Roadtripping: Fantasy Versus Reality

Roadtripping: Fantasy Versus Reality

In preparation for a trip, I might not create a strict timetable or map out a route, but I do find myself engaged in rapturous, absurd fantasies. These fantasies involve who I’ll see, where I’ll go and of course the gorgeous super-heroine exchanges that I’ll have with everyone because I am so fucking captivating. I run through imaginary conversations in which I’m witty and insightful and that leave the other person wanting more, more, more. In this world, everyone thinks I’m beautiful. Everything is sunshiny and 70 degrees. Yes, in my fantasyland I ride through the world like an irresistible unicorn leaving glitter in my wake. Clamoring onlookers swirl their hands through my air; a futile attempt at grabbing some of my castoff sparkles.

Such fantasies are not only ridiculous but also a dangerous game. Nothing… NOTHING could ever be like what they are. And it isn’t only because they are unrealistic in their perfection. Part of it is that they rely on others to behave in a way that you want them to. That doesn’t happen. Placing any kind of faith in fantasy execution is a recipe for failure and heartbreak.

I’m not saying that whimsical fantasies aren’t worth having. I’m simply saying that they need to be recognized as such. Someone like me really needs to learn to appreciate the oft-overlooked charms of reality. There is beauty, grace and humor woven throughout a day. It’s terrible to be so distracted by the unattainable perfection of fantasy that I don’t realize I’m already living a beautiful dream.

In stark contrast to my imaginary life, what usually happens when the rubber meets the road is that I move around with tired, puffy eyes and hopelessly tangled hair. I do this in silence because I don’t feel like talking to anyone in my sphere. I don’t want people looking too closely at my dirty windburned face or my grubby nails because it makes me feel self-conscious. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s rainy, I’m hungry, I’m not sure I made the right decision. Far removed from the graceful ballerina of my dreams I’m more of an ungainly rhino who’ll pull up to a place and hope that I don’t tip over because my bike is slightly too tall. I probably don’t even look like a woman in my lumpy textile gear.

But, you know? It’s alright.

Here’s the thing. All of the superficial stuff that eats away at me? No one really cares about it. Everyone is so absorbed in their own doings that you merely pass through as a shadow. On one hand, if you’re looking to make a connection it could seem like a bummer. But on the other hand? It’s like a bell ringing for freedom. No one cares what you’re doing! No one cares what you look like! No one really wants to talk to you! Isn’t that great?!

11 Replies to “Roadtripping: Fantasy Versus Reality”

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself, life is too short to allow others to judge you. Be your own person and walk your walk. No one else can do it like you or me and that is what makes us all unique and special. And I would love to have a little glitter 🙂 all I got is dirty carbon from the exhaust pipe.

  2. By choosing to travel by motorcycle, you literally open yourself up being approached by people who are curious about you. If you’re not in a sharing mood, it’s easy to communicate that. There are days on the road when I have all the time in the world to share, and other times when I do not. Riding is therapy for me, and I work hard to keep it positive. Remember: you’re unique…. just like everyone else.

  3. I’m guessing that your road trips are epic…or at least quasi-epic. Anyone who meets you on the road has gotta come away thinking you’re pretty badass.

    But keep dreaming of the perfect ride…it’s what we all do.

  4. I found the perfect Harley dresser for me at this time. I love riding and I do it alone. People just assume you’re a bad ass because you have to take care of number one and if that involves your mental health also, so be it. they don’t understand news to the breeze and wind therapy. I’m 58 years old, planning my first trip alone , And yes it’s scary. What if was coming through my mind. And then I think what if I just stay home, what if I just keep going to work, all the if’s s add up to “I should have ” at that point and I can’t let that happen. Just saying

  5. I used to fantasize about getting pulled over for speeding. I had my excuse all planned, but of course the cop only wanted to talk to me about my awesome motorcycle. Later I would fantasize about meeting the perfect woman. She rode, she stopped to take pictures and she spent a lot of time trying to figure things out. None of that ever happened.

    I wish I knew the magic thing to say to you but I don’t. Medication doesn’t work, the damn books don’t work, and years pass and things seem the same.

    By the way I’ve never seen onlookers clamor and swirl their hands. Maybe I was lost in a fantasy.

  6. All I ever find myself fantasizing about is how I’m going to try and impress you the next time we meet because your fantasy is already my perception of reality!!!

  7. “No one really cares about it. Everyone is so absorbed in their own doings that you merely pass through as a shadow. ”

    It has taken me many years to realize the truth of these two statements.

    And yes, learning this has been very liberating in many ways.

    Excellent post. Thank you.

  8. As long as you’re not one of them there rainbow-farting unicorns. Sure, they might look cool at a distance, but imagine the reek around ’em. 😀

    I respectfully disagree with your assertion that most everyone is too self-absorbed to give a damn about those around ’em. Some of the most memorable experiences I bring home from a ride are my encounters with others–the tales we exchange. As I’m left knowing that my life experiences are both unique and universal, and usually left reassured that folks out there are mostly good (reassured that there just might eventually be a humane human race), I hope that I leave others with the impression that their sharing with me wasn’t in vain.

    One of my greatest regrets in recent years?… On the last day of Labor Day weekend 2013, as I was packing up in a little campground in southeast Nevada, preparing for my dual-sport, mostly dirt trek back across the desert to my home, an old fellow wandered over, commented about my bike, and then said, “I brewed up too much coffee this morning. You want a cup?” I politely declined, got on my way soon thereafter, and grabbed coffee at a gas station in the nearest little town…

    I had no schedule, nowhere to be. I wish I’d taken him up on the offer. Maybe he was lonely for someone to chat with. Maybe he had finally learned the secret to life–the meaning of this absurd experience–and was ready to share it with one fellow human being. I still kick myself for that, and–by damn–I hope I learned my lesson.

    1. Ry Austin, I agree with you 100%. On most of my travels, especially on a motorcycle, I come away with an enjoyment of the interaction with other people, and you’re correct in saying that in almost all cases, it proves that what we hear through the media, isn’t a representation of most people’s real lives. (Thank goodness).
      And your missed coffee date: again ditto! Those can be the golden moments.

  9. I have to agree with Ry. The bike and the helmet just open you up to people talking to you. It’s one of the things i really enjoy and the stories I often tell… The breakfast I shared with strangers at Uluru or the beer I was offered by strangers as i set up camp people are usually not worried about how clean your hair is but where you’ve been and w where you’re going.

    That’s what I love

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