Being Alone And The Things That Go Bump in the Night

Being Alone And The Things That Go Bump in the Night

Thinking about traveling is something I do all the time. In those daydreams, I am usually traveling by motorcycle and often alone. It isn’t that I don’t like people or that I wouldn’t love to share the time with say, Kenny. The way that “real life” works around here is that there are compromises to be made and complications that keep us from doing some things together. I learned a long time ago that if I really want to do something I have to be willing to do it alone. Otherwise I’ll be waiting around for a someday that may never come.

There are some things, some rides, some trips that you want to do alone. The reasons for which could be a million different things. My favorite? I just feel like it. And, it must be said that the want to do them alone doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you don’t love your wife/husband/partner/child/parent/lover/dog, and it doesn’t mean that you don’t like spending time with any one of those people either. Being independent doesn’t mean that you don’t love someone else.

Okay, so maybe you’ve come to realize that there is a road trip that you want to take on your motorcycle. And maybe you’re a bit of a loner or there is no one else who will take this road trip with you. What do you do? Do you pack up and head off on your own -or- do you file the idea away until someone else decides that they will do it with you?

This isn’t a judgement – many people will just file it away. When we do that, we are letting someone else dictate how we spend our time. We choose to let someone else run our show. Hell, I’ve done it. I’ll probably do it again. But it seems like as I grow, my willingness to wait for someone else diminishes. The phrase “it’s now or never,” seems to fit because… that’s the way it often is.

“The unforeseen does not exist.”

What is it that makes us cling to others to do things? What are we afraid when it comes to striking out on our own? What if the thing that goes bump in the night is really just Cookie Monster and not something that is going to eat us up?

When you think about hopping in your car and driving across country – do you even get an inkling of worry that you might run in to a situation that you can’t handle? I don’t. I think about sipping coffee, singing along to the radio and watching the snaking lines on the road guiding my way. The potential for unseen things to occur is there but they don’t eat away at me at all.

When it comes to traveling via motorcycle though, that seems to give some people pause. But why? When you start peeling back the layers, what is it? What is the difference between taking your motorcycle and taking your car that makes you feel unsure?

  • Is it the exposure to the elements?
  • Fear that you won’t be able to pack all the things you think you need to bring?
  • A feeling of vulnerability?
  • Fear of a break down?
  • Fear of a flat?
  • Fear of a crash?
  • Fear of not being able to pick your motorcycle up if you drop it?
  • Fear of being alone?
  • Fear of other people?
  • Fear of getting lost?
  • Fear of staying in a hotel alone?
  • Fear of camping?
  • Fear your only credit card will stop working at the gas pump?
  • Fear you’ll lose your only set of keys?
  • Fear of no cell service?
  • Fear of being selfish?
  • Fear that you’ll enjoy being selfish?

What do you think?




22 Replies to “Being Alone And The Things That Go Bump in the Night”

  1. All of the above but those reasons also make me want to ride further solo to deal with any fears that would stop many. State of mind and trusting yourself is all you need. Oh, and a BMW roadside plus cell. πŸ˜‰

  2. I hear ya. And agree with your attitude. I strike out on my own all the time when the alternative is not having fun. Why waste an opportunity? We won’t get an infinite number of them. Plus, I like your perspective that by seizing chances, we’re preventing others from dictating our lives. Probably because my mother was so controlling, I relish making my own decisions. Even bad ones. At least they’re mine. Good post. Good good post.

    1. Thanks Ally πŸ™‚

      I relish making my own decisions. Even bad ones. At least they’re mine.

      I agree. I hadn’t really thought very much about what this means to me until recently. I didn’t have overbearing parents at all, quite the opposite really. I’ve kind of always been able to do whatever I wanted so the times when I fall in to the trap of letting someone else choose for me, it seems like i go to pieces.

  3. Rachel, I have felt and done all that you describe. On the motorcycle, I prefer to travel alone–even thousands of miles. It’s my preferred mode of travel. BUT, I also want to travel with my best friend, my lover and wife. There is an intimate comfort in being with the one you are supposed to be with. So, the internal struggle continues: to travel with exhilaration in an open environment, or travel in intimacy. Both are modes winners.

    See you on the highway.

  4. Great post. As you know I ride alone a lot. My only regret is when I see something cool there is no one there to share it with other than those on Facebook when I post about it. But of course that isn’t the same.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I understand that – wanting to be able to turn to someone and say “holy shit! look at that!” But even so, the other hours and minutes that make up the day make those fleeting times of wishing you had company even out.

      I know that you know what i mean πŸ™‚

  5. I used to ride with groups, but it often involved planning the ride and then being canceled on. So then I’d be discouraged and just not go.

    After finally getting tired of it, I started doing my own thing. The sense of freedom is nice. I can leave when I want, go where I want, and stay as long as I want. There’s no external pressure to take away the joy of being in the moment.

    1. Sometimes it IS nice to be with other people. But managing personalities, needs and expectation is hard. If you can find a group of people who are each happy to break off at any given time and do their own thing – then maybe things work.

  6. I would say a pretty good percentage of your list at least occurs to me on any given day, but I love to ride alone. Many times I leave with no real destination or agenda, just simply to get out on the road, clear my head, and see what pops up along the way.

    1. To me, one of the most important things you said here is that even you may feel any or all of those things – you go anyway πŸ™‚

      Everyone gets scared of stuff. Some people rise and some people fold.

      Your wandering rides sound familiar πŸ˜‰

  7. Hmm, “Fear of camping?” ……. πŸ™‚
    When I started riding I thought I was going to meet loads of people and ride around in groups but it never did happen. To be honest I don’t think I really made the effort. Now I prefer not to. (Unless of course you wanna ride together πŸ˜‰ I love to ride with my hubbs but otherwise I ride alone. I enjoy it now but I was really nervous to ride alone in the beginning. I knew if I didn’t overcome it I would go nowhere. Some days I think about all that stuff on your list and then some. I try not to let it stop me. Sometimes there’s a twisted sense of accomplishment and relief when you get to where your

  8. A great blog, when i read your articles i feel like we are very much alike except you are a great writer.
    For myself being a new rider I am afraid of alot of those things on your list, but the biggest is regret. I have made some big changes in my life after saying ” now or never ” and I haven’t regretted them. This year will be my second year riding and I plan on doing more and most of it will be by myself.

  9. Good post. Spot on. I like this: “I learned a long time ago that if I really want to do something I have to be willing to do it alone. Otherwise I’ll be waiting around for a someday that may never come.”

    A young Hemingway wrote about a young man returning from the war. He’d seen some bad stuff and needed to be alone. I’ll bet he would’ve loved to be with his friends and family members after he returned. But first he needed to be alone. To put his thoughts together.

    Big Two-hearted River describes a scene that many of us would immediately recognize. We’ve been there. We can relate. I can.

    I returned from over 4 months in Wash, DC this time last year. The time I spend over there was brutal. The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to get away. I spent 3 lovely days alone in the desert: just me, my KTM and my camping gear. It was so nice to be alone with my thoughts.

    Yes, we need to get away sometimes. Either with others or alone.

    Folks like us are fond of waiting around for a someday that may never come.

  10. I love riding alone. The only time I have an issue is when I’ve zipped myself in a sleeping bag in the middle of nowhere then realize if a murderer comes, there’s no one I can trip and slow down so I can live. It’s scary. :). But I wouldn’t change a thing. Even the fear makes it more fun!

  11. The dreaded ‘F’ word. Sometimes it’s an all encompassing thing. The more I think about fear, the more fearful I become. I really felt like this post ‘spoke’ to me and made me question many of my reasons (excuses) for not doing things on my bike, on my own. One of my reasons is not riding dirt roads on my own. But rather than an excuse, this is probably just common sense and shouldn’t stop me doing other rides (I ride an 800XC) that stick to the bitumen. Thanks for the great post and also for making me stop and take a good long hard look at myself πŸ˜‰

  12. Awesome post and I couldn’t agree more.

    When we travel by car, we see the world slip by as if our windshield were a television screen. We are observers sitting in climate controlled comfort, munching on popcorn. On a motorcycle, we are alive and in the moment. Anything can happen. The splat of a big juicy bug on our face shield reminds us this is true. I guess it’s that “anything can happen” thing that can sometimes give us pause. We are not always at our most confident.

    That bug juice is good stuff though, as is the lingering scent of road kill skunk. On a bike, each journey generates unique memories where a trip by car is soon forgotten.

    Our willingness to travel alone requires and conditions personal attributes that enhance who we are. It can also separate us from the streaming noise of our digital world and all the so-called experts. Traveling alone into a quiet place (or a windy place) allows us to hear our own voice and re-energize our heart.

  13. I travel alone about 50% of my rides. That’s because I’m retired and my riding buddies aren’t. So anything over 9 days, I usually ride solo. I can’t say I have any fears when riding alone though I was pretty apprehensive before setting off to Mexico in 2014. I plan well and do ALL my own bike maintenance, so I know the Tiger inside out.

    It’s like you say; I can either go alone or wait for the day someone can join me. I’m just not that patient. I don’t mind being in the saddle without my pals around in that I can’t speak to anyone while riding anyway. But at the end of the day when the tent’s pitched and the food comes out, it can be lonely and the hours sometimes crawl by. That’s when I wish I was with a group. And the fact that you don’t have a common memory with friends to commiserate is a bummer. There’s no “Remember that time we saw the moose on the trail on Isle Royale?” I guess that’s what blogs are for!!!

    BTW, that KTM is gorgeous! So jealous.

  14. I enjoy riding alone. As you know, Hubby is my riding partner. But he and I think very differently. Although I enjoy rides with him, I often feel like, because I am FAR more patient, it’s all about making sure he’s happy. You know, not stopping every 50 feet like I want to for pictures of odd stuff. Limiting the number of scenic, putt-putt roads because I know he’ll get bored, etc.

    For me, it’s not fear of riding alone as much as the limited amount of free time — work REALLY interferes with life — and appearing selfish and/or unloving when I say I do want to ride alone for a day or more.

    The feeling guilty and/or selfish is, in my opinion, more of an issue for women than men. Learning how to ignore or, better yet, SILENCE those voices in my head that make me feel guilty, selfish, etc., is something I’m working on.

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