The Wheels on the Bus go ‘Round and ‘Round (and so does my stomach)

Most people get home sick when they study abroad, I, however, managed to get extremely bus sick.

It was the end of the first week of classes and my professors planned a bus trip out to the Scottish borders to see Sir Walter Scott’s House,

I also took this on the bus ride to the Scottish Borders. I was captivated by the arches and grace of the bridge.

Kelso Abbey and Jedburgh Abbey. I was excited to get out of the city for a day and see what the countryside had to offer. Bright and early Friday morning, I hopped on the bus and grabbed a window seat ready to start this adventure. The tour guide, named Doogie, was hilarious and set the mood for an exciting and fun day. I was giddy in my seat and could hardly sit still. My eyes never drifted from the window for fear I would miss something. Scotland really does have a vast landscape of rolling green hills, sheep and cows wandering about and a scattering of tall trees scattered about.

I took this picture of the country side on the bus ride to the Scottish Borders. This was the typical scene in this part of Scotland.

I felt great until the trees started to sway and then I realized I was doing the swaying. I wanted to close my eyes and get my bearings but the desired to see everything won out and I was compelled to look out the window again. The bus took a sharp turn and we started going down a squiggly road. My stomach didn’t feel very attached to the rest of me at this point. Yet, silly and stubborn me still wanted to look out the window. I told myself, you’re only in Scotland once, you have to see everything. You can close your eyes tonight when you go to bed.

On the way to the last stop of the day, the Jedburgh Abbey, the thick air was warm and suffocating. Pressing against me each time a tried to draw in a long, deep breath. My head felt like it was spinning and may just pop off at any moment. My body numb to the vibration of the bus underneath me. My stomach recoiling, not happy that it was being disrupted. I tried to take in another deep breath. I would not throw up. I would not throw up. I was determined to keep it together because throwing up on a bus is one of those things that will follow you for the rest

The Jedburgh Abbey is the most intact Abbey left standing. Even in ruins, this building is still beautiful and magnificent.

of your life. Suddenly, the bus lurched to a stop. I was at my destination, the Jedburgh Abbey. Just in time. Every so slowly I stood up and grabbed the seat next to me for support. I walked off the bus like a toddler who had just taken his first steps. Ah, solid ground. Clean, crisp fresh air!

I thought I would feel better after this but I was wrong. I was still swaying and my stomach was trying to creep its way out of my body. I felt so sick. I forced myself to see everything at each stop but by the end, I was dragging. My classmates and professors noticed I wasn’t looking too good. I tried to play it off like it wasn’t a big deal as I didn’t want to make it a big deal. However, you can only try and downplay bus sickness so much when you’re pale as a ghost and look like you might pass out at any moment.

As a typical American, I had to take a selfie. This was in front of the Jedburgh Abbey. Try not to look too closely, I’m looking a little rough around the edges.

I was told to sit down and drink some water. My fellow classmates concerned but still trying to keep their distance in case my stomach decided to show itself. Some motion sickness medicine was found for me before I got back on the bus and I got the honor of sitting next to Doogie on the ride back. He seemed a bit skeptical at first for fear he would get thrown up on. However, the ride back was much better and I managed to keep it together. I didn’t try and see all the scenery this time around, which probably helped. I managed to make it back in one piece and spent the rest of the night regaining the last of my bearings.

The lesson of this trip is to always remember to take motion sickness medicine before getting on a bus. Lucky for me, I now have sixteen people who are going to help remind me to take them. Not to mention, the seat at the very front of the bus has now been designated to me. It is one of those things that I will never live down. I have already been reminded to take motion sickness medicine before the next bus trip, which is a few days away I might add. If my stomach contents do make an appearance on this next trip I promise there will be no pictures.

Good luck and I hope adventure finds you with no motion sickness.

-Nicole Wilhelm


Nicole Wilhelm is a sophomore at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Nursing. Nicole is spending the month of July in many different cities in Scotland with the UMKC Honors College Program in Scotland. Nicole is involved in UMKC’s Campus Ambassadors, Swim and Dive Club, BHS Society, and Student Nursing Association.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.