First travel lesson – don’t trust in Asian buses

Czas czytania: 6 minut



Each journey has its breakthrough moments. And I’m not talking about moments that only change our journey, but about moments that also change our lives. I think I could name a few of these events for each trip. However, I decided to highlight five such moments in my entire life. These were the events that made something “click”. That made my approach to something change. Or made me discover something I had no idea about. That maybe made me understand what is really important to me. These were key moments that brought with them a lot of vivid memories and feelings. I am able to describe every detail. Every smell. Every feeling that accompanied me during these moments as if it were yesterday. Event though it wasn’t at all.

How to approach the order?

I wondered what approach to take. To go through these events according to the time of their occurrence, chronologically? If so, why should we give chronology any value in this case, since we have already established that time is not important? So I decided to describe these events not chronologically, but by the meaning they had for me. I will also mention the hidden meaning and message that these situations brought with them. Meaning, how these situations had an impact on my life. Because you have to trust me, everything has symbolic meaning to me. Everything that happens in my life, what I value, what I cherish – happens for a reason.

Let’s start from the end

On the fifth place in the ranking is the race to catch a plane in New Delhi. Interestingly, this is one of two events (in this ranking) in which I tried to make it to my return flight, and both situations turned out to be a very important lesson for me. However, they differ from each other. Just like the lesson I’ve taken from them. So let’s start with my bus border crossing from Kathmandu to New Delhi, i.e. 1,100 km and 20 hours spent on the route. What could possibly go wrong?

To this day I remember very clearly the thought that ran in my head right after seating myself and my luggage on the bus. Namely, it was a thought:

“I don’t want any adventures. I want to get to my destination as soon as possible, get on the plane and go back home.”.

Me and my adventurous soul begged for peace, can you imagine that? Nevertheless, for some time I have the impression that my forehead clearly says “I need adventure.” So I came to terms with the fact that these adventures were, are and will be. As it was in this case. I would like to write that there was nothing that could possibly go worse but I do not want to call a wolf from the forest, because karma could catch up with me on my next trip. So I’ll try to humbly accept the fact that it could always be worse.

(could it??)



It was supposed to be easy peasy lemon squeezy

Problems began at the border. Starting with the very troublesome issue of unpacking luggage from the bus, going through customs (first Nepalese, then Indian) and then reloading the luggage on the new bus. It took longer than I had anticipated in my calculations. My calculations assumed that the bus would leave early in the morning from Kathmandu and by the afternoon we would have arrived in New Delhi, so that I would be able to check in on the plane few hours late and then go home.

Frustration began when, after crossing the border and loading into a new bus, for some reason we delayed moving on. We were literally in the middle of nowhere, with one small shop that still served hot food despite the late hour. It was a bit of the scary movie scene – we were the only ones on the border along with a few locals and some drunks. Prolonged waiting, drunk Indians or homeless demented people trying to get on our bus – that was too much for me. I would also like to add that I was absolutely not in the mood for integration with the other passengers, and the music group riding the bus us was serving me painful headaches.

But life quickly verified me. There was a moment when nobody knew what was going on. We had to relieve stress and tension by sharing it with each others. And there was a lot to share, because suddenly we received information that the bus was broken.

Wait what?

What’s next? How come it’s broken? How and when will we reach New Delhi?

“No worries. A new bus is coming. “


“It will arrive in 6 hours.”

I seemed to be the most disturbed person there. Nothing strange. The clock was ticking, the flight was getting closer. I couldn’t afford to be late for my flight. A flight that was bought 3 days earlier due to the bankruptcy of the previous airline. Anyway, this accounts for a different story.

Where were we?

So I am standing on the Indian-Nepalese border.

It’s midnight.

I have a plane in 20 hours and the left distance accounts for 15 hours.

There are no prospects.

My frustration grew to the rank of Himalayas range when I saw bus drivers sitting on the road and smoking weed. To my indignation and the million questions that fell out of my mouth in less than a minute, they only responded with “don’t worry just sit and smoke with us”. This was supposed to be a solution for all my problems. I wish it was, but just because in my perception the time would be slower, would not mean that the real-time would also be going at the same pace.

Then the situation happened dynamically. I heard a “taxi” and before I could see it, I was sitting in the car with the older Punjabi, his substitute driver and three other people from the bus. I only managed to write on my lap a laughable contract obliging the travel agency to pay me the cost of a taxi in their New Delhi office. Two seconds later I was already sitting squeezed somewhere in the back seat. It did not bother me at all. The only thing that mattered back then was that we were moving forward. The spliff offered to me by drivers might not have slow down the time, but at least it let me peacefully fall asleep.

We did it!

When after 15 hours we got to Delhi (it was a unique journey and somewhere in the shadow of my frustration even funny) I was the happiest person on earth. Despite that not a single part of this trip went my way, I was fulfilled.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been frustrated when something was not going as planned. And even more so if it ruined my other plans. This was also the case here. When I look at it in retrospect; for my indignation, frustration, writing worthless sheets of paper, or checking every 5 minutes, how far we have traveled, I laugh at myself.

Because I understood that…

…when you consciously decide on traveling alone, without a travel agency, nor companions – you take all the risk and all stress on yourself. It’s inevitable. And the case with the risk is the same as of riding the bus without a ticket. Ticket inspector can catch you at any time. I do not promote riding without a ticket – and even recommend against it. I’m just trying to visualize the risk and its consequences. In my case it was the first independent journey, during which I answered for every failure and for every happiness in 100%. And how it turned out, also during which something had to go wrong.

However, I do not look at it from the perspective of a traumatic experience – rather as a unique experience. Sometimes when I am very stressed, I start to laugh a lot. And if I think about it now, it makes sense. I laugh because I know that although it is hard now, although it seems frustrating, although it is not known what will happen in an hour or two – although all of it, I still know it may turn out that it was all worth it. And maybe I wanted to get to my destination that day without problems. But it was the day when I learned that it is not the goal but the road that really matters.

The goal loses the significance when we compare it to the distance traveled.

What is the lesson?

And only when we understand that these unforeseen situations determine the quality of our journey – we will be able to accept them more easily. Because when I assess this situation today, I realize how much I was forced to get rid of my “gringoness” that day. I may not quite succeed, but now at least I know that sometimes you have to go with the flow. We don’t have an influence on everything.


Second story is coming soon, and in the meantime I invite you to the photo gallery from Nepal!


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