"Okay," I thought. "I won't have to wake up Terry to take me to the bus."
I was glad about that because I didn't want to have to make arrangements to be picked up upon my return.
I dragged my luggage to the car. One carry-on: check! One personal item: check! One garment bag: check! Yes, now I would have to submit my belongings to the handling of the baggage handlers, but there was no way around it. I needed everything I was bringing.
I drove to the bus station, leaving plenty of time to spare. After purchasing my ticket, I, along with the other travelers, watched the TV in the station lobby.
"Unseaonably cold," said the reporter. "Don't go out unless you have to!"
Lucky us! We were getting away from this latest deep freeze.
Looking around, I wondered to myself, "Where are these other people going? Hopefully, somewhere warmer."
Two women walked in together, embarking upon some joint venture, noticably excited about their trip. They deposited their bags in the appointed place.
"One-way tickets for two to Midway!" One woman paid for both, treating her friend to the ride. They helped themselves to coffee and plunked down heavily on the small sofa.
Next to me sat a solitary traveler. He wasn't dressed in a business suit, just casual attire, work clothes actually. He relaxed with his eyes close, perhaps dozing or maybe just resting his eyes. I wondered about where he was going and why: was it a family gathering or something job related? He didn't look like the frequent-flyer type. No briefcase, no garment bag filled with suits.
The announcement came.
"The First bus goes to O'Hare; the second bus goes to Midway. Have your tickets ready."
This was it. Everyone jumped to attention, anxious to board the waiting coaches.
"This the bus for O'Hare?" I asked just to be sure.
"Yes ma'am. Let me take your bags."
I walked up the aisle of the bus, surprised by how crowded it was. Sitting down, I looked through the window and viewed the darkness that still made up this morning. We drove down the street towards the tollway.
The familiar sites of this oft traveled street looked different at this time of day, as if they had not yet awakened. Only night lights shone within the buildings. Signs were blackened, lots empty. No line of cars awaiting the changing of the traffic light. The driver handily maneuvered the long curve of the ramp and merged quickly into light traffic.
"This is it! I'm on my way," I thought. "The first couple of steps are completed. What will the rest of the day bring?"
It would be a long morning of travel, sure to be exhausting. But while riding that bus I felt exhilarated and ready for adventure. Travel can be like that, after all: an invitation into the unknown, even when the final destination has been chosen and all details have been tended to. Adventure is in the eyes of the beholder. And it can be experienced in the most unlikely of places.