Top Ten Lessons I Learned During Our First Week on the Bus

This is my preferred morning outfit while on the bus. Don't make fun. Maile thinks it's hot.

1 – I am not emotionally flexible. When unexpected things happen, I’m not good at taking a deep breath, letting go of my plans, and embracing the new reality. This is something I’m working on.

2 – I should wear protective headgear. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve hit my head on the outside fold-up doors, or the low-hanging television, or the cupboard above the sink after brushing my teeth.

3 – There are few things that make me feel as happy as emptying the bus’s waste tank. Leave a comment below regarding that, all you psychiatrists and counselor-types.

4 – I’m not a very good dad when I’m stressed out. This adds to the importance of me figuring out #1.

5 – Poopy diapers smell much worse in a bus than in a normal-sized house.

6 – Some music is simply made for consuming while driving. Tom Petty comes to mind, with songs like “Into the Great Wide Open,” ”Learning to Fly,“ and “King’s Highway.”

7 – Driving a bus is kind of like writing. I look back on my first day driving the bus and can’t believe how terrible I was at it. I wonder how I didn’t wreck it. I wonder if, later in the journey, I will look back on the driver I am one week in and shudder. And I know that the only way to get better is to continue moving forward, continue making mistakes, and continue driving new roads.

8 – I take a lot of things for granted. I know I still do. But now I savor hot showers, home cooked meals, and the chance to get out and take a walk.

9 – As Maile so aptly said, “Things are not always what they appear.” In other words, your diesel tank probably didn’t just go from ¾ to empty for no reason (dead battery that controls the panel), and McDonald’s isn’t always a terrible place.

10 – Sometimes the only way to get unstuck is to get help.

How about you? Learn any lessons recently that I can apply to our trip? Any favorite on-the-road music I should acquire?

13 Replies to “Top Ten Lessons I Learned During Our First Week on the Bus”

  1. You forgot to mention the all-time classic Tom Petty driving song “Running Down a Dream”

    Any old time country style music always seems to fit nicely into a road-trip playlist for some reason… Check out the Avett Brothers

  2. I did laugh at the picture…sorry. And only because when I read your list about emptying the waste tank, that music from that movie and this image of Eddie popped in my head…saying “good morning, ***pooper*** is full. I so enjoy reading your posts. Having undergone a somewhat similiar trip (minus kids, and a somewhat smaller vehicle) I’m interested to see the kinds of things you encounter on the way. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  3. I just posted this today and I think you’ll find it very helpful to #1. It ain’t easy, though, this I promise.

    On the Tom Petty note, interestingly enough I’ve been listening to him ALL morning. Wildflowers is a great album, but I just put on his greatest hits and I gotta say REBEL is fun..too fun.

  4. 1. think about what you NEED in order to let go
    2. duck and weave
    3. immediate gratification of accomplishment
    4. no one is
    5. poopy diapers smell everywhere
    6. i gave you mine already – Bob Seger
    7. great insight
    8. when you get home, you will miss all the things that were “tough” about this trip. i promise, and it will feel weird to miss things you somewhat loathed.
    9. another great insight – this is also connected to number 1. letting go, trust, faith.
    10. your a man, obviously you’re going to struggle with this!! : )

  5. Point #1 was superbly said. Embrace the new reality.

    Also, I don’t know if you can get much better than Tom Petty for road trip music.

  6. at this point in your trip, you are not considering the obvious???
    Willie’s ‘on the road again’ i think if i were driving on a trip lasting more than one day, i would have a hard time getting that one off my mind, even not driving ‘willie” keep writing, and may your days go a little better

  7. When we travel from OK to PA or FL, I know that it is going to take longer than I want it to, or than it would if we were traveling without children and their attendant bladders. When I use this as my mantra, I am a much calmer person.

    I am not logistically flexible. See point one above.

    When I am tired and hungry, I am cranky.

    So many more. Your first point made me laugh. Sorry. Hang in there, Bus Man. This is a huge deal.

  8. When my husband, our daughter, our niece, our 2 dogs, and I made the great ” ’83 Expedition ” – 3 weeks in a homemade camper – we all sang Rocky Top at the top of our lungs many times. Even one of the dogs “sang” along! Good times, good memories….

  9. I am loving these postcards from the road, Shawn. What a refining process, and it’s given your already good writing a kind of shot in the arm. thank you for sharing your trip, your struggles, and your experiences honestly. It’s Lent in a bus alright.

    You might like Feist, Simon & Garfunkle, Coldplay, on your trip. I do, because it has to be music that still works after 4 songs. I agree Tom Petty is like that.

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