If I had it my way I would travel everywhere by coach.
I caught my first ever Greyhound bus from Memphis to Nashville.
American’s seem to have this warped idea of the Greyhound as some crime infested hell hole solely populated by smelly burgers and crazy people, but the reality really isn’t so bad.
The Greyhound To Nashville
There is nothing overtly scary about the Greyhound bus station or the Greyhound bus itself.
It’s not the cleanest bus in the world, it’s not the prettiest bus in the world, and the passengers are not the richest or sanest people in the world, but as buses go it’s pretty standard.
It does slightly resemble a rusty tin can, but you can live with that.
The one thing that did turn out to be true was that there are a lot of ex-inmates on the bus. I was sitting in front of two people on the way to Nashville and they both spent a lot of time talking about prison.
One of the passengers, a woman in her thirties with a distinctive southern accent, had just been released that day after several years on a heroin charge.
The other passenger, a guy in his fifties, had been out for a while. He was in jail for five years, but I never found out what he did.
Think about it logically for a second. If someone has literally just got out of prison then there is a reasonable chance they’re not dying to go back straight away, so why are they going to attack some random stranger on the bus?
I’m not saying bad things never happen on the Greyhound or that there are never disruptive or scary people. But it really didn’t seem that bad to me.
I (May) Have Met A Ghost
I pretty much exclusively stay in hostels when I travel, but sadly that’s not always an option. Nashville has no hostels at all as far as I’m aware, so I had to get a bit creative with my accommodation.
I would normally use Airbnb for private rooms only, but there are also a surprising number of makeshift hostels to meet the current demand. There are three basic types of hostels on Airbnb.
- Commune style hostels. These ‘hostels’ are basically shared living spaces. Some people (i.e. the hosts) live there permanently, some people stay there for 1-3 months, and some people live there for a few days.
- Hostel Style Accommodation. Some people have turned their home into a mini hostel with bunk beds and dorm numbers. The hosts will probably live in the house like they would in a normal Airbnb setup, but you will be staying with other travellers in bunk beds rather than in your own room.
- Shared Houses. These Airbnb hostels are basically empty houses with bunk beds which you share with a bunch of strangers.
I stayed in my first ever shared Airbnb house in Nashville. When I first walked into the house I thought I had walked into my own personal horror film.
Don’t get me wrong, the house was nice.
It’s called ‘The Record House’ because there is a record player in the living room and the walls are lined with records.
The reason I thought I had walked into a horror movie was that the house was as silent as the grave and there wasn’t a human being in sight.
I was putting my shopping away when I heard someone open the front door and walk into the house.
I went in to see who it was and it was a fairly normal looking girl sorting out some luggage on the bed below mine. I said hello to her and walked back into the kitchen.
Now, I didn’t hear the front door open again, and this girl definitely didn’t walk past the kitchen to go out the back door.
I didn’t actually hear her walk into the hall or move around at all, but when I walked back into the dorm room after about five minutes she was nowhere to be seen.
I never saw her again in the two days I spent in that house.
I literally cannot think of anywhere she could have gone or what the hell happened to all her stuff.
The whole thing was definitely giving me some great ideas for a new Airbnb style horror movie.
Luckily, the door opened again about five minutes later and this time a woman in her forties came in. She didn’t end up vanishing into thin air, but she did say I could stay with her when I got to San Diego.
Things started to feel more normal after that. It turned out that some guy had been in the room behind the kitchen the entire time and there were other nice, normal and (probably) living guests staying in the house.
No one else seems to have seen the girl though, so I’m pretty convinced she was legitimately a ghost.
Stay tuned for America’s Parthenon, loud bells, country music and the Honky Tonk.