People hate traveling...because people are bad at it. Yes, you can be a bad traveler, a bad lover and a bad customer. Traveling, much like loving and customering, is a skill and like any other skill. It can (and should) be practiced and perfected over a period of time. One of the easiest ways one can become a better traveler is to be a "tourist" in your own hometown, which in my case means forgoing the familiarity of my beloved Bavarian chariot ("Bavariot"?) and taking to my city's only* municipal transportation, Via.
With a new job and a growing case of wanderlust I see more traveling on my horizons - business and pleasure. In fact, I've already bought tickets to take the family to the climatic checkerboard known as the United State's Pacific Northwest for an overdue, summer visit to my aunt and uncle. The trip will start with a direct flight from San Antonio to Seattle/Tacoma. Followed by a train ride from Seattle to Washington's Tri-Cities (hah, take that Minnesota and your measly Twin Cities, talk to me when you're packing Quad-Cities). A week with my family and then a weekend jaunt to America's bicycle mecca, Portland, OR. The entire time I will be living out of a suitcase, corralling two kids and navigating new cities while negotiating new means of transportation, all done expertly because I put in the work during the offseason (to borrow a ubiquitous coaching platitude).
So how exactly does taking the bus help one become a better traveler? A big reason why people dislike traveling is that it is inconvenient, it forces them to adapt to something in a world that has mostly adapted to them. They have to abide by an airline's schedule (complete with delays and cancellations). It forces them to share space with a bunch of strangers while somebody else is in control. It put's a real and artificial limitation on what they can bring with them, forcing them into a sometimes uncomfortable game of What Can I live Without?
Taking the bus, I propose, will help me feel more comfortable working around somebody else's schedule (buses leave and arrive at scheduled times, whether your'e ready or not), making me more patient and adaptable. It will help me focus on carrying with me only what is most important, not a car full of "what if" gear. And, most importantly, it will force me to exist in a public environment, in direct contact with other commuters and travelers, not the coveted isolation of my Germanic six-cylinder sex machine.
So how far along am I in this experiment? I've done some research on line as to how to navigate Via's bus lines and determined which route will get me to and from my favorite co-working and co-creation space, Geekdom, in downtown San Antonio. My goal is to some day next week take the bus into downtown. Work from Geekdom for the day. And then take the bus back home. It doesn't sound like much, but, even though I've taken municipal transpiration in other cities, most notably London's tube system, this will be my first time taking public transportation in my own city. The city that has my car in it. This, for some unknown reason, makes it seem more difficult, thus making it adventurous.
Of course, I will blog and tweet when I finally take my Satori On Via - Part One. More to come soon.