I’m a people person. Let me clarify, I enjoy having conversations of substance with people. Give me a crowd and I’m off to the races introducing myself, asking people questions and being mesmerized by their answers. Who you are and what you do are less important than how and why you do it. Honest and genuine people are interesting. But, even I have my social batteries depleted and need some alone time. I tried to figure out if that makes me an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert. Maybe the latter? I’m actually not sure? What I do know is that I need to be alone sometimes.
In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be tough to carve out time for yourself. My therapist kept reminding me to make time for myself. Last year I decided to venture into the unknown and acquired a dual-sport motorcycle. The Kawasaki KLR650 is inexpensive, reliable and can take me anywhere I want to go. Although I really am unsure where that is?
I began riding to work everyday, half-day rides on the weekend and the end of last season culminated with a 1200km camping trip. Something I realized was that I like doing all these things alone. I’d see groups of motorcycles on rides and I knew that it wasn’t for me. My bike would take me anywhere I felt like going; along the highway or up the dirt trail. I didn’t want to think about other people. I found the independent solitude peaceful…relaxing…liberating.
The KLR is used frequently for long haul touring. Many people have taken this bike the entire Pan American highway. Could I do something like that? Hold on!!! I don’t mean ride from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. Well, at least not right now. This season I ventured into several weekend camping trips but this could be a longer run, where I log some serious daily kilometers. Significant reservations blasted to the front of my mind. Can I log 650-700km a day, sleeping on the ground with an arthritic shoulder? I’m not even 40 but most days my body and daughter team up to tell me I’m an old man. Regardless, I decided that I would ride until I felt like stopping each day and I could cut my trip short if needed. No more excuses!
I settled on touring the Northeastern USA. It was amazing and I loved every moment of aloneness. The beauty of the Adirondack, White and Pocono Mountain ranges were breathtaking to ride and experience. While camping in Maine, I even made it out to touch the Atlantic Ocean. I had no issues logging nearly 700km a day on the bike. As light broke each morning, I savored my coffee and actually looked forward to the drive. I eagerly broke camp to get on the road. On my fourth day, the forecast of 10 hours of solid rain across Pennsylvania and Ohio convinced me to cut my trip short. A slight disappointment but certainly didn’t diminish the accomplishment of covering over 2500km, across 9 states in 4 days.
Travelling on your own certainly isn’t everyone’s bag. I prized being alone with myself for the hours of daily riding and precious evenings of reflection staring into a campfire. However, nothing recharged my social batteries more than watching the sunrise every morning, breathing in the cool crisp air, sipping an inviting aromatic coffee and embracing the solitude of myself.