Despite the rain, work and family commitments, I’ve clocked just over 30 kms on my new toy. I should really be sharing how many words I’ve written this month, as I did intend to participate in NaNoWriMo. Instead, I’ve been participating in life – with no regrets.
As some of you may recall, I’ve had a bit of a year. A few unexpected circumstances that pushed me close to the edge, testing my mettle as they say. And other moments where I’ve willingly jumped off a cliff or two. Jumping isn’t a bad thing. It can lead to all sorts of adventures and new opportunities, as well as a means of self-development.
Two jumps that I took this year, which have led me to taking my most recent decision, involved travel. The first was a much needed road-trip to the centre of Australia. Made possible by the kindness of others. On that trip, I remembered how much I loved being on the road. The wind, the sense of freedom. When I returned home, I promised myself not to wait so long between trips. Taking the responsible-but-quirky option, I began to research vintage caravans. I spent many hours happily day-dreaming about locating a rare pre-70’s bondwood, doing it up and going on jaunts. I would be a writer-in-transit, working on my novels in various caravan parks around Australia.
And then an adventure further afield distracted me. Out of the blue, I was contacted about volunteering at the 2014 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. In Bali. A place I had said I wasn’t interested in seeing. In fact, earlier this year I had declared my overseas travelling days over – despite only leaving Australian shores twice. Never say never. Trading in my frequent flyer points, I jumped off a big cliff. And had a fantastic time. In Ubud, I met a few women, my age or older, who inspired me. They were following their creative dreams, saying yes to whatever adventure came their way, and living life to the fullest. Having left Australia whispering ‘I can do this’, I returned knowing that I can indeed do anything. The only limits are those I set myself.
What tends to happen in my life, especially lately, is that opportunities come out of the blue. It’s up to me to see them as opportunities, and to say yes. So when I got a call from a broker about re-mortgaging my house, I said ‘show me what you’ve got’. He did, and I negotiated for more, than said yes. My intention was to pay of my credit card and do some home repairs. Maybe even finally build a deck out the back. Instead, I got a bike.
Not a safe vintage caravan. Or even a retro push-bike. I brought a motorbike. It’s not really a rash decision. Its something I have been planning to do for over 25 years. As a young parent, when I reluctantly sold my two motorbikes of my early 20’s, I promised myself that I would get back on a bike when I turned 50. That date came – and went. Life had other plans for me. Or so I had thought. Last week, taking control of my life once more, I went shopping. Three days ago, I eagerly stood by the window, curtain drawn, waiting for a delivery. Ten minutes after the truck left, I was leathered-up and down the road. Scared, looking stupid, but still down the road – on my sparkling, brand new motorbike.
Being back on a bike is scary. Its heavier than the bikes of the past. And with more oomph. I’m older, less supple, heavier and no longer have 20/20 vision. However, age brings a certain wisdom. So I’m more cautious and patient than the 20-something me. For starters, I now take the need to wear protective gear serious. I know that I’m not immortal and I plan on having many more adventures. So, over the last three days, I’ve taken it easy. Re-learnt how to take corners without wobbling. Practised operating throttle, clutch, gears, two brakes, and indicators (in the right sequence). Slowly getting my groove back – I mean balance.
After work today, I clocked up my first 30 kms. And sometime before that, I relaxed, and began to once more feel one with the machine (yes that’s cheesy, but if you’ve ever ridden a motorbike, you’ll know what that feeling is like). I also accepted fear as a friend. Fear is good. It keeps us alert. Reminds us that we are alive – and intend to stay that way.
I have many more kilometres, and hours, before I’ve properly mastered riding. It’s foolish to think that I can just wipe away over two decades of not riding. However, I’ve made progress with achieving yet another milestone. And I’m not stopping. The road is calling. There are many more adventures to undertake. I have remembered how to say yes to life. Yes to me.