Bus the Globe Kicks off in Austin, TX!

There are few signs of the changing season here in Austin. Periodic gusts scatter dry leaves into the rock garden outside my house, cooler temperatures flow into open windows as the sun sets, and the handful of dudes you’d normally see walking around sans shirt — I think they found shirts!

It’s autumn in Austin, and I’m new here! I relocated from D.C. this past June. Why? Because I’m prioritizing warmth in my life, and Austin averages around 50 degrees in December. Furthermore, I was offered a room in a beautiful ranch style home in the 78745 part of town.

It should say, “78745 is good people (and thirsty mosquitoes)”

I’ve been to other zip codes here, but I’ve never seen anyone anywhere show love for their zip code. Weird, right? The above photo is just one example, but there are others. Personally, I like this neighborhood. I could really do without the mosquitoes (in fact I think one got inside, and is biting me now), but there are ways to keep them away if you’re determined.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living here for almost five months. Time is really flying! A lot of my time has been spent working, looking for work, working, now looking for work again, and being involved in church. Also, I live with artists/musicians; so, I was putting a lot of energy into singing and writing songs for a short while there. Then came Bus the Globe.

A few months ago, I was sitting at a bus stop out in Allandale. I was out there because one day I decided to take route 3 to the end of the line just to see where it goes. Once out there, I had time to think about life, and how I need a job. I remember praying for insight into what I can do with the assortment of skills that I have. Shortly after that I looked up, and saw many of the bus routes posted on a sign. I thought to myself, I wonder where they all go. I should ride them all, I laughed, but then I smiled because I knew I could do it. Right then and there the vision was crystal clear for how to use my skills to create something special. At that moment, Bus the Globe was born.

I moved to Austin without a car. I’ve never owned a car, never had a drivers license; thus, I can barely drive. I rely on two feet, two wheels, public transportation, Rideshare, and friends to get around. I think the reason I’m not a driver is because seldom do I feel like I’m missing out by not having a car. I moved from D.C. to Seattle, Portland, and Australia(Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne) without a car so I’ve been making it work for a long time, and I’m very comfortable with public transportation.

Many people out here in Texas probably have stories about driving a family member’s car in early adolescence. Whereas my story is about riding the D.C. Metrobus alone to and from school starting at age eleven. I’ve been navigating bus systems alone for 2 decades! With Bus the Globe, now I’m an ambassador.

Austin has a total of 87 bus routes, and my goal is to ride them all!

Again, this all started out as just something to do for my own personal enjoyment. It only transformed into Bus the Globe after I considered how documenting the process can benefit others, especially other people who don’t drive and mostly rely on public transportation. Who knows, it could even inspire people who never considered riding the bus to try it out.

I call this project Bus the Globe because once I ride all 87 routes in Austin, I’d love to travel to other major cities around the globe and ride all their local buses, too! I think of it as a challenge, similar to a marathon, or a pie eating contest, but aside from the challenge aspect, I am intrigued by the bus system for what it actually is when you think about it. Most major cities have a lot of routes, and I think most people ride the bus because they have to, not because they want to. The bus is usually an inexpensive service that will get you to where you’d like to go, eventually. With BTG, I’m going for joyrides. As I’m documenting, I’ll get to stumble upon sights new to me, have conversations with other passengers, and share my experience with the world.

My first trip will be on route 333! Stay tuned for pictures, videos, and a blog post with details about what happened!

-Jonny

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