Six Months Later

by Liz Jansen

six months later

RIP

It’s now exactly six months since I began the unplanned portion of my motorcycle quest. Although my trajectory was generally west before turning south, that day I headed east from Arrowwood, Alberta, headed for two destinations in close proximity to each other: Blackfoot Crossing, an interpretive center, and the farm where my dad spent seven years until age 11. Instead, that road led right back to me, to months of introspection and getting to know myself and understanding the journey I’d set out on.

Lest you think I’ve now got it all figured out, it’s more of a mystery to me now than ever. Last August, I knew I’d be off the road for a while recuperating for an indefinite period of time and would then be able to resume my travels, albeit in a modified format. It was simple. Take time to heal and get back on the road. Other than knowing it’s going to take longer than I imagined, I have no idea of how long that will be or what getting back on the road will look like.

It’s hard to figure these things out alone so I’ve sought the counsel of wise teachers who can help me gain perspective and navigate through this change and uncertainty. This week I was dumbfounded when I was shown that one of the patterns that I’m trying to break was the same behavior that led to my accident. I’ve often spoken of my tendency to overwork and get the job done, even when I overcommit. That was exactly what happened with my bike. I overcommitted my riding abilities and rather than recognize and listen to the fear that was trying to protect me, I decided to hunker down and get the job done. We all know how that ended up. Thankfully that hasn’t happened in other parts of my life but it’s vividly symbolic of the need for a change in approach.

Then there’s the physical part. This week I had a follow-up visit with my surgeon in Toronto and got news I hadn’t expected. These types of injuries are often treated with two-stage surgery. The first to secure the bone while it heals—which has happened beautifully. Beyond that is the soft-tissue healing and regaining movement – which pretty much maxes out at six to nine months.

Although I’m cleared to ride but my range of motion is still significantly limited. (I can’t raise my arms very far but any bike I have won’t have ape-hangers.) If I’m driving a car, I have to reach over with my right hand to grab the door and close it. I can’t reach the top of my head with my left hand, or put lotion on my right shoulder. Deodorant has to be applied under my right arm with my right hand, and reminds me of a monkey maneuver every time.

Now that the hardware has done its job, the surgeon feels that I could gain almost full movement if it’s removed. While there, he’ll clean out the adhesions and scar tissue from the injury and aftermath. Then with more aggressive physiotherapy, I should have more movement.

The plan is to continue with another three months of physio then reassess. If surgery’s warranted, I’ll book it for late fall so I can enjoy the riding season and recuperate during the winter. Again.

In the mean time, I’ll continue with intentional stillness, in fact stepping up the intensity. It’s hard work and it’s paying off. More on that another time.

Thank you for your continued support and words of encouragement. They help a lot, and mean more than you’ll ever know.

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Posted in Adventure

10 Techniques for Staying Grounded

by Liz Jansen

A motorcycle’s engine holds a tremendous amount of power—more than most of us come close to using. However, just because it’s capable of performing at a certain level doesn’t mean it always will. And it’s not affected by external decorations. 
We too have more power than we ever use. Using that power means trusting that it’s there, caring holistically for our being, making wise choices, understanding what blocks our power, and discovering how we can best access it. 

Excerpt from Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Techniques for Staying Grounded.

techniques for staying groundedKnowing how to stay grounded is the foundation on which all other experiences evolve—riding or otherwise. Just as it’s essential for your safe motorcycle travel to stay in contact with the ground, so is it essential to keep body, mind, and spirit grounded and balanced. Your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing relies on it, especially during times of change.

Difficulty concentrating, losing track of time, and constant worrying are signs that you’re losing your connection to who you are. When that happens, it’s time to re-establish your connection to the ground and restore your grounding.

  1. Breathe. Notice your breathing. Use a pause in your day as an opportunity to take a deep, relaxing breath. Roll your shoulders slowly in both directions, noticing as the tension leaves your body.
  2. Pay attention to what your body tells you. Ignoring unusual behavior from your bike would be foolhardy. You need to stop, figure out what’s going on, and fix the problem. The same applies when your body acts in an usual way.
  3. Go solo. Even if your preference is to ride with others, make going for a solo ride a regular habit. Time alone eliminates distractions and forces you to get to know yourself better.
  4. See things as they are. It’s easier to see things as you want them to be, rather than as they are. This could prove fatal on a motorcycle. Apply the same observation skills that alert you to hazards on the road to staying grounded on your life’s path. Slow down enough to see them.
  5. Accept support. A motorcycle is not self-sufficient. It takes energy beyond its own to keep it rolling down the road. Left to its own devices (without a side-stand), it would fall over. You’re not meant to always go it alone. Ask for help when you need it. You’ll be surprised at the gifts Spirit delivers.
  6. Express gratitude. It keeps you and your role in the grand scheme of things in perspective. It shows you’ve noticed the gifts you’ve been given, develops awareness, and extends kindness.
  7. Take action. A motorcycle doesn’t get anywhere unless you apply the throttle. Neither do you. Once you’ve set your eyes on your goal, direct your energy on traveling there, staying connected with who you are, and listening to your inner guidance.
  8. Remain unattached to the outcome. If things don’t work out as you planned, pick yourself up, figure out what went wrong, and learn the lesson. Take action to achieve your goals, while realizing you are not in complete control. Do the work you need to do without trying to manipulate the situation just to make yourself look good.
  9. Get off the beaten track. Get off your bike. Take a break to sit or walk and commune in nature. I look forward to interstate rest stops because they give me a chance to lie on the ground, watch the clouds, and have a nap. There are many roadside parks, overlooks, and scenic areas to walk in and have a picnic lunch. Or just stop at a place of beauty that calls to you.
  10. Act with intention. This requires nurturing a sense of mindfulness and being deliberate with your thoughts and behaviors.

Use these techniques to stay grounded and receptive to insights, creativity, and the gifts from Spirit that surround you. Substitute “God,” “the Universe,” or whatever works best for you. Having a healthy outlook prepares you for safe and enjoyable travels on both your earth road and your spiritual journey.

Purchase the entire ebook Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Techniques for Staying Grounded available for any e-reader. $2.99. Use coupon for 50% discount until March 1st

photo credit: Youth In Revolt via photopin (license)

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Posted in Grounding, Life Lessons from Motorcycles

New Ebook: Where the Road Meets Spirit

Now it’s easy for you to have the whole Life Lessons series in one single collection.
Where the Road Meets SpiritAll 12 Life Lessons from Motorcycles books have been compiled into one single ebook subtitled Where the Road Meets Spirit. To celebrate this accomplishment, which has been over a year in the making, all titles are available for any reader at discounted prices when used with a coupon until March 1, 2015.

Authors thrive on reviews. If you’re interested in posting a rating and brief review on Amazon and/or Smashwords (it can be the same), please let me know and I’ll send you a complimentary copy of Where the Road Meets Spirit. With deep gratitude.

Life Lessons from Motorcycles | Where the Road Meets Spirit

  • Save 20% off the compiled edition which includes all 12 titles.
  • Reg. $6.99 USD. Special: $5.49
  • Details and to purchase Coupon code FP94F

Life Lessons from Motorcycles | 75 Tips for…

  • Save 50% off individual titles.
  • Reg. $2.99 USD each. Special $1.50
  • Life Lessons from Motorcycles SeriesCoupon codes shown beside title.
  1. The Face in the Mirror UE45N
  2. Clearing Your Vision QX44S
  3. Being in Balance SV64T
  4. Defining Your Brand TG94Y
  5. Connecting Through Communication XK58L
  6. Enjoying Robust Relationships   UN64R
  7. Maintaining Body, Mind and Soul BV96U
  8. Thriving Through Holistic Nutrition RW85C
  9. Unleashing Your Power KT64C
  10. Generating Epic Energy EU48F
  11. Mastering Your Controls HY56N
  12. Staying Grounded   YM66Q

To learn more contact Liz Jansen at 647 224 2287 or liz@lizjansen.com.

Posted in Life Lessons from Motorcycles

10 Beauty Lessons from Motorcycles

by Liz Jansen

A motorcycle’s engine holds a tremendous amount of power—more than most of us come close to using. However, just because it’s capable of performing at a certain level doesn’t mean it always will. And it’s not affected by external decorations. 
We too have more power than we ever use. Using that power means trusting that it’s there, caring holistically for our being, making wise choices, understanding what blocks our power, and discovering how we can best access it. 

Excerpt from Life Lessons from Motorcycles; 75 Tips for Unleashing Your Power.

Beauty LessonsA motorcycle’s power isn’t affected by the paint color, customized graphics, or cosmetic accessories. Those things determine whether it’s attractive to your eye, but the power resides in the engine. And the engine isn’t influenced by body paint.

People come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. You can dress yourselves up with the latest fashions and accessorize to your heart’s content, but your spirit is your source of power, and no window dressing changes that.

  1. Avoid comparisons. Regardless of whether the comparison leads you to think you’re better or worse than someone else, it’s not healthy. If you must compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to an earlier version of you.
  2. Respect scars. Heartbreaking as it is when they happen, they’re visual reminders of mistakes. Every bike has a few dings and scratches that tell a story of lessons learned. While it’s not a good idea to intentionally collect them, everyone who has pushed their limits with the object of growth has a few scars to show for their efforts.
  3. Show off your assets. Features such as size, engine design and intended use, determine a motorcycle’s best function and differentiate models. You’re unique and you have a combination of gifts to offer that no one else has. Play to your strengths. While outward appearance can indicate your purpose, your true power comes from within.
  4. Be who you are. When you select a motorcycle, you assess its attributes to see if it’s a match based on your stature, riding style, skill level budget and personal preferences in color and design. By being objective and realistic, you find the bike that’s best for you. Don’t try to change so people will like you. Your own character will disappear. Be yourself and you’ll attract the right people into your life. They’ll love you for who you are, and you’ll love yourself more too.
  5. Admire age. Vintage motorcycles are revered for their simplicity. They have a way of developing closer relationships with their riders, and they prompt a very different feel and perspective than do modern motorcycles. This richness is created from the patina that develops only through time and experience.
  6. Refrain from judgment. A shiny exterior may camouflage a poor design. A neglected exterior may belie a powerful engine. You can’t make an accurate assessment of a person based on a superficial judgment.
  7. Accessorize. The options for motorcycles run the gamut from pure cosmetic to pure utilitarian. What’s important is that you outfit it to meet your needs.
  8. Customize. Accessories alone may not be enough to meet your purpose. You may choose special bodywork or more extensive modifications to fulfill a specific niche. There’s no right or wrong way to look.
  9. Value diversity. Imagine a world where the only motorcycle available was blue with a 500cc engine. How boring! Diversity not only creates interest, but each type of motorcycle serves a specific purpose. Like motorcycles, people come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. Leveraging their strengths spreads positive change.
  10. LL_PowerCare for yourself. Motorcycles are meant for riding, and life is meant for living. While I prefer to spend time riding my bike rather than keeping it spotless, it does require a certain amount of care and maintenance to keep it healthy and happy. The same is true for each person. Caring for yourself respects who you are.

Appearance conveys purpose and attracts others with similar interests. It speaks to who you are. The more you try to be different, the more you look like everyone else who is also trying to be different.

Be yourself. That’s who you were meant to be. And there’s only one of you!

Purchase the entire ebook Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Tips for Unleashing Your Power available for any e-reader. $2.99.  Use coupon for 50% discount until March 1st

photo credit: bokapoppy via photopin (license)

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10 Tips for Creating a Perfect Relationship

by Liz Jansen

Saturday is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. One need look no further than the relationship between motorcycle and rider to glimpse what is as close to a perfect relationship as there is. It has to be. Aside from the initial passion that attracts us, learning to work together is a matter of survival. Follow these tips to enjoy robust relationships all year long!

Excerpt from Life Lessons from Motorcycles; 75 Tips for Enjoying Robust Relationships.

perfect relationshipWe affect many lives beyond our own. A single act of kindness is remembered forever. Conversely, actions of others, a momentary lapse of judgment, an unexpected curve, construction, detours, or even weather can dramatically change our course.

As living beings on this earth, we share a common spirit and a common source of power. Allowing ourselves to accentuate our differences—gender, age, culture, or values—separates us. Looking for what we have in common creates harmony and strengthens us all.

Motorcycles are non-judgmental, accepting, and open to new experiences. Following their example can teach us much about co-creating harmony in relationships.

  1. Accept people the way they are. Bikes don’t judge, discriminate, or ask you to change who you are. There are also many unique kinds of bikes. None is intrinsically better, but each is better for a specific type of ride and rider. Likewise, each person has distinct attributes and qualities and is equipped for a specific purpose. It may not fit with your interests, but that doesn’t make their role any less significant than yours. Respect who they are, even if you don’t like them. It will encourage them to do the same.
  2. Give everyone a fair chance. A motorcycle will go with anyone. If it’s not a fit for the rider, that’s another issue, but the bike is willing to give it a go. Obvious safety issues aside, it’s an important lesson in learning to go beyond the superficial and not make assumptions.
  3. Lighten up. Within the bounds of safety, don’t take yourself and others so seriously. There’s no doubt that life can be challenging, but a healthy sense of humor diffuses a lot of negativity.
  4. Ride your own ride. Trying to make a big touring bike work through off-road trails creates risk, stress, and discord. Do what you are meant to do. Operating with authenticity makes all your relationships that much more harmonious.
  5. The less a bike has to carry, the less you alter it and accessorize, the less the chance of something going wrong. While regular maintenance is a must, minimizing the time necessary for upkeep opens up more time for enjoying the ride and the experiences it brings. The less any relationship has to deal with, the easier it is to enjoy it too.
  6. Try new things. Motorcycles don’t balk if their rider wants to take them off the beaten path. This is where the best experiences are—where you meet new people and discover new possibilities. One chance meeting can set off a whole chain of unexpected positive events.
  7. Accept where you are. Bikes stay where they’re put until it’s time to move on. You are right where you are meant to be in this moment. Open your eyes to the people around you and the situation you’re in. There are gifts and opportunities waiting for you.
  8. Be who you are. A bike doesn’t change who it is because of the rider. Sure, the rider can customize and make alterations, but the starting point, and the attraction to the rider, is the basic bike. In life, you attract people with similar interests and perspectives. If you’ve put up defenses or false fronts, how are they supposed to see who you are? You’ll only attract those who fit the faux you.
  9. Don’t take things personally. A bike isn’t offended if you don’t like its color, style, or brand. It’s not meant to appeal to everyone, and there will be someone it attracts. It’s not personal. If it’s not a fit, it’s not a fit. Move on. You won’t like everyone and everyone won’t like you.
  10. LL_RelationshipsLove yourself first. If you don’t love who you are, why should anyone else love or respect you? If a motorcycle breaks down, it also lets down its rider. Taking care of who you are is the first essential step of being of service to others.

Wisdom learned from the road increases with each mile, whether it’s done on a motorcycle or on your life’s path. Unlocking the door to who you are is the key to co-creating harmonious relationships with yourself, your life partners, your coworkers, and your community.

Purchase the entire ebook Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Tips for Enjoying Robust Relationships available for any e-reader. $2.99.
photo credit: True Love via photopin (license)

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Why More Women are Riding Motorcycles

Here are some stats from an article I wrote for Fix.com. Click on the image to be taken to the article.

Increasing Rate or Women Motorcyclists
Source: Fix.com

Posted in Adventure

5 Ways to Be Open to What the Road Delivers

by Liz Jansen

what the road deliversBeing open to what the road delivers and prepared to deal with the consequences, makes you vulnerable to pain. We’ve all experienced deep hurt, betrayal, and deceit by people close to us. It’s a natural reaction to close ourselves off, go into self-defense mode and shy away from experiences that could evoke that pain. But by doing that, we miss out on so much.

When I left on my Wheels to Wisdom quest, I had a loose plan in place. I knew what I wanted to accomplish and had a rough idea of where I wanted to be for the first three months and when I wanted to be there. I purposely left much of my time unplanned, staying receptive to guidance and acting, based on that guidance. My crash has been a course correction, enriching my life and this journey in remarkable ways.

  1. Judge less. Especially when you realize that while you can’t control another’s words or actions, how you respond is completely up to you. I’m no longer willing to accept anything but the best for myself. And I mean that with the utmost of kindness and compassion.
  2. Release your hold on goals. Goals are good, but they’re subject to change with new information. You don’t want to be so focused on goals that you miss a wonderful opportunity because it wasn’t on your radar.
  3. Recognize patterns that don’t work. Nurture and build on your strengths, and realize that as valuable as they are, they also have a shadow side that can sabotage your energy and effectiveness. I pride myself in setting goals and reaching them, no matter how much work it takes. Once I commit, I’ll get it done. But I’ve often overcommitted and while I accomplish my goals, it’s at a cost. Now I prioritize more and commit to less.
  4. Embrace fear. Become aware of how your body lets you know you’re holding fear. Thank it for trying to protect you and then let the emotion associated with it go. It disarms the fear. A fear that I’ve had to address is that of being 60 and wondering if I’ve got time to start a multi-year project with a scope I can’t even define yet. I address it by acknowledging the fear, then staying mindful in the present and trusting my inner guide and myself.
  5. Let go. Just like learning to ride a motorcycle, learning to let go takes a lot of practice and patience. There’s no other way around it. The alternative is to stay where you are, but once you’ve become more aware of behaviors that are holding you back, it’s not a comfortable place to be.

Accepting what the Road delivers and embracing change is a slow process. While well-meaning others offer their opinions, in the end, I take ownership of my own thoughts, feelings, and actions. I’m learning to focus on what I can control and stop wasting energy on things I have no control over. And there are lots of them.

Hitting the pause button and shifting my perspective has given me a different vantage point. It’s enabled me to give myself time and permission to heal. My shoulder is beginning to improve again after plateauing last month. I’ve been able to reconnect with extended family as I start looking for stories of the culture I was born into. I’ve spent more times with special friends. I’ve learned a whole lot about what history hasn’t taught us about First Nations/Native American history. I feel more content and at peace than ever before and know with certainty that I’m on the right Road.

Related post: 10 Top Tips to set you up for a Fantastic 2015
photo credit: Namibia – South Africa Border via photopin (license)

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Posted in Leadership, Personal Growth

10 Ways to Get Ready for Motorcycle Riding

by Liz Jansen

From our vantage point at the top of February, riding season can seem so far away. Especially when many of us have experienced winter storms lately, with more to come. Yet every year spring arrives without fail, and it’s not far off.

Use these dark days of winter to prepare for your best season yet!  Here’s an updated list of what to do now to get ready for spring riding.

10 Ways to Get Ready for Motorcycle Riding in February

  1. IMG_2911 K&L Welcome to FF smCheck out local groups and associations. There are groups for all disciplines of riding and most of them meet all year. They offer lots of resources from discovering preferred destination to meeting people with common interests. On-road riders in Ontario can find a list of clubs on the Ontario Road Riders Association website; if your preference is off-road riding, visit the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders to find a club near you.  Women Riders Now has a list of female related events across North America and Australia, as well as a list of National and Regional Riding Clubs.
  1. Join on-line forums to meet others with common interests. Not only will you find potential riding partners, you’ll learn lots about all things motorcycling – from destinations to technical information. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and FaceBook also have motorcycle specific interest groups.
  1. Consider attending a motorcycle rally this yearAmericade draws 60,000 riders and combines social interaction, skills improvement and education. Lake George is in the Adirondacks so you get the added benefit of riding there and back through beautiful scenery. Laconia, in NH, hosts the continent’s oldest rally. MotorMaidsWomenOnWheelsWomen In the Wind all have national rallies for their members.  As do owner groups such as BMWOAYamaha Star Riders and HOG chapters. Horizons Unlimited host adventure riding meetings all over the world. I’ll be at three so far: Horizons Unlimited Events in Virginia and Ontario, and the BMW Owners Rally in Ontario.
  1. Visit websites for provincial and state tourism associations. Tourism outreach is increasingly directed to motorcyclists and many of them have motorcycle specific information on their website.
  1. Research the charity rides taking place in your area. Riders are notoriously charitable and raise tremendous sums of money for the less privileged. Choose your cause and there’s likely to be a ride for it – and others who share your interest. Over the past year, I’ve become more familiar with Lost for a Reason. If you’re looking for a wonderful motorcycle adventure combined with giving back, check them out. Ron Grace is doing amazing things!  Check out my podcast interview with him here.
  1. Investigate organized tours. While initially they may seem more expensive, a good tour operator will save you hours of planning and avoid unnecessary hiccups with routes and accommodations. They will also know the local lore and points of interest you would have otherwise missed. While many consider these upsets part of the adventure of riding, there are others who would prefer to avoid them if possible. If you’re into adventure, Rene Cormier’s Renedian Adventures offers widely acclaimed tours in Africa. RoadRUNNER magazine hosts an annual Touring Weekend this year in Winston-Salem, NC, complete with skills training. Tour companies like MotoquestEdelweiss and Ayers Adventures are well established and operate all over the world all year long. These rides fill up early.
  1. Read. Pick up any motorcycle trade magazine and you’ll find a plethora of resources. Given that most of them focus on specific riding interests, reading one pertinent to your riding genre will provide all kinds of tools, tips, events and stories! Read and dream – then make your dreams come alive!
  1. Use this downtime to get your winter maintenance done. Check your owner’s manual to see what routine work your bike is due for. If you’re doing it yourself, it may take a while to receive parts. If you’re trusting someone else to do it, good mechanics are hard to find and the shops they work in have long waiting times. Even if it’s not due right now, I like to get mine done in the winter so I don’t miss any riding during the season.
  1. Make sure your gear is ready. Replace worn pieces – it’s your safety net after all. Make sure you’ve got good quality gear to address a variety of weather. It’s amazing how having the right gear can extend your comfortable riding time – and season. Here’s an article I wrote for TD Insurance on How to Select Gear.
  1. Prepare yourself. Improve your physical fitness. One of the joys of riding is that it engages all your senses. One of the biggest challenges is that heat, wind, cold, rain, traffic – all take their toll physically. The better your physical condition, the better able you are to deal with the elements and enjoy longer rides.

Being ready for the motorcycle riding season goes a long way to getting in those miles – and experiences. Get started!

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Posted in Adventure

10 Joys of Walking

by Liz Jansen

joys of walkingTaking public transit for my doctor’s appointment yesterday floated briefly through my thoughts, before setting those thoughts free. I’d miss the joys of walking. It was three kilometers (two miles) each way and included some hills, but when you think about it, that’s really a healthy workout. I could dress for winter weather and embrace it, call a cab, or get on the bus. But why would I?

This winter’s been an experiment in managing without a car and I’m loving it. True, location, working from home, and other factors help make it so, but it’s working really well. These are but some of the body, mind, and soul benefits I receive every time I walk, about five times a week.

Given individual circumstances, you may not be able to walk to the same extent that I do, but I urge you to take small steps towards integrating more walking into your life. Do it solo or with a friend. You’ll feel the “walking love” too.

  1. Exercise. There are many documented benefits to regular walking. It can burn calories and control weight, improve cardio health, tone muscles, stave off osteoporosis, prevent dementia, boost energy, and make you feel good! And I don’t have to go to the gym. What’s not to like about walking?
  2. Awareness. You notice things when you’re walking. Orangeville is full of niche, locally owned retail shops, restaurants, and cafés, tucked into the facade of restored brick buildings. If you’re in a car, you have to make an intentional effort to check them out, first finding the time and then a parking spot. When on foot, the local creativity and flavor catches my eye and imagination, even if I seldom darken the threshold. It’s a friendly, charitable community. Yesterday I noticed the scarf exchange, which I’d heard about but not seen. Next time, I’ll take an extra from my closet and leave it there for someone else to enjoy.
  3. Connection to nature. My favorite walking is always in nature. In the area where I live, I love hiking in the hardwood forests amongst the trees, rocks, and streams. While I can’t get out there often without a vehicle, just being outside is invigorating—embracing the winter air, feeling the snowflakes, or gazing at the stars or moon as they light the sky. The maple trees that line my walk were resplendent in autumn finery when I moved in but are now solemn and stalwart in their nakedness.
  4. Cost. Walking is free. There’s no vehicle to maintain, no insurance, no parking fees, and no potential for tickets. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) estimates an average yearly ownership cost for a compact car of $9,500. Read the article and follow the link to calculate your costs. I can rent a lot of cars, hire a lot of cabs, or take a lot of public transit for that cost.
  5. Organization. It’s easy to get in the car and “run to the store” for something you might have forgotten to pick up earlier when you were out. The organization required to plan shopping and errand forays spills over into making the rest of my time more effective too. If you plan right, walking doesn’t cut into your time as much as you might think. Last summer I decided to integrate moderate amounts of meat back into my diet, but only meat that’s antibiotic and hormone free, treated humanely—i.e. free range, grass fed, or wild, and locally raised. The butcher shop is about 3 km (2 miles) away so I don’t go on the same day as I walk the same distance in the opposite direction for other groceries.
  6. Mindfulness. If you’re walking, you think twice before heading out. I don’t enjoy shopping at the best of times so it’s always easy to talk me out of it. If I have to walk there, it’s even easier to put it off. I question whether I really need the item at all, if it can wait, or if I must put on my walking boots. It’s amazing how easy it is to consolidate trips and makes me realize how much frivolous driving I’ve done. It’s also ecologically friendly.
  7. Social connection. There are others out there walking. Some are hunkered down, heads bent and bodies braced against the winter wind, but more often, it’s a chance to smile and say hi, and watch it come back to you. It’s wonderful to see a smile light up a stranger’s face.
  8. Friend encounters. You bump into friends you’re not expecting. Yesterday on my walk down Broadway (the main street), it was wonderful to stop for a brief chat with Shirley and Steve, fellow adventure riders who live in town. Out for their own walking enjoyment and exercise, our paths, which haven’t crossed for a while, intersected that day. On the way back, it was another friend walking out of a store who stopped briefly and amicably before continuing with last-minute pre-vacation errands.
  9. Philanthropic. Often there are opportunities to show kindness or lend a hand to someone that needs it. Not long ago, I noticed a car parked across the sidewalk at an awkward angle and the young girl inside helplessly jabbing at her cell phone to rouse help. She was stuck in deep slush and afraid to get out and ask someone to help. I wasn’t in a position to help physically, but I did notice a couple of burly fellows across the road who I beckoned over. People started arriving from all over and she was out in no time—and got to meet her neighbors. And I didn’t lift a finger.
  10. History. I live in an old part of town and love walking through the tree-lined streets, lined with old red brick houses. It seems from the plaques identifying the year of construction and the occupation of the original owners there was a building boom in the 1880’s. It’s fun to imagine the streets filled with horses and buggies and think about the hopes and dreams of those who settled here.

The difference between walking and riding a motorcycle is akin to the difference between riding and driving. Being caged up in climate control, cruise control, bluetooth, and surround sound audio buffers contact with the outdoors and each other. While I’m not about to give up motorcycling, I will admit that getting off and using my own two feet for transportation is a whole new experience and one that I’m enjoying immensely. Try it! You’ll see what I mean.

Related Post: Going Carless

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Premium or Regular? 10 Fuels to Power You

by Liz Jansen

About this time of year, many of us need an extra shot of energy, especially if we’re not riding our motorcycles. Here’s a reminder of the kinds of things that fuel us and will give us that boost, any time of year.

From Life Lessons from Motorcycles; 75 Tips for Generating Epic Energy.

premium or regularYour owner’s manual will tell you what type of fuel your bike requires. Feeding it the wrong grade will make your engine less powerful and less efficient, cause premature engine wear, and possibly damage it over time.

While sometimes it feels like it would be easier if human beings came with an owner’s manual, how boring would that be? It’s much more interesting to figure it out on our own. These grades of fuel are good for everyone.

  1. Love. Begin by loving yourself and who you are. This is selfless rather than selfish. Until you realize your worth, you cannot appreciate the worth of others or serve your purpose.
  2. Relationships. Nurtured relationships grow through the good times and the challenging ones—when others are there for support. Wisely choose those you allow into your life, from a place of deep inner strength rather than a fear of being alone.
  3. Positivity. Welcome positive experiences and people into your life. Hard times and mistakes—a.k.a. lessons—will still happen, but look at what you can learn and how you can make a difference. Ignore others who judge you and offer negative commentary. You can’t control what they say, but you can control what you put in the gas tank.
  4. Active listening. Listen to your inner voice, and you’ll do what’s right for YOU. This is your Road. Others will try to convince you to choose or act differently, but they’re doing so through their own filters. Remember that you alone are in control.
  5. Gratitude. Appreciate the wonderful people and experiences in your life, and you’ll find they’ll increase in number and frequency. Be grateful for those who love and care for you. Give thanks for the things others do for you as they do them, rather than noticing the void once they’re no longer with you.
  6. Authenticity. This world wants to make you look and act like everyone else. Rather than trying to force yourself into a role that doesn’t fit, shun conformity and show who you are. It takes courage, and you’re worth it! You were given a particular set of skills and attributes with which to fulfill your unique role. No one else can do it.
  7. Joie de vivre. Love life and all that’s in it. Be amazed with seemingly small things, like sunsets, time with friends and family, and the miraculous beauty of nature. The best things in life are free.
  8. Resilience. Embrace change. It’s one of the few constants in life. Although life doesn’t always unfold as you imagine, Spirit wants you to be successful and provides the resources you need to do so. Live in the present moment, and watch for the gifts as well as the challenges. You’ll look back and wonder what all the angst was about.
  9. Fun. The child inside you never goes away, even though you have an adult body and adult responsibilities. He or she needs to play, laugh, and have adventures. Make sure your life is not so filled with work and other responsibilities that you don’t have time for play.
  10. Trust. Resisting change, such as that which happens when fear tries to contain your spirit’s calling, usurps your energy. Trust that Spirit is guiding you no matter what the situation, and, instead of using your energy for resistance, use it to move forward.

LL_EnergyWatch what you put in the gas tank. Keep it topped up with the right fuel, and you’ll notice an increase in power, confidence, and efficiency in getting down the Road to your destination.

Purchase the entire ebook Life Lessons from Motorcycles—75 Tips for Generating Epic Energy available for any e-reader. $2.99.

photo credit: Antonio_Trogu via photopin cc

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