Why take the Buddha Bus?

I don’t understand why the OzBus is popular. Why would you want to spend 13-weeks on a bus, traveling with a rigid itinerary and a bunch of people you don’t know?

People say: it’s the most environmentally friendly way to travel, it’s the hippy way to travel (?), it’s a different experience. To me, just the thought is excruciating and exhausting. That’s just me though, no strings independent travel is more my thing and I can travel in an environmentally friendly way without being handcuffed to a bus.

Anyway, I bring this up as I read news of the launch of the Buddha Bus: a bus that will take you from London to China in 16-days. The first “Zen bus” will depart from London on September 6.

“To broaden the mind, to stimulate the senses; the perfect antidote to the stresses of the modern world,” is it’s philosophy. It plans to average about 800km a day (with the occasional rest days inserted here and there) — that’s at least 8-hours of daily bus journey. To me that translates to: a sore bum from bumpy roads, waste of time because of numerous bathroom breaks, 60-odd chattering strangers, traffic jams coming into and leaving the city, occasional overnight travel, departures at dawn — urrmm — how exactly is it an antidote to stress?

The longest time I have spent being on a road at a stretch is 4-days/3-nights on a train in India. It was air-conditioned, I was only with my family, the train had sleeper-bunks; it was a typically smooth ride, I can’t complain but I wanted to strangle my parents at the end of it, and other than green fields and a few dirty bathrooms at the train stations, I saw nothing.

I have not been on the OzBus, or any such journey — so it’s really not my place to rant. I’d love to think that the “environmental-friendly experience” is the whole and sole reason why people choose to take such long and organized road trips, but I have my doubts about that.

Have any of you been on a similar journey? Was it worth it?