I am a frequent bus rider, traveling weekly from Northeast Pennsylvania to New York City for flying trapeze classes. I could drive—it would save time and I’d be free to follow my own schedule. But, for me, driving in Manhattan is stressful, and the cost is roughly twice what I pay for the bus. Besides, if I drove I’d miss out on all the mystical experiences riding the bus affords me.
Like the day I was in the Port Authority Bus Terminal Starbucks and ran into a yoga instructor from Sri Lanka with whom I’ve taken workshops. And the woman from Maine who overhead a phone conversation I had with a dear friend and told me I was her angel messenger of the day. And meeting James, a local PR bigwig, who after hearing about my book, Flying Free: Life Lessons Learned on the Flying Trapeze, helped me appear on the TV show PA Live! and a local radio show.
Last week, I ran into James in Port Authority. He told me he’d given his daughter a copy of my book, and because she read the book, which deals largely with facing fear and perfectionism, last month at Disney World she “just decided that she didn’t want to be afraid of heights anymore.” Her willingness to let go of fear enabled her to have a blast on Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and the Mount Everest roller coaster, experiences she would have missed had she continued to empower her fear of heights. Like James’ daughter, my fear of heights, my fears in general, once held me back. And like James’ daughter, relinquishing that fear brought a lot of fun into my life.
I wrote my book for myself, to remind me of all the fear I’ve faced, befriended and left behind. I wrote my book for women like my friend Kathy, who longed to travel but could not find companions to go to the places she most wanted to visit. After watching a clip of me discussing Flying Free on TV, Kathy booked her solo journey to Thailand where she is right now volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. Hearing how my experiences are inspiring others to face their fears and do the thing they fear is the greatest reward of having written this book.
Back to the bus. Turns out, this most humble of transportation is coming into its own. USA Today yesterday featured a travel piece on how buses are gaining popularity as travelers look for bargains that get them out on the road.