This summer I undertook a six-week experiment, trying to learn how to work on the road while letting my heart take the lead in choosing destinations.
Motorcycling is a gift that offers symbolism and life lessons, which transcend to all areas of life. It’s where I draw inspiration for the writing, speaking and facilitation, which is my life’s work. And I absolutely love being outdoors in nature. That I got only a fraction of the work done that I envisioned should have been no surprise.
Whether that commitment is to myself or someone else, overworking eats up energy and reduces productivity. The experiment was valuable in teaching me how to set manageable and achievable goals the next time.
12 attributes necessary to work on the road
- Kindness. Start with yourself and leave lots of buffer room for the inevitable unexpected events that will season your day. Then you will have plenty of kindness to share with the many who share your road, and are so kind to you.
- Humor. Here again, start with laughing at yourself, and the things that get you upset. If you stand back and look at yourself as an observer, whatever has upset you will seem ludicrous – and laughable.
- Courage. This has nothing to do with the ride itself and everything to do with what working in an unfamiliar setting calls forth from you. When you’re thrown out of your routine, intentionally or not, it changes how even a small task looks.
- Flexibility. You’re used to doing things a certain way. Pitch that out the window when you change your environment, especially when you’re continually on the move to different surroundings. Things outside of your control, like Wifi availability, or weather, can throw a wrench in your gears and upset the most carefully laid plans.
- Resourcefulness. You’re also used to having all the conveniences at your fingertips, or at least knowing where they are. Not so when you’re traveling by motorcycle and have limited cargo space. That’s when you learn how to prioritize.
- Self-discipline. At the beginning of the trip, I thought I’d be able to get up early, write for a couple of hours, then ride until late afternoon. That didn’t work so well and I realized the most productive way for me was to block off whole days staying in one spot and working. Of course you need to leave enough time for that.
- Patience. This experiment was a huge learning curve and I had to continuously adjust my overly zealous expectations.
- Stamina. Riding is tiring, especially when it’s hot (30’sC/90’sF) and there is a great distance to cover. Attending to physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs is a must if you’re going to stay the course.
- Trust. Not only do you have to trust your ability to ride and manage a fully loaded motorcycle in unfamiliar territory, you need to trust your ability to navigate, find an appropriate place to spend the night and most importantly, trust your intuition.
- Initiative. When you’re traveling solo, it’s you alone who needs to set up camp, get groceries, run errands, packs it all up again – all while trying to get work done. Of course, it’s often the case that neighbors lend a hand, a chair or extend an invitation to share a meal.
- Humility. There are times you need to swallow your pride, admit you need help – and then ask for it. Like when your bike tips over, you don’t feel well or you forgot something.
- Assertiveness. If you don’t do it or ask for help, it either won’t get done or will require extraordinary resources from you to resolve. Looking after yourself makes you much more appreciative of the needs of others.
Make no mistake, I had an incredible time that recharged, reset and reinforced my focus. That, gaining clarity and stoking my creativity were primary goals. And they were all met. The journey just looked different from what I expected.
There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s completely doable to work on the road. It’s a matter of calling on the above personal resources, setting realistic expectations and then going for it.
To be continued as the experiment continues.
Related Post: 10 Challenges to Working from the Road
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