I found myself wanting a motorcycle today.
This may come as a shock to Mel and my dad, seeing as they’ve been trying to convince me to get one since I was 16. I think they gave up after a while, but motorcycles have always been in the family. A couple weeks ago when I was struggling not to fall off the back of a sexy Kawasaki Ninja, with another sexy ninja driving it, I was still thinking to myself “why the hell would I want one of these?”
So why is it that I want one now?
It isn’t, as a little bird that goes “soo-me” once told me, because it’s time to go fast. Granted, from the outside it probably looks like I’m living my life pretty close to the edge. Girls, booze, parties, sky-diving, rock climbing and leaving the country because my bus pass expired.
In actual fact, I spend time with girls who teach me things and make me happier than I already am; the couple times I’ve taken home a girl who didn’t meet these criteria because it was late and I was horny have made me wish I’d woken up alone–no matter whether the girl was a Swedish princess.
I don’t drink or party nearly as much as I used to, and I periodically take entire one or two month breaks from any alcohol–I don’t need it to have fun. That being said, partying is an adventure that you could be having instead of staying home.
I have a rule that if someone calls me for something, or the opportunity for an exciting adventure opens up, I’ll go. Whether I’m tired, sore, sick or it costs a bunch money. I was asked if I wanted to jump out of a plane when I was in London; I said yes.
Rock climbing is a challenge. Each route is different, but they share the same general premise: if you’re good at rock climbing, or dedicate yourself, you will succeed and come out better than you went in. In general, it’s less dangerous than driving a car.
Traveling shares that idea of core strength with rock climbing. We’ve been taught that some aspects of our life are “just there,” but the truth is that we earned everything we have. You made your old school friends because of your toddling social abilities and whatever added value existed in your life when you were young. You got your jobs, learned your skills and became fit entirely because of yourself; but to this day famous violinists are called “born geniuses” when they spent thousands of hours practicing as children, and sometimes they themselves believe it. When I left Ottawa, I did it with the intention of starting again without any forgotten advantages; I mostly know what I have, why I have it, and can figure out what I can improve.
If you take a million dollars away from a man who earned it, he will be rich again in a week.
I don’t want a motorcycle because it goes fast, gives me a rush, looks cool or fits its rider into some social group.
I want it because of the freedom it offers.
I was driving through Changsha in a cab on the way to Hunan Women’s University. After using my intense China-savvy to catch the taxi in the first place, tell him where to go, and explain to him in a half dozen different ways that I don’t actually speak Chinese, we were on a bridge overlooking a beautiful natural lake butting up against Yuelu Mountain. There was a little dirt trail just big enough for an e-bike that curved away from the road, passed by the lake and then was hidden by the trees. And I realized that I wanted to stop, pull onto that path and go for an adventure.
There are so many times when I’ve wanted to go out, enjoy the weather, drive for hours, pop by to see a friend or disappear for a couple days. I thought about a million little adventures while I was in that cab.
I want a motorcycle so I can say, “yes.”