means came to a conclusion. Are people and places more similar or more different?

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2 thoughts on “The Bus Ride

  1. Teresa, I think that people are more the same than different. Everyone sleeps, gets up, tries to do something useful, eats, sleeps. The things that we do different are the things that make the world more interesting. That is why we usually focus on the things that make us different. There is an appropriate time to focus on each. When we are talking about solving world problems (Peace, hunger, environmental problems, energy, carbon), we need to focus on our common needs. When we need to find some solutions, we need to focus on uniqueness, independent thought, differences, etc. In other words, we need to be focusing on the thing that will make the world a better place for all. Does that make sense?

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