Columns, Opinion

What Grinds My Gears: Why I hate traveling alone

Every time I travel alone, something goes wrong. And not just a little bit wrong. Something goes panic-attack-inducing wrong.

Traveling is just always so stressful especially when I’m doing it alone. I love the vacation part, but hate the actual journey getting there.

This spring break I decided to visit my cousin who lives in New York. Weeks prior, I booked my bus ticket on Greyhound for Wednesday. Of course, I later came to learn that a giant blizzard was supposed to hit the East Coast that day.

I called Greyhound three times on Tuesday asking if I should change my ticket to that night. Everyone I talked to was incredibly unhelpful. They just told me to keep calling back because they had no information about my bus.

So in a panic, I called a fourth time at 5 p.m. asking to change my bus ticket to 8 p.m. that night. It cost $20 to change a bus ticket, which wasn’t really that big of deal. But the guy I was talking to made it a big deal and kept trying to shame me out of buying the ticket.

Once I finally got him to agree, I started frantically packing so that I could be at South Station in two and a half hours. Of course once it came time to leave, I realized I never got the confirmation email. I called Greyhound back seeing if they could resend it, and they tried but I still did not receive it.

I was on the verge of giving up and printing the ticket at the station when I finally received the email. I then printed the ticket and called an Uber. At this point, I was fearful that I was going to miss my bus because I was running significantly behind.

To make matters worse, I realized that I printed the old bus ticket and not the new one. I get to South Station just on time and printed the new tickets. I got in line with five minutes to spare before boarding.

I might have made it to the station on time, but the bus sure didn’t. It was an hour late. After I stressed about getting the station on time, the bus didn’t even have the decency to do the same.

Not only was the bus delayed in arriving, but before the bus arrived, the sign on the platform changed.

Even more, the tracking app indicated the bus was already in progress, making everyone in line believe that the bus had left without us.

I finally got on the bus and things started to look up for me. No one sat next to me, and the bus was moving pretty fast. I started feeling lucky again — until the Connecticut incident, that is.

About 30 minutes after a stop in Connecticut, I heard people at the front of the bus yelling. The bus driver made two announcements that people are not allowed come up to him while the bus is in motion and threatened to call the authorities if someone did it again.

After 10 minutes, I finally heard what the passengers are yelling about. We were going the wrong direction. I opened Apple Maps and saw that they were correct. Instead of going to New York, we were headed back to Massachusetts.

People continued yelling. The guy in front of me called Greyhound. Another woman called the police. The bus driver made zero announcements, and I started to panic.

I know you’re supposed to stay calm in situations like that, but I never traveled by bus before. I was all alone. It’s reasonable that when a bunch of adults sounded scared, I also got scared.

I quietly cried in my seat and tried watching “The Office” to calm down. It took two whole episodes until the driver corrected the bus, and we finally started going the right direction. Again, with no announcements or explanation from the driver.

For the next three hours, passengers shouted the right directions at the driver, just to make sure he was going the right direction.

I ended up arriving in New York almost two hours later than the original time. I also forgot to mention that I didn’t get a chance to eat dinner before I left so I was also starving. Scared and starving sums up most of my travel experiences pretty well.

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