Cori and I have a lot of interesting conversations. We’re lucky in that we share a certain temperament and view of the world so when one of us has something to say, the other always knows it’s something we’ll want to hear. One night we were talking about the significant trips we’ve taken; significant not only in destination, but also, and more importantly, in the emotional transformation and growth that were side effects of the trips.
Cori talked about how she felt standing in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. I shared similar feelings about my first solo multi-day motorcycle trip south to visit my sister in eastern North Carolina. The significance isn’t so much that we got ourselves there; what’s important and memorable is the deciding to get ourselves there, the planning to get ourselves there, the determination and the follow through until we were actually standing there.
Having been places is really no big deal. Everyone takes vacations and that’s great; but having left as one person who refused to ignore the life spark saying you needed to venture out for reasons you didn’t realize, and having come back another, well now, that’s a really big deal. Each of us, for many intensely personal reasons, sometimes just has to make the trip, whatever, wherever, and however long or short it may be.
I don’t know of a better way to make the trip than on a motorcycle either. I’ve gotten myself tons of places by many means, I’ve pedaled a bicycle 150 miles in two days, run 30 miles in a day, hiked up Mt. Katahdin; but I’ve never quite enjoyed the going, the being away and the coming home, like I do on a motorcycle. Running, biking, and hiking are fantastic but your range is limited; planes, trains, and automobiles give you more range but are so passive you’re just killing time until you get there.
On a motorcycle you’re so connected to the ground and so undeniably anxious to move over it and put more of it behind you. Every spot you pass is amazing, but not as amazing as the next one will be, or maybe the one after that. Once you arrive you enjoy the place you’re in but the whole time you’re replaying the ride and licking your lips at the delicious thought of the ride back home.
Whether it’s your first trip around the block on a motorcycle or a cross-country trip, you answer whatever call it is deep inside that says, “I have to do this and once I do I won’t be the same.” You listen to the naysayers tell you you’re crazy (which you ignore) then you research, plan, prepare, and finally accomplish the goal and get to say, if only as a whisper to yourself: “I got myself here.” In the eyes of many it’s no big deal; but you know; only you know what it took and the ways in which the experience changed you.