Before I started my backpacking trip in Southeast Asia in 2016, I managed to rent my car out. I didn’t plan on coming back so soon, but I did. I got a new job, and my office was just about 8kms away from my home.
Since I no longer had a car, I decided to travel to work by bus daily. Travelling by bus was not only cheap, but it was also easy. It only took me 5 minutes to walk from home to the bus stop just outside of my apartment.
Although travelling by bus was a lot cheaper than travelling by car, it was still quite time-consuming for me. Despite its downside, I still preferred to take the bus than sitting in my car trying to beat KL’s crazy traffic.
I could spend 1 hour travelling by bus from home to work every day. I also could spend the same amount of time when travelling by car. Unlike driving, which requires my full attention on the road, I can afford to do absolutely nothing on the bus. If you also travel to work by bus just like I did, these are 6 things you can do on the bus to keep you company:
1. Listen to MP3 music files
There’s nothing more enjoyable than listening to your favourite songs on MP3 while you’re stuck in traffic. Some people prefer listening to soothing music to help them calm down as they look at their watches from time to time. As for me, I prefer listening to loud and catchy music. That kind of music will help me stay awake until I reach my destination.
I didn’t always get to sit on the bus, but that didn’t bother me. As long as I had my MP3 with me, that’s fine. Daydreaming on the bus somehow made me feel productive. There were times when my imagination would run wild, and there were times when I had nothing at all in mind. If you could see what’s inside my head (when I’m in that state of mind), you’d only see a dark, blank space.
2. Play Stack (so you can show off your high score later)
I was once addicted to ‘Stack’, a game by Ketchapp. I got to know about Ketchapp games through Christian, a friend of mine who works for the game company. I went on Google Play to browse for Ketchapp games and discovered Stack. I also discovered the game ‘Swing’. Both games are highly addictive. I personally like Stack more than Swing, though. I couldn’t get my hands off my phone when I was aiming for a better score each day. So far, my highest Stack score is just 107. That’s not bad, eyh?
Soon after I started playing Stack, my friends started playing it, too. We were always comparing comparing our scores. I played the game everywhere — at home, at work, at the bus stop, and even on the bus. Although the bus isn’t the best place to play Stack, I won’t deny that Stack was indeed a wonderful “distraction” amid all the distractions around me, especially during heavy traffics.
Whether you’re taking the bus or driving your own car, you’ll still need to wake up early in order to beat the traffic. If you’re still not convinced that taking the bus to work is better than driving to work, then use sleep as another good reason to take the bus rather than driving.
As mentioned earlier, I didn’t always get to sit on the bus, but whenever I had the chance to do so, I’d take a short nap and probably dream about my bed back home. My home location was actually pretty good. The bus stop was just 2 minutes away, and I could take any buses that were passing by. Depending on the timing, the buses could either be overly packed (like a can of sardines) or nearly empty, simply because everyone hopped on the buses that arrived earlier.
4. Chat with your friends
I have friends from all over the world and we always keep in touch with each other. Due to our different time zones, talking can be quite a challenge. We always need to plan ahead before contacting each other. Sometimes I just left a message and waited for them to reply. They usually responded quickly. It was nice having them around. We never ran out of topics to talk about.
With apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram, connecting with my friends is easier than ever. With Instagram, I don’t just connect with friends, but also with people I’ve never met before. The people I follow are mostly people who are inspirational, funny, and interactive. I usually follow back people who follow me.
Reading news is fun. With so many reading materials over the Internet today, the choices are endless. I like reading about money, travel and technology. Sometimes I find myself reading about nonsensical articles. I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Many of my friends love sharing news links on their Facebook profiles. I usually share mine on Twitter. Since I enjoy sharing links of the things I read online, I prefer to use Twitter. I read a lot, so I also tweet a lot. If I do that on Facebook, my friends may find my feeds “noisy”. I’m not the kind of person who shares things that I barely even read. When I tweet something, it means that I have already read the story.
6. Browse for cheap flights and hotels on Traveloka
In case you haven’t heard of Traveloka, it’s a website where you can book cheap flights and hotels. You can do your bookings via their online portal or mobile app. The first time I used their app was when I bought a return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Borneo Sarawak. I managed to get a very good deal on their site. Since then, I continued to find more deals on Traveloka. P.S. They offer up to 70% discount on selected hotels on Fridays!
I’ve always wanted to visit New York. Using the Traveloka app, I can search for the cheapest ticket from Kuala Lumpur to New York. Their Price Alert feature makes it even easier for me to keep up with the price changes. Since I had a lot of time to kill on the bus, I was always on my phone trying to look for good flight and hotel deals for my getaways.
While taking the bus to work wasn’t always a pleasant experience, it did, however, help me save more money on transportation. Although I no longer go to work by bus, I continue to do some of these things while I travel, especially during my long bus trips.