CRAIG'S LATEST RAMBLINGS AND WORDS OF SEMI-WISDOMLiving Off the Slab Blog
During most of my life—and I think for the vast majority of us--we have never had cause to think that far into the future. Most of our lives are lived thinking in five-day increments. Our goal is to simply make it through the work week, so that we can catch a fleeting glimpse of freedom for those two glorious days that make up the weekend.
Thinking past each Sunday was just not something most of us had any cause to do. Sure, we might have a vacation planned for the summer months, but the countdown to reaching those two of weeks away from the daily grind, was marked by the same repetitive week after week progression.
For most of my life I did not think about this kind of thing. I was young and that is just the way the world worked. But as I got older and time wore me down, I started to recognize my mortality and with that realization, came an awakening.
IF I AM GOING TO DO SOMETHING AMAZING WITH MY LIFE, I NEED TO DO IT NOW!
Do you every wonder what comes after this life? Is there simply a never-ending sea of black silence? Do we spend eternity in some predetermine paradise or purgatory? Or perhaps our souls are recycled, returning again and again until we gain enlightenment.
I have no idea what comes next and do not think we are meant to know. Having the afterlife hidden from us places a greater meaning on this existence.
But occasionally, something happens that makes me scratch my head in wonder. Just such an occurrence happened while I was returning home from my Alaska trip back in 2017.
In 2019 I was fortunate enough to take a 11,700-mile cross-country trip over the course of 58 days. This adventure was in celebration of completing my 60th trip around the sun. Over the course of this two-month excursion, I wanted to meet as many of my YouTube followers as possible and in the process, turn the camera on them, to hear their motorcycle stories. This turned out to be one of the most rewarding parts of my travels.
Like most bikers, I admit that I am a “gear geek.” I love to browse and talk about the latest models of two-wheeled conveyance and/or gear to hit the market. But these items are simply tools used by the rider to take their individual motorcycle or travel journey.
The journey is not simply the physical act of moving from one place to another. Rather, it is an internal odyssey taken by every solo traveler who throws a leg over a motorcycle.
It often amazes me, how wisdom can be found in the strangest places. There are certain events or experiences in life that at the time seem insignificant, but as life rolls on they stick with you. I don’t know about you, but I find myself reflecting back on these lessons over and over again as life continues to throw tests and challenges in my path.
For me, one of these strange teachers is the "Billy Jack" series of movies that ran from 1967 to 1974. There were three movies released in this series "The Born Losers," "Billy Jack" and "The Trial of Billy Jack." A forth film was produced "Billy Jack, Goes to Washington" but it was never released to the theaters.
Each time I get on my bike I have a great time, enjoying the wind in my face and the freedom of the open road, but every so often I am fortunate enough to have an almost mystical experience. I know that sounds rather sappy but if you are a motorcycle rider you know exactly what I mean. There are those days, when the weather is warm, the roads are smooth, and everything just clicks.
On one particular day I took a ride out to the central Massachusetts town of Barre. The local Victory dealer was having an open house and some of the guys and gals form the Massachusetts Bay Victory Riders Club were heading out to show their support. It sounded like a great excuse to ride, so I plugged in the iPod, cranked up some Jimmy Buffet and headed North on interstate 495.
While I sit around the house waiting for my shoulder to heal (I had rotator cuff surgery) and Spring to arrive, I have been taking stock of all the items I have taken with me during my various tours and adventures. I thought it would be interesting to share the last of items or gear that I have found to be most useful or “essential” while traveling.
I present these items in no particular order and you may notice a theme that has to do with protecting yourself and your gear from the elements. I have also excluded a good tool kit and first aid kit from this discuss—those should be no brainers.
Just the other day, my wife Cathy and I decided to talk a walk on a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. We started out by strolling down our tranquil tree line street, returning home through a wooded path that travels along an old abandon railroad bed.
While taking this walk, I could not help but juxtapose our tranquil surroundings with the turmoil, dysfunction, fear, and hatred that 2020 has brought us. It truly has been a bitch of a year. Personally, I have lost a cousin, six years my junior and then my father, at just 20 years my senior. These losses seem to make my remaining time noticeably shorter.