Around this time last year I found myself trying to get used to using the bus on my own. This wasn’t something that I found easy, and it would make me very nervous. I don’t drive so I spend a lot of time on public transport and I found some types easier to deal with.
I mastered the train long before I felt confident enough to take the bus because I really wanted to make a surprise trip home from university for my dad’s birthday. Once I’d done it for the first time, I felt confident enough to do it again and again. It was like the world had opened up to me and I had more independence than ever before. It was wonderful and it also meant that I could take more trips back home when I started to miss my mother’s cooking.
Getting the bus felt like a whole other ball game to me because there were so many other things to consider than remembering to book my rail assistance 24hrs before I wanted to travel so that someone would be able to help me with the ramp. Buses brought with the other challenges. I had to worry about fitting my walking frame on the bus so that no one would trip over it, and if I had to able to be able to put it in that place for myself. I have seen many buses with a whole range of different layouts, some of which I find easier than others but I never know which one will turn up.
if I have to be anywhere by a certain time I need to get one or two buses earlier than the one that would get me there just about on time in case some turn up that don’t have enough space. This time last year the thought of boarding a bus without a friend or someone to help made me feel sick with nerves and I tried to avoid it as much as possible.
However, I am pleased to say that 12 months on, doing this doesn’t bother me too much anymore and I get the bus alone quite often, although my family will always try and meet me at the bus stop by our house when I get home again to help me get off. A lot of the drivers on my local route now recognise me and are always willing to help, as are a lot of the other passengers too, which is always lovely. I just try my best to avoid travelling at busier times and try to leave myself plenty of time to get to where I need to be so that I can be more relaxed.
If I know that I need to get a lot of shopping, or use my wheelchair instead of my walking frame, then I need to have someone with me. However, if I don’t need to carry a lot and will be using my frame, I know longer feel worried about having to go it alone.
I think that’s progress. I feel like I’ve gained so much more independence and I always find that to be one of the best feelings in the world.