Ben had given up a good job as a civil engineer to pursue his dream of working for himself. He’d decided that the business for him was to run a shuttle been Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.
“You’ve got the bus to yourself today, I hope that’s not a problem?” Ben said as he passed me a bottle of water. “Saturday is my quiet day. Usually most people are where they want to be by Saturday. Friday and Monday are busy with people going away or coming back.”
The 2 hour journey to Savannah seemed an easy one with barely any traffic. We’d be passed every now and then by a speeding car.
“We’ll be seeing him again,” Ben said. Not long after, a traffic cop flew past, sirens screaming. Sure enough, we passed the speeding driver as he waited by the roadside, the traffic cop leaning into the passenger-side window.
I asked Ben how long he’d been running the service and how many trips he did in a day.
“I’ve been doing this for just over a year and I’m still doing the one round trip. It’s about 6 hours of driving a day; it’s all I can manage without losing too much concentration. I like driving but I would like to hire someone else eventually. I feel like I’ve got more to offer; there’s more I could take on to help the business side of things. Right now I don’t really do any marketing so it’s all word of mouth – hey, see this area right here, I saw a couple of alligators here a couple of days ago…,”
To our right was a vast swamp that ran from the horizon right up to the side of the road. Ben slowed to the minium speed limit of 45mph. I stared into the dark brown water and amongst the flora but couldn’t see any alligators.
“… None today,” he said and began to speed up again “But I’m getting more customers this year than the same time last year so we’re slowly becoming popular.”
Our journey ended on Hutchinson Island, from there I would need to get a free ferry service across the Savannah River.
“So you know where you’re going once you get across?” Ben asked.
“Near enough,” I said, “I’ve got GPS on my phone so I’ll find it.”
“My kind of traveller. A lot of folks need a little help. Savannah can be confusing. After a few days you’ll know the streets pretty well, it was the first city in the US to be built in a grid system so you’ll get to know the main streets and squares. From there you can find anything. Be glad you’re not driving, there are a lot of one-way systems, especially around the squares.”