I have come to realize that the part of solo travel that makes me the most anxious is not going to an entirely new place without knowing a single soul, but instead the actual act of getting there. There are so many unknowns that are out of my hands when it comes to relying on public transportation in a foreign land, that I always imagine worst-case-scenario. This of course, is getting stranded on a deserted island without any food or cell reception and the only companionship comes in the form of a volleyball that I refer to as “Wilson”.
Though some may say that this scenario may be just a bit extreme and is eerily similar to a plot straight out of a popular Hollywood film (which I of course beg to differ), my worries of getting to a new place do stand true. What if I miss the return bus? What if I don’t have enough bus fare and can’t get on? What if the route has stopped running for the day? What if I have taken the completely wrong route and infact landed myself on that deserted island?
Seeing as I am the daughter of a Chicago public transport aficionado, I feel like I should have an increased level of confidence when it comes to this form of travel. Unfortunately, I am not so certain that this gives me a leg up in another country. And so, after two months of getting away with riding a bike across town, I have officially tackled the Queensland Translink Public Transportation System.
I took more time to study the bus routes, times, and transfers to get to the Eumundi Market located an hour and half out of town, than I did for my Geology 101 final during my last semester of college. The Translink app was downloaded and my emergency granola bar was packed, so I had to be good to go…
Well apparently I wouldn’t have aced that test! Even after doing some research, and purchasing the $10 Go Card to get the cheapest fare, somehow I missed a detail. Much like the Chicago Card where you add value to the card instead of purchasing a paper ticket, I thought I had it covered. What I wasn’t aware of was that not only do you scan the card upon entering the bus, but also when leaving. Well, after riding the bus for 5 minutes, I was surprised when everyone, including the driver got off the bus. Going with the flow, I also departed and waited the 20 minutes to get back on the bus and continue on my journey. Only 4 hours later when returning from the market did I realize that when I got off the bus for that shift change, I never scanned my card. So when I was preparing for my return bus transfer, I was shocked that my card which was loaded with double the necessary fare read “insufficient funds”.
Seeing as I have been able to access my laptop in order to post this blog, I have in fact managed to find the closest Go Card reload station and wait the extra hour for the next bus. I guess all it took for me to get off that deserted island was an extra 10 bucks and the ability to survive off of coconuts and spearing fish for four years. That wasn’t soo bad!