Lesson One: Always ride your own ride
My father would always remind me to "ride my own ride". I remember returning to conquer the Tail of the Dragon after crashing on the way there just the summer before. After a quick debriefing in front of the giant metal dragon at the beginning of the highway, I kept repeating that very phrase. Ride my own ride. Ride my own ride. My boyfriend had taken off in front of me. He had just gotten his license a few months before, and this had been his first real challenge in riding and he was ready as ever. I took a deep breath, and let my throttle pull me through. I rode it at my own pace, and yeah, that was quite slow. I was pissing off quite a few sportsbikes and old men wishing to regain adrenaline in the process.
I didn't care, though. The most beautiful secrets and experiences from the world whisper to you when you follow your own path. I was conquering a fear that won me over for a year, no matter how slow I was doing it. Learning this, I've been able to adapt to the phrase, sinking it into every part of my life and letting it carry me through, just as those two wheels have, in conquering my battles. I know adventure lies ahead on my path though, and I'm rolling the throttle right through and pressing forward to ride my own ride.
This is such an important lesson in life that we just seem to forget. Amidst societies standards of what women we should be, of what careers we need to pursue, and what ideas we need to form, we are all just left to travel down the highway - all facing the same pissed off people, honking horns, overheating cars - congestion. Sometimes it is just best to veer off for a while, and explore the lonely road. Most of the time that is where unforgettable moments of self-discovery occurs.
Lesson Two: When the going gets hard, go back to the basics
I bought a 1974 Honda CB750 a while back and had been working on a few problems to get it back kicking on the streets. Naturally, I would call and Facetime my dad frequently to get his wizardly advice. Seriously, he can fix anything.. Not even while being there. A wizard, I tell you. My headlight wasn't turning on when I'd start the bike up, so I figured there had been a wiring problem. After all, it is an old bike. Tracing back the wires again and again, learning wiring diagrams in depth, taking apart the bike until it looked like a little skeleton - my dad calls me back. "Kristen, go check the handlebars for a switch", my chest puffed when I found a headlight ON/OFF switch. Oh, the things you learn when you work with these antiques. Industry standard or state laws have made motorcycle manufacturers wire the headlights to remain on at all times nowadays, which meant no longer needing a switch to turn them off. Obviously this happened after 1974.. While I had to solder on some wires in the meantime for the ignition switch, I still had done WAY too much work for something so.. so simple.
If you're anything like me, the details seem to bog you down, scenarios play in your head of a million different what ifs that seem to branch out.. take a breath. We are simple animals that have created such a complex programming for ourselves to call us human and forget that there is such a thing as basic instinct. Sometimes it takes just cutting the crap out and assessing the bare bones of problems where you will find your answer staring right at you.
Lesson Three: Stay hydrated
If you're ever around my dad, you'll know that he will tell you to drink water to cure any ailment ever. You've got a headache? Drink water. Cough coming on? Drink water. Broken bone? Drink water. It's a wonder that I've seem to have created a perversion toward drinking water. Seriously, give me a full glass of something and I'll probably be sitting on it for hours.
Going on across the country trips via motorcycle and camping calls for some serious physical aptitude. Including drinking your water. Every stop we made to fuel up on gas my dad would buy me a bottle of water and keep nagging at me to drink it all. While for the first ten minutes you feel like you're going to puke out your whole stomach, when you take off against the wind and heat on your bike - it's a blessing.