7 Lessons from the Road
Getting away from your daily routine offers you an opportunity to view things differently. It enriches your life, gives you new insights and affirms your direction. Four full days traveling from Ontario to Utah, have offered countless lessons from the road.
- Believe that people care wherever you go. Entering the US at Port Huron, MI, I thought I was prepared for the usual 10 second questioning from the customs agent. Having a Nexus card, means you’re pre-screened and shortens the entry process. In theory. This gentleman was genuinely concerned about a women traveling alone by motorcycle, wanted to make sure I was street smart, asked me what I’d do in different scenarios and advised me to keep 911 dialed on my phone at all times, ready to activate. I know he meant well, but it was extreme.
- Understand that people tell you things through their own filters. Who knew what the border guard was thinking when he saw me? Maybe he was too terrified to get out of his own little world. Or maybe he was horrified that his wife or daughter might want to try something different. Or someone close to him had had a bad experience. In any case, he was projecting his own fears through his filters. They were his fears, not mine.
- Know that new friends are waiting wherever you go. It was very kind of Gina Woods to offer her home for the night when she saw I was traveling through Chicago. And even nicer to have dinner, new friends waiting and strengthen the connection with those you already know.
- Trust that paths connect in the most unusual way. The stop at Gina’s came about serendipitously and at the last moment – and for a reason. We were both able to offer help to each other to further our own missions. Following your own inner guidance is always best. You don’t always know where it’s going, only that it’s the right direction.
- Start with being objective. It’s easy to judge someone based on where they’re from, how they look or how they’re dressed. Yet once you engage with each other, there’s often a common thread, even if the connection is just for a few minutes. You never know how your single act of kindness will travel through another person, or how their worlds will touch you.
- Expect that not everyone on your road is part of your life. The metaphor of life’s road becomes more visual when you’re actually traveling the asphalt highway. You share the road with perhaps thousands of people every day, most of whom you will never even nod to, let alone connect with. Each of them are on their own journey, often oblivious to yours, even though it’s of utmost importance to you. Not everyone is meant to be a part of your path. Sometimes they come into your life just so you can learn to say “no”.
- Watch for road debris. As much as I love long days on the road on my motorcycle, I get fidgety and need to move around. Since I’ve got plenty of ground clearance on my bike, I’ll loosely dangle my feet every now and then. I did that while waiting in the passing lane for one transport truck to pass another on an incline. I still don’t know what struck my foot – whether it was a piece of retread already on the road, or something that came off the truck. I thought I was following at a safe distance but didn’t see it coming, only felt the impact, which was like being hit across the foot with a baseball bat (I imagine). It bruised me but the armor in my boots saved me from worse. Learn to recognize the conditions under which you need to give yourself and others more space than you normally would.
Getting away by yourself gives you time to observe, reflect and learn about yourself. Traveling by motorcycle is but one way to do take lessons from the road. Make a point to periodically get away in whatever way and time works for you. You’ll be amazed at the clarity it gives you.