As I think I might have mentioned, we need a revolution in how we get around in this country, and we need it yesterday. Instead of doing something about it, our elected officials, including those who claim to understand the urgency, are doubling down on car infrastructure, ensuring that our children and grandchildren will continue to face limited, dangerous, unhealthy, and toxic transportation choices far into the future.
While we hold our collective breath waiting for the people in power to do the right thing (and also, because the air is polluted!), we ordinary, everyday folks have the ability and obligation to—ahem!—drive change. Allow me to introduce you to some folks in Thurston County who are doing just that.
Actually, come to think of it, you have probably already heard about Mary Williams and Gail Johnson, aka Rebels by Bus, two retired South Sound residents who been challenging car culture for years. I’m embarrassed to admit I just learned about them last spring. Of, course, it is also possible that I did hear about them back in 2010; parenting has destroyed my memory.
But I digress.
Here’s what my new favorite bus riders have to say about why they ride.
Global warming, world-wide financial downfall, volatile stock market, all-time high gas prices, increasing unemployment… enough to make anyone cringe and want to hibernate until things get better.
Read on… you don’t need to hibernate. Maybe you should just SLOW down?
Traveling on the bus is also a bit of a rebellion-as if by getting out of our cars, we are declaring our independence from oil and the culture that says we must rush, rush, rush around. The bus rides themselves are also a wonderful way to get a different perspective about life and the benefits of going more slowly. It is also a gentle reminder that people are helpful and friendly no matter where you go.
For some, traveling by bus is the way they get back and forth to work; they can get a lot of reading or knitting done. For others like us, traveling by bus is recreation and adventure. Like any adventure, there is the joy of figuring things out and making all the right connections. There is also a sense of resiliency when things do not go quite as planned and you have to come up with Plan B. It is a great opportunity to practice letting go of those things you cannot control.
Even in these tumultuous times, there are grand and wonderful adventures that await. Our posts are not meant to be a tour guide of the greater Puget Sound area but we do hope to provide ideas and stories that inspire you to get on that bus. Once you realize how easily you can travel to so many places without spending a lot of money, it will open up a whole new realm of fun!
I realize not everyone has the privilege to slow the pace of life, but I so appreciate these rebels, who are using their bus adventures to question the culture we have created and to develop a deeper connection to their community.