Few things are worse than an overnight bus. No two are the same, but all feature a crying baby, erratic driver, and an uncomfortable seat.
While I used to rely on overnight buses, my first this year came just last week. I sat next to a close friend and went from Bogota to Buga, Colombia. My friend travels more comfortably than I do and at some points I felt bad about the crying child, the non-functioning WiFi, and how I hogged the blanket we shared. She’s not a vagabonder; she deserved better.
After three days exploring Buga and Cali together, my friend went to Armenia and I jumped on an overnight bus to Medellin. Our time in Cali was great; we saw what there was to see and did what there was to do. I enjoyed every minute of it. I never stayed the night there. I never once found myself wandering through a sketchy neighborhood. It didn’t feel wrong, but it didn’t feel right either.
When I climbed onto the bus in Medellin something felt different. It was a dump. It made the bus we took to Buga look like a limousine. The advertised WiFi didn’t work, the whole bus smelled like cigarettes, and the bus was delayed an hour. I woke up to a rod in the seat poking my back every time I was almost asleep and an aisle mate waging war against me for the middle armrest. The bumpy seat kept me awake.
While I tried to fall back asleep, I realized that this lumpy seat is my bed and the derelict bus is my home. Broken buses and broken plans: This is my life. I wouldn’t change a thing.