Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
I am a new passenger to the local bus service, and in attempting to understand how it works, mistakes must be made, intended stops must be missed and haste to arrive must be postponed.
Once I established that the bus would do another loop of the entire city and surrounding area before circling back to the library I had been looking for, I struck up a conversation with the bus driver, who had been vaguely wondering where the lone rider imagined she was travelling to.
I soon learned of his plans to visit Ireland next year; that he is about to retire; that he would like to spend at least a month of his time travelling the country and exploring the castles and landscapes.
Two weeks, he said, was not enough. It would indeed be expensive, but it was to mark the end of his long career and he considered that he would be free to experience the adventure of a lifetime. I agreed with his sentiment. Money ought not to be an object when embarking on retirement; it is the most sensitive of occasions when a fellow weighs the past with what is left to come and wonders what else might have been.
He was most enthused about seeing Ireland through the eyes of a former bus driver, and encouraged by the thought of being taken about the countryside as a passenger, as one who had earned the right to relinquish the steering wheel.
I refrained, but I might have told him that the most refreshing way to see a country and to get to know the inhabitants was as simple as accidentally missing one's stop. There is nothing quite like it.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:33 PM