I sit at the greyhound station in San Diego, I should have been on the bus by now but the first one was full. The song that plays is by Kiera Knightley – A step you can’t take back, it sums up my emotions, my thoughts, my position rather well…
I can’t help but reflect on how different those 3 things are from just 8 months ago, when I was passing through San Diego on my way to South Africa. Then any excitement I had about my travels was trumped by the flutter of a heart pumping dopamine and serotonin through my veins due an interaction that would change me beyond my own recognition. Today the excitement of the travel and my first real photography gig is clouded by the lack of such interaction and a heavy heart from a day spent with the have nots. Then my interaction with the city was sheltered by a local bubble, this time, as it has been in the past I had no such luxury as I retraced a journey made with private transport then on the public transport system now.
I’m no stranger to public transport in the States, I have used the trains and buses up and down the west coast, I’ve used the trams and trolleys, I’ve even hitched rides and found them on Craig’s list. In most cities the public transport, and especially the bus system seems to be reserved for those who have very little in the way of wealth and sadly this also seems to mean health. I’ve never had a particularly hairy experience using these forms of transport, but certainly have had uncomfortable ones, the guy screaming at no one in particular, the overwhelmed mother slapping her child to shut it up, the drunk too intoxicated to stand up straight, the homeless person that smells of urine and city grime. And then there are the travellers, those like me who are just trying to make what money they do have stretch as far as possible to continue exploring. I look at the contrast between these groups and wonder how we got here, to a world of such disparity, it saddens me. How can it be that those who are trying to live life to the fullest are so often sitting next to those who have given up on life and both are being scorned upon by those living the life western society tells us is the way forward?
Yes those statements are generalisations, though I’m writing this feeling broken, disillusioned and worn out by a society that is non-accepting and generalising. I have been fighting Charles Schwab for the past month to try and gain access to funds to help cover my costs whilst in the USA to shoot the AWT. They have refused to transfer the funds on the grounds that I have no physical address. This is just one of a spate of mishaps that has left me questioning, what am I doing, why does everything have to be a struggle? Then I think back to those I shared the bus with earlier, those I walked past on the streets of San Diego and San Francisco and have to accept these are only small hurdles compared to theirs. I can give up at any time and slot back into the rat race. Or can I? At want point does it become a step I can’t take back?
I guess I’ll just pick up my bags and step on to the bus and see where this journey takes me.