Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I have used this blog in the past to highlight some attributes of my travel personality and share my addiction to travel in general. I have shared pet peeves, quirks and my own public service announcements - in the hopes that someone would read them and finally understand how to not annoy fellow passengers. I have not shared any of my fears associated with travel, until now. I am a public transport-phob (or a muniphobic) but not for the reasons you might think. This is not about germs or rubbing elbows with strangers, it's more about the process in general.

When I was in high school I had a summer job across town. I usually rode my bike to and from work, because although I was working for my dad at the time, he left WAY too early for my liking and I figured I was being very grown up by doing it my own way. For some reason, I decided to take the public bus home from work one day. Public transportation wasn't overly popular where I grew up so I had never used it in Maine. (When I lived in NYC as a kid we had used it often but my parents where always in charge of the details on that.) On this particular day I rode the bus will full confidence that it would eventually go where I needed to be let off. 

I was wrong, of course. The bus finally stopped on yet another side of town from where I lived and the bus driver told me I needed to get off as it was the end of the line. I panicked. I actually needed to be home for something that night and this was before the era of cell phone technology. I remember walking/running home, probably crying in anger at how I had failed at this bus thing. It was not my finest moment.

Since then, having grown up, purchased my own cars and bought a house in the 'burbs, I still am not in a position where public transport is a part of my life. So, when I travel to a place where buses and subways are the norm I freak out a little bit. If I am with other people I play it cool and pretend I know what we're doing and where we're going, secretly hoping that I can sponge off the other person's transportation-related skills. But I'm not always with other people and I know that this phobia is limiting - trust me, I have walked sometimes more than one human should in a day just to avoid navigating which line to get on. Brian and I even had an incident on our honeymoon in Dublin with a bus snafu and a giant walk back to our hotel.

I am sharing all this now because I am determined to fix my problem. Since I am going to be in NYC, Chicago and D.C. in the near future I am going to have some time to practice and hopefully get over this silly problem once and for all, hopefully. I just thought writing it down would allow some of you to ask me how it's going from time to time and I will try to remember to share my progress. Maybe we can help each other. Do you have any travel phobias?


  1. I remember why you had to get home on time from that bus in 1997. Yopu had to catch a limo with the youth group for a night out. You were so upset that you declared you would never take a public bus again.

  2. Yep, that's right. I was supposed to be dressed up for that too and instead I was all sweaty and mad. I am ready to give up my bus grudge now, I think. :)

  3. My travel phobia is that on a trip with several flights, I will miss the first leg and have to scramble to get them all lined up again. This happened to me on the first trip I took alone out of the country when I was 19. I was on San Salvador island in the Bahamas for a 3 week marine biology class, while I was there the airline in Ft. Lauderdale changed the flight time by 2 hours. There was no phone or internet service, so no way for me to know the change. I made it to Ft Lauderdale okay, but my flight from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Louis was already gone, so therefore I couldn't make it to St. Louis to catch my flight home. Oh, did I mention that I didn't know anyone on the trip, we were from all over the country. It all worked out in the end, but I had to take a limo service to Miami to catch a flight to St. Louis and in St Louis I had 15 min to make my connection. Oh, I also don't speak Spanish, so reading the signs in Miami was not easy, luckily a friendly older gentleman helped me make it through the airport and on to my plane. I just hate that feeling of not knowing when I will get home. So, that's my phobia! Oh, did I mention it happened again in China when Aidan was with me? Oh, yeah, that was fun!