Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Motorcycle Musings

Top Three Life Lessons Gleaned from Riding my Motorbike

1) Go fast or go slow…but don’t fluctuate. It seems that when I am feeling particularly lax and drive leisurely, the other moving vehicles on the road don’t really bother me. They do their thing, and I do mine. When I am aggressive and swerve around others, as long as I’m confident, all is well. It’s the days when I am bipolar in my speed…hesitant in whether that becak driver really IS worth cutting off or not…when I get into trouble. I guess we should be content with however speed we’re going in life and know that we’re in control. If we’re too busy deciding, we lose the joy of the drive (and lose balance and skid).

2) Be in the present moment…or you’ll get rammed by a minibus. One typically hot and humid day, I was driving along Jalan Karya engrossed in some fantasy involving jalapeno bagels and garden vegetable cream cheese. I would share more details but that would be inappropriate in this public arena. [[side note: bagels don’t exist here]] Drooling over thoughts of philly cream chease, I kind of went on autopilot. It happens so easily when you’re driving a car. You get from point A to point B and don’t even remember what roads you just took. Unfortunately, a motorbike requires a much more heightened state of awareness. Just as the chunk of bagel was dangling from my fingers about to drop into my mouth, a frenzied HONKKKKK snapped me out of my dream. I was mere inches away from running into a dull orange minibus that happened to be driving on the wrong side of the road. The drivers frustrated glare met mine. Anyways, I learned that regardless of where your mind leads you, sometimes its important to stay in the present...To live in that moment and absorb all the sounds and colors of the world that surround you. Its no fun to live passively in daydreams. And its definitely no fun to get run over by a minibus.

3) The paths are unlimited…adventure awaits. While some friends and I were driving around Lake Toba (Hells Angels style, YEAH WE’RE HARDCORE), we went through some pretty rough terrain and witnessed some spectacular views. It was empowering to be able to drive myself around (a lot of women here would never attempt to try to ride one), and it was suddenly so clear to me that I could go anywhere I wanted. Literally. If I wanted to drive from northern Sumatra to the south and then take a ferry to Singapore and then backpack through Asia living off the land and people's kindness…I COULD! Nothing was stopping me except me. I think I forget sometimes that I can create my reality and shape my world the way I want. Unbound by responsibilities and obligations of debt, children, a job...I own my days. And freedom IS *oh* so sweet.

More updates and pics to come. Its been a very very busy past few months. I've been reminded how blessed I am to be alive and for this experience...sans bagels and all.

Indonesian Cheek Kisses.

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