If you asked me when was the first time I took an all night road trip, I’d say going from Bolivia to Peru. Then I’d think about it and remember it was actually the time that me and all my siblings except for Matthew drove home from Virginia. It was horrible; Daniel and Scott were idiots and rolled down all four windows once an hour(it was DECEMBER. In VIRGINIA), and they refused to walk into the gas station with me when I was the only one who had to go to the bathroom, and just as I can’t now, I couldn’t sleep sitting up, so I was awake until we got home at 5:30am.
The second time, the time that feels like the first time, was our second travel day on the World Race. Leaving the freezing cold of the mountains in Bolivia, reunited with my whole squad, and heading toward the 80 degree desert of Peru couldn’t make me anything but happy. The second half of it(we stopped in Lima for a day and rode another bus through the next night) was much less fun because I’d started coming down with the flu when we were leaving La Paz, so by the time we were on the final leg of our trip, I had a high fever and every inch of me ached and the last thing I wanted was to be curled up on the seat of a cold bus leaning my head on the window. I pulled out my sleeping bag and wrapped up in it for a while, but the super thermal fabric just bounced all my 103 degree body heat back onto me and made me sweat, which made me more cold.
Overnight flights weren’t really easier; just trading out one set of highs and lows for another. On a bus, it’s just you and your friends(usually). You’re sitting in two by two seats, and you get to pick your buddy. You make stops to get out and walk around. Often there’s a bathroom. But there are no movies, and you have to bring your own food, and traveling on the road is obviously way longer than in the air.
On a plane, you have tons of movies(usually; American Airlines doesn’t seem to think seven hours from Miami to Bolivia or five hours from Colombia to Dallas is long enough to need entertainment). There’s always a bathroom and it’s nicer than the ones on a bus. They feed you. The ride is shorter. But you don’t get to pick your seat, much less your buddy; you might not even be near anyone you know. You can’t be as loud as you would on a bus because you’re sharing a plane with lots and lots of other people. Your ears threaten to explode. There’s far less room to climb over people to get to the bathroom, and sometimes the stranger beside you won’t wake up to let you into the aisle and they’re too big for you to climb over, so you have to hold your pee for three hours before finally grabbing their shoulder and shaking them incessantly til they come to(and even then, you get out and there’s three people ahead of you in line. And when you’re finally next…the plane hits bad turbulence and the flight attendant makes you go back to your seat. That was miserable)
I did love travel days…but wow, I don’t miss them much. I’m glad I got to experience them, but I’m just as thankful that I’ll never have another one.