Travelling by coach is a very beneficial way to travel around the world, and I’m sure the majority of us have experienced it on our travels. It is much cheaper than travelling by train, plane or car and is a lot more convenient (no parking charges, no checking in, etc.).
However, it does have one downside; an age-old problem that as yet no one has conquered, and that is – how do you stay sane ? I mean, just how you refrain from banging your head against the seat in front in hope of knocking yourself unconscious ..
On short coach trips, retaining your sanity should not be a problem. You board the bus in a happy mood and arrive at your destination reasonably cheerful. So what is the difference with long trips? Is it being confined to the same seat for hours on end?
Is it the other passengers, who when the trip was in its infancy were more than pleasant, but now are impossible to look at (probably because they are feeling the same way as you)? Is it the driver; is he suddenly driving like a Sunday morning stroller? Or, is it in fact just you?
The answer to keeping sane on long coach journeys lies in a problem that is hidden within us all: boredom. If we were kept busy during a long journey, our sanity would remain in check. The key is to keep yourself busy at all times, the minute boredom realises you are doing nothing it will strike, and believe me, boredom does not care who it offends!
Gadgets are always a good cure for boredom, so be sure to pack as many as you can in your backpack. Fill up your iPod or smartphone with some of you favourite music, and spend a few hours shuffling through your playlists.
However, such devices run on batteries and a charge may fail you halfway through a journey; no worries, we can move on to the next gadget – a laptop or tablet. Watch a film or surf the web if you have internet connectivity. This will keep you entertained for a few hours – until the battery runs out.
Are you sat next to a stranger? Time to introduce yourself to him or her. Chatting is great for passing time and who knows you might have a lot in common. Some of my best moments traveling have been speaking to others along the way.
Sometimes you will have to ignite the conversation, but sometimes others will chat to you first – so don’t be afraid! If the conversation has become stagnant or your sanity is beginning to waiver, it is time to dip back into the backpack. Pack some food and drink and make sure it’s your favourite; this will lighten your mood and keep you occupied for a short while.
If you’re still on your journey at this stage, it is time to engross yourself in a book, newspaper or magazine, any publication that is of interest to you. Hours can tick away easily when reading, although eyes can become somewhat strained.
Look out of the window at the (hopefully) beautiful scenery, inspire yourself then write about it in a journal. I also like to jot down my travel notes to come back to at a later stage or fill out my diary, which can while away an hour or two.
If you are still on the coach at this stage, options are really running low. Only one thing is left to do…..sleep!
The editor of Discovery News Journal, and pursuer of relatively interesting information, Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.