At what age do you say “Well, time has passed me by” …… when do your dreams/passions need to be packed away?
At what age do you choose to avoid the “Road Less Traveled” and stay on the main highway…. to remain safe… to have a life-itinerary that is carefully planned out…. with Five Star ratings and without surprises.
Those questions have played heavily in my mind this past month as I have watched someone actively live out his passions and dreams—on the “roads less traveled” in his life—literally and figuratively.
As readers may recall, I had my first online date with Mr. Motorcycle Man in March. (Turns out he was my last “first-online” date.) As I write this, he is nearing the end of a month-long trip that involved trailering his KTM 990 Adventure Motorcycle from Georgia to New Mexico where he began riding (by himself) the New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route… which is not the same thing as riding the nicely paved Route 66 through scenic America.
This route involved traveling on dirt and gravel roads where the gravel ranged in size from baseball chunks to marble-size pieces. The “dirt” roads have been gooey/muddy and somewhat impassable.
He traveled where Verizon “cannot hear you now” and used a GPS Spot Tracker which recorded and transmitted his location every 5 minutes so at least I had an idea as to where he was. He has ridden through deserted towns with empty buildings and would ride for hours and see no one.
He packed camping gear for when there were no motel rooms and carried a can of bear spray and a pistol—for the lions and critters and bears, oh my.
My friends, when they heard about this, told me he should not be doing this..… he is too old (almost 73); he has a few health issues; what happens if he gets stuck; why would he camp in the middle of nowhere; why would he want to ride on dirt/gravel roads; he is crazy to do this; and other wah wah wah.
I will not lie….. a part of me agreed with them.
But then….. who am I to tell him his dreams and passions are too big….. that he is too old and should have smaller and less risky dreams?
And those thoughts would then push me to ask myself some hard questions….. At what point do we settle for a saran-wrapped life where we stay safe and don’t risk getting hurt….. a life where we are taken off the shelf from time to time—get dusted—and put back on the shelf?
As an adult, when do we lose our sense of adventure—the ability to amaze ourselves with our actions?
The one thing I can say about Mr. Motorcycle Man – He has the ability to amaze me. (And I think sometimes he even amazes himself.)
A case in point….. Mr. Motorcycle Man (per his conversation with me on the phone one evening) told me he had “laid his bike down” that day….. That sounds kind of nice, yes? Lay the little bike down.
Let me translate for you…. He was slowly and carefully riding his KTM 990 Adventure Motorcycle down a muddy dirt road when the tires started slipping. As it is harder to keep a motorcycle balanced when you are going slowly (it is a physics thing) the bike fell over on its ride side…. fortunately, he was not trapped under it.
He then had to remove his helmet, jacket, gloves and remove some gear packed on the back of his motorcycle; squat down and put his backside next to the seat; brace his legs and arms and slowly push/lift a 500+ pound motorcycle back up; walk it down the road; repack the gear; and get his biker clothes back on. This took about an hour.
How did he know how to push a motorcycle back up? Because he had practiced it one day at his home….. because even though his dreams may seem big and outrageous, he plans for potential set-backs….. even if they never occur….. he will be ready for the Whoops moments.
There have been lots of Whoops moments on this trip….. and time and time again he has demonstrated resourcefulness as he met the challenges.
And all of this is worth it to him…. because he still carries a passion to explore and enjoy life…. to see and experience it fully. And, at age almost 73, he wants to do it while riding the road less traveled.
I admire that….. I admire his having a passion and being willing to do something about it…. and to do it somewhat differently from the rest of the world.
All I know is this….. after watching and listening to a man trying to follow his dreams and passions at this (later) stage in his life…. I realize I need to look for the less traveled roads ….. the detours …..the off-the-map experiences that could lead to new adventures….
What about you, dear reader……Is it time for you to look for the roads less traveled?
You never know where they could take you or what adventures could be waiting for you…..