What I learnt on my trip

Greyhound buses still deliver magnificent vistas – but social media have killed the community spirit

 

Things change quickly. In just 50 years the Houston Astrodome, for instance, has moved from being the eighth wonder of the world to an empty shell.

 

Be careful about taking photos of guns on supermarket shelves. It may have unintended consequences.

 

Some people believe in the President: ‘I have been in business for years and know how to judge people,’’ one man told me.. ‘The one thing you can definitely say about Donald Trump is that he speaks the truth.’

 

America is polarised but Americans can still be extraordinarily generous. When I asked a couple of ladies if they knew where I could get some lunch they reached into their wallets. When I shared the story I was advised to look in the mirror before I went out!

 

You can do at 72 what you did at 22 - though more slowly and if you don't watch your feet you might fall over and hurt yourself.

'The interesting thing is going to be whether you make it' - an unnamed friend

'This is such a powerful idea, Tim, and we wish you happy trails and intriguing (and relatively safe) adventures' - another unnamed friend

'I wish you all the best in your new wacky adventure' - third unnamed friend 

Mobile phones have changed the Greyhound bus experience

One of the things I quickly found out was how differently people now behave while riding the buses.

 

In 1969 we got on the bus and talked. It was the time of the Vietnam war, and I spoke to veterans going to and from the field of battle, some in favour and some definitely not. I spoke to students from many parts of the world, to farmers and small business people and professional people like architects and teachers.

 

In 2019 it was completely different. As soon as people got on the bus - often before they had found a seat - they took out their electronic devices. They spoke to relatives in far-flung lands, but rarely did they speak to each other on the bus. 

 

Public discourse is not what it used to be.

NOW ON SALE!

'A lovely evocation of heady times in America' - James Naughtie

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© Tim Albert 2020