I already posted this piece at the beginning of my trip. When I started my travel writing class I thought I would post each piece as I wrote it. After the first few pieces I realized that all the pieces would benefit from revisions. I have now made those revisions and am posting all the pieces together. I had to turn in a final portfolio for my class and all these posts are straight from that portfolio. This piece is not much different from the first time I posted it, but I am going to post it again so that all the pieces are together.
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 just 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?