Caroline: Holiday Travel

Disclosure: This blog post was written while driving through Manhattan on a bus home. Home meaning Boston, because that city has my heart 🙂

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to take a plane home for Thanksgiving— or so one might think. The past two Thanksgivings it has taken me 8+ hours to get from Boston to Wyckoff, NJ. The traffic on Tuesday afternoon before the holiday is crazy. First you get probably 20% of the Boston population leaving the city for home—wherever that may be. Then, if you’re on a bus that leaves anywhere from 1-5pm, you will hit NYC and Connecticut commuter traffic. Just when you think you’ll make it with in an hour of your scheduled arrival time, your hit bumper to bumper traffic from Norwalk, CT all the way to Manhattan. You finally cross the bridge to Manhattan and you think you’re home free, then you sit in grid lock for another hour as you travel 100 blocks to the 42nd St Port Authority. Once you’ve arrived there, you have to run to the top floor where the NJ Transit or Coach USA buses are to actually get to New Jersey, because even though you made it to the city, you’re still about an hour away from hugging your cats. Last year my bus got in so late, my mom had to drive into the city to pick me up because the NJ Transit buses had stopped running on a regular schedule. This year, I missed the last Coach USA bus to my town by one minute— the one minute I spent waiting in line for the ticket. I was running around Port Authority trying to figure out how I was going to get home, then finally got on a bus that I knew was going to a town near mine, but I wasn’t even sure exactly where I was going to be dropped off. I ended up getting home around 10:45pm, after leaving my apartment in Boston at 2pm.

Here’s the thing that really grinds my gears: if my roommate who lives in South Florida left our apartment at the same time as me, 2pm on Tuesday, I promise he would’ve gotten home before I did. Home in FLORIDA before I arrived home in NEW JERSEY. But, the bus is cheap, so I take it. Next Thanksgiving I am definitely splurging to take the train, because the traffic is just so mind numbing. I don’t have a problem any other time of the year taking the bus, its just Thanksgiving is so bad. My parents keep hounding me to find someone from North Jersey who has a car up in Boston— which is definitely not as easy as my sister finding someone with a car in Ithaca, NY. People don’t drive in the city! But I’m going to try for next time to find someone to give me a ride, because the hour detour to NYC makes the journey much more difficult.

Sorry to everyone who has to fly far and has to spend a lot of money on plane tickets. I salute you for only being able to go home a few times per year and the amount of time and money you spend traveling. If only it was socially acceptable to fly from Boston to Newark and it was as inexpensive as a bus/train ticket— I’d make it door-to-door in two hours. But until that’s a thing, or maybe even teleportation (that’d be dope) I’ll just be spending my time on the bus. Here’s hoping winter break traffic won’t be bad, because I already booked my bus tickets.

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