Take a Ride on the Passenger Side

Editor’s note: Below you will find a lesson in surrender. A reminder to let go sometimes. Give yourself to the journey knowing…no! Trusting, that you’ve just committed to a path. No plans. Just a series of inexplicable experiences strung together while your worries are stowed away safely.

Allow the author’s story to inspire your road to Lucidity. Follow the directions to Live Oak as a guideline. Leave room for deviation and if you aren’t driving…enjoy the passenger seat. Better yet, offer that luxury to your driver!

Photo by Marissa Pfenning

Driving across the country in a painted school bus was beyond scenic, enlightening, adventurous, and in many ways hard.


We lived together. We slept within inches of strangers for a week. We shared stories and created our own. Taking a school bus has its benefits and its hardships.

Like anything great, the balance of these two makes it a true adventure – not too cushy and easy – because when does that make for a good story?

The first step was giving up.

I realized I was not the leader of this ship.  I was truly at the mercy of the captain, our fearless driver Mr. T. I must first say that you can feel the patience emanating from this man.

Think, he is used to busloads of festival goers, their open minds & quirky ways, their timing, their attitudes. He was the definition of a smooth operator.

Photo by Farhoud Meybodi

Getting this man to raise his voice or become rattled is impossible. I am so thankful that such an experience was lead by T. I am forever in gratitude for the trust he puts in complete strangers to travel great distances. I say this as a very important tip: know your captain.

The feeling of giving up came with the fact that time was no longer mine in many ways.

While uncomfortable at first, this realization allowed me the pleasure of not shouldering any stress whatsoever. The first example was showing up to the initial launch exactly when I was supposed to. I realized within twenty minutes that I was one of the first (of twelve) to arrive and the process of packing would take at least three to four hours.

What did I expect, for it to be fast?

Almost everything was decided for me. When to eat, when to stop, what sights to see. I don’t say this as a complaint. I say this as a reality.

It would be much too hard to get twelve opinions on everything. I was more than happy to be quiet and go with the flow. Many times when I would want to stop I waited an extra twenty minutes and someone would spout the suggestion anyways and save me from the pressure of speaking first. I was also very fortunate to be with so many thoughtful people who had a great route in mind.

Driving in Montana was unlike any other place I have been. It is flat, empty, desolate, and bare for mile after mile. The flat nature and uninterrupted views were endless. This adds such weight to the idea of emptiness because you can be sure that the space you are looking at is indeed, lifeless.

Lifeless? I think not!
Photo by Anna Jones

Driving in the hills and valleys you crest a hill and see town. Round a bend and look at the landscape in front of you. In Montana you don’t think you are the only one around for miles, you know.

The most amazing moments were driving through a lighting storm. We could see lighting striking in all intensities at all distances in almost 360 degrees. Fortunately we were not directly in the rain which afforded us such spectacular views of the storm. The huge windows of the bus and my seat as copilot gave me panoramas of the lightning I will not soon forget.

This country is huge. You must drive it to experience the true differences in the landscape and people.

I learned a lot about myself on that trip.

I learned that just being a passenger is okay…with good leadership and companions.

I learned that when the bus breaks down in Billings for two days you make due and grit through the troubles.

I learned that tough journeys truly do make that destination all the more sweet.


Let’s go on a trip. I’ll drive.

Take the ride. Buy the ticket. See you at Lucidity!


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