Blind Bus Tour – Test Run

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What is one mental distinction between kids and grownups? As grownups, most of us plan everything — sometimes even obsessively down to the finest detail of our daily schedule or itinerary. That, of course, is not necessarily a bad trait per se. But amidst the neck-deep sea of our never-ending to-dos, a little spontaneity can often be surprisingly therapeutic.

Remember that time you pants’ed your childhood playmate out of nowhere? Bet you didn’t bear the foresight that that was going to make him cry — though luckily enough, you guys were still best buds the next day. Oh, and that time you ate ALL of the cookies in the kitchen, and then denied doing so albeit sporting visible crumbs all over your face? Repercussions were probably not what you had in mind as the sugar devil summoned those tiny hands.

OK, before this turns into an extensive guide of “How to Get on Santa’s Bad List,” the point is that we could all use a little impulsive fun every now and then. (Well, right, perhaps not through pants’ing people randomly.) Some of you might say, “I was actually never a bad kid. I’ve always been super orderly my entire life.” See, that’s all the more reason to try stepping out of the line — within harmless situations — at least for once!

We have probably all heard of this saying too: “You don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing.”

As for me, this “Blind Bus Tour” idea has been tinkling in my mind for a few weeks now. Having lived in London for the last couple of years, my primary means of transportation have mostly been the tube and my legs. I know the tube map (at least within Zone 1) inside out by now, and yet I feel like I know very little about what our equally iconic double-deckers have to offer. It is not a status quo that I will allow. It. Shall. Be. Changed!

Conveniently — in the time aspect — I have very recently departed from my previous full-time job. I now have all the time in the world… for the most part.

What else do I have? Let’s see… a camera, a pair of eyeballs, and a contactless payment card! Looks like I’m all set! So without further ado, I decided to kick start my “Blind Bus Tour” with a test run!

The “rules” are simple:

  • unplanned time
  • random bus
  • impulsive destination

For the test run, I did admittedly cheat a little. I had to be in Angel that day. Therefore I pre-selected my route and left ample time for the commute. When the actual tour commences though, this won’t be the case anymore. Random bus. Random destination.

bus route victoria angel
The resulting route from Victoria to Angel on the 38
blind bus tour piccadilly
A4 Piccadilly
blind bus tour piccadilly circus
Passing Piccadilly Circus
blind bus tour chinatown
Is London always so packed with people? Yes. At least since 3 – 5 years or so ago.
blind bus tour angel stop
Yay, we’re here!
blind bus tour multiple 38s
Sitting inside a 38, with three more 38’s ahead of us.
blind bus tour piccadilly circus
Passing Piccadilly Circus, again. More drunk people than before.
blind bus tour victoria
Fun fact: I was going to just take the tube on the way back, but I ended up enjoying the first ride so much I skipped the tube and hopped on a return bus!

And just like that. It’s done.

Thoughts

  • There is something really exhilarating about riding the bus — that is, when you are not in a hurry. Unlike a tube ride, where one would usually mindlessly stare at ads or other passengers for the whole duration of the trip, I got to admire changing scenes with all the people-watching one could imagine.
  • The inside of the bus was truly far from pleasant on the nose, which — I guess — is not that different from taking the tube.

When am I going on my first real Blind Bus Tour, you ask? Haven’t planned it! After the test run “cheat day,” it’s only sensible for me to go back and pay my grownup dues for a little. Not going to lie though, I am super psyched about the next trip!

(Original Routemaster illustration by Graham Todman)

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