How I Learned to Overcome Fear Working in Juneau, Alaska

Looking out over the ocean in Juneau, Alaska after a long day of bus driving 

Looking out over the ocean in Juneau, Alaska after a long day of bus driving 

In January 2015, I stood next to a 40 foot, 55 passenger bus that made its way all the way from Juneau, Alaska to me in Provo, Utah. I stood staring at the giant vehicle with a lot of fear… and also a bit of excitement. I, Holly Bunker, was about to learn to drive a bus. 

Welcome to Juneau!! I'll be your tour guide today!

Welcome to Juneau!! I'll be your tour guide today!

Zach had worked as a tour guide in Alaska 2 summers in a row already. We had made lots of great memories there because after my study abroad, I went and visited him there and wound up getting engaged! After we got married, it was always kind of a joke that I would go back and drive busses with him and live the Alaska dream for a summer. Long story short, we got to a point where we really needed money because 1. We were in college and 2. He was going to Ghana for part of the summer for a study abroad and I planned to come visit him at the end and 3. We wanted money…and that’s how the bus driving joke turned into a reality. That’s why a couple months later I was standing next to a bus, shaking in my jeans because I knew I was about to sit in the driver’s seat of that thing.

Learning to drive a bus was one of the scariest things I ever did. It is so humungous and so much different than driving a car, and at first I felt like my feet could barely reach the petals. I remember saying to my trainer, “Are you sure the seat doesn’t go any lower?” and he was like, “Well… I guess not. Good luck!” Scary.

 On top of that, there were a bunch of rules I had to follow from the company and if I accidentally broke one (like not wearing a watch to track the seconds for the air-brake test), my tough ex-pat trainer got mad at me. Apparently, counting in my head was very against the rules. And then on top of that, I had to learn EVERY SINGLE part of the bus inside and out and be able to recite it for my trainer.

Well, there were many days I came home crying because it all seemed so hard. BUT, I did not give up. I wanted to be a tour guide in Alaska and I wanted to be awesome at it. I knew I would be proud of myself at the end, so I kept at it.  Time came and went, and I passed my CDL test with flying colors. My trainer, who actually was really awesome, even told me I knew the engine better than any of his students! It was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life!! I was an officially liscenced Commercial Driver!

In May, I went up to Juneau and I promised myself to give the best darn tours those people had ever heard. I loved it when people would come up to me as I was standing by the bus door, hand me their ticket and ask, “So where’s the driver?” and I would say it’s me and their eyeballs would pop out of their sockets pretty much. I would then get on the bus, tell them they were lucky because they got the best driver in all of Juneau and they’d laugh and clap and cheer. Then, I would back the bus up to get out of the parking space. When I had successfully accomplished the maneuver I would say, “Alrighty, so far so good, huh?!” and they’d laugh again and we’d be on our way to a jolly ol’ tour of the town.

photo op during a tour!

photo op during a tour!

The experience turned out really great. Of course I had my down moments while I was there, but over all, I had an amazing time and became a really great bus driver and tour guide. I still have a review from a tourist who said I was super enthusiastic and fun, which I will always cherish because it’s evidence to me that I ACCOMPLISHED A HARD THING.

Don't let fear control your life - How I learned to Overcome Fear While Working in Juneau, Alaska. Hollybunker.com

Don't let fear control your life - How I learned to Overcome Fear While Working in Juneau, Alaska. Hollybunker.com

You can accomplish hard things. Just like I learned to drive a bus, you can learn to do something you never even thought possible if you just put your mind to it. Your brain has incredible capability! Your positive thoughts lead to a positive mindset, which lead to positive action and accomplishment. DO NOT LET FEAR RULE YOUR LIFE. Let Yourself rule your life! You can push fear aside and say you are going to be a champion at whatever your dream is. I really mean it. Make your dreams a reality today because if you don’t, you might miss out on some incredible life experiences! I will never regret overcoming my fear and learning to drive that bus, and you will not regret overcoming your fear either! Let me know what your goals are in the comments below! And you may also want to check out “5 Key Ways to Turn Your Goals Into Reality”

See you next post,

Holly B.

PS you can apply to be a motorcoach operator in Juneau, Alaska here