That is exactly what I have been asking myself for the last few days. More specifically how did I go from having never ridden a motorcycle to planning a 12 month journey exploring the USA in under a year. How? Through and absolute disaster of a year; that’s how! Pain is an amazing motivator if applied properly. Desperation can lead to opportunities that could never have been dreamed of mere months yearly. I never would have imaged that through the pain and desperation of 2017 would be born an absolutely magnificent adventure.
2017 began like every other year of January 1st; if it had been otherwise I would have been quiet worried. However this was the year of my divorce. A dissolving of a partnership of over 17 years. My wife had seen me through my college years, my first job, getting fired from my first job and achieving my dream job. We had endured a decade of active addiction and eight years of sobriety together, yet in the end it wasn’t enough to keep it all together. As all things go, all things end.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how hard doing the right thing would be or how close the divorce would bring me to the brink of losing myself. As a newly recovered codependent, the idea of being alone was terrifying. As a recovering alcoholic, the idea of being uncomfortable was horrendous. As a human being, the pain was something to avoid. But Avoid it I Could not. No matter what idea, what I thought, how much I meditated, how many therapy sessions I went to or how open or emotionally honest I was the pain was just gonna have to feel it. The only peace came on the back of a motorcycle
From my personal journal August 8th 2017:
Freedom is the feeling of knowing what you could lose and the excitement of what you have. I want more freedom.
My second ride of the day was just tooling around the local neighborhood for near an hour; just riding, nowhere to go, nowhere to be, no one to depend on me, no one to depend on, just riding. Empty…my head was empty of everything except what I was doing right then and there. I now understand the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair. I like the headspace that riding puts me in despite still not being totally sure of myself. There are still things I need to get used to. The speed, the danger, the remembering to shift to 1st after a stop, knowing what gear is the best gear to be in; all of it is a matter of learning. It has been a long time since I have learned anything new; anything truly new that I had no skill or knowledge of. It is the first time, in a long time, that I am out of my depth and I love it.
I suppose this is what freedom really is: to know what you don’t know, to be able to learn from mistakes and not beat yourself up, to accept that there is a very real possibility of failure and going forward, the best you can with what you have. Freedom is not giving into the fear but facing it and moving through it. Freedom is enjoying the moment, truly losing yourself in the moment.
Freedom is making your own choices instead of life making choices for you.
Freedom is making your own path, riding your own ride, deciding which way you want to go and going that way.
Freedom is accepting the consequences.
Freedom is learning from mistakes.
Freedom is the possibility of failure.
Freedom is finding your way.
Freedom has nothing to do with knowing yourself, discovering yourself or discovering your path.
Freedom is about making yourself, and making your own path.
This is were the crazy idea started. I want more freedom!
So here it is the first short blog post documenting the next couple years.
The Plan: 12 months on the road
The Path: north west in the summer, south east in winter and back roads only
The Purpose: Freedom
The Vehicle: 2016 Vulcan 650 SE