Friday, November 30, 2012

Emptiness and Running Away

The year was 1986, and my best friend Greg and I hadn't even owned our motorcycles for a year yet, and there we were already comparing ourselves to Wyatt & Billy, dreaming of a cross-country motorcycle trip and wondering what new people and places we'd see.

Such a wild, carefree endeavor mixed with such naivety and innocence could only come from two nerdy college students desperate to run away from their feelings of loneliness and abandonment.

But we were still kids back then, still more interested in radio shack computers and racquetball than we were about life on the road.

Twenty-four years later, and I find myself having been married for twenty years, a homeowner, a landlord, a business owner, and still a motorcycle rider. But yet, unhappy with my life. Seems my whole life I've tried to force things to happen. I was trying to show my parents how wrong they were for having divorced, remarrying, and starting their lives over with new kids.

Yeah, I was the one they left behind, a painful reminder of memories they'd rather forget.

So, I struggled to achieve just to show them that I was the pony they should have betted on. I made things happen, and made decisions I really didn't want to make, all for the purpose of getting their attention.

And all it brought me was misery. There I was, managing a rental property I didn't want to manage, climbing up a corporate ladder I didn't want to climb, and dedicating to a domestic life I didn't want to dedicate. And even though my parents praised me for my achievements, it still didn't get me any more closer to them.

I was still wanting to be like Wyatt, being free, homeless, just riding across the country not knowing where I'll sleep or who I'll meet.

So one day Sash comes along. She was in the same place I was. She was like this little girl who crossed my path saying she's sad and wants to run away. I told her that I'm sad too and that I want to run away. We decided to leave our respective lives and start a new one together, almost as simply and quickly as that.

But it was actually a long time coming. It had to take years and decades of heartbreak and misery one after another, just to numb ourselves enough to where we didn't care about the aftermath, allowing us to feel bold enough to quit. Even today, we're still paying for this decision.

So far, I still feel more free. I still run a business, but I left the house to my ex-wife and I no longer have the rental property. I even let her have all my tools and stuff.

Next year, April 2013, Sash and I are going to embark on a six-month motorcycle trip across the United States and Canada. We're going to vacate our apartment, put our things into storage, and ride bikes. But, we're not going to be riding the entire time. We're going to pull into a big city live in a vacation rental for about two weeks, seeing all there is to see. Then, we'll hit the road for three to five days until we pull into another big city and start over again.

Maybe after six months we'll love it so much we won't want to come back.

Somehow, someway, the mental, physical, and sexual abuses of children leave permanent scars. Feelings of worthlessness, trying to contain the storm raging inside, never subside. They're part of the reason why such people are drawn towards running away, and maybe explain why some of us ride motorcycles.

And it's not always about running away, but about starting over. When you live in the same place long enough, you can't hide your weakness anymore.


  1. THe only time I feel truly free, and truly happy, is when I ride my bike.

  2. It's always hard to leave your comfort zone (even if it's not that comfortable)so that will truly be the experience of a lifetime. And I'm sure you'll have no shortage of blogging friends to meet up with along the way. Good luck!

  3. It's Not running away... it's running toward.

  4. I'm happy for you and envious at the same time.

    Please consider having a shin dig so we can send you off right!

    Nicely written.

  5. Steve & Sash:

    believe me when I say that I understand how you are feeling. I also come from a broken home and I had no parents all my life from about when I was 10. I had to live with my Uncle. It was always so sad in school when others had parents and a loving home.

    Sometimes you have to let go with your feelings and then the healing starts. coming from a divorced home meant not having family from either side so holidays became empty, just lonely days . . .

    at least you now have Sash and together you can forge ahead and leave the past behind. I hope you find yourselves on this journey and that it will bring you contentment. Perhaps it was meant to be, that you found each other

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

  6. It occurred to me that people put a lot of stock in family/parents (ie. warm bodies) being in place. I didn't find that it measured up to the hype.

    I wasn't beaten, abused or abandoned, not really.

    My old man died when I was three. After too many years as a workaholic ruined his heart and deprived a kid of his father. I had a hard working mom that kept a roof over our heads and food in our bellies, and empty hearts. Eventually a step dad refilled those "shoes." But~ Both ~ bound up tight, emotionally bankrupt people. I remember No expressions or demonstrations supporting a kids self worth or any other such value coming from either. Not one. Not from them. Only anger at a kids selfishness if he asked for something as simple as a bike or new tennis shoes.

    I was left to find that on my own.

    Never had a single family member EVER go to a baseball game I played. Not a single Rodeo I rode in. I never had a B-day party until I turned 50 ;) Hell, I went to my high school graduation alone and walked out of the gym alone past all the other kids with their families "cheering". Mine were all "busy". Really? WTF??? Yeah well, boo hoo, poor me. I enlisted to get away from 'em. That worked out well. Life sucks and then you die and sometimes you wish you had.

    Having "Someone" right there yet still Unreachable is maybe worse than if they'd simply left. Being alone would have been preferable.

    I let it eat at me for a long time. Pile military crap on top of that and it damn near buried me. Came damned close. But I've been unexpectedly forced to learn.

    I've come to put much more stock and value in those people who "Choose" to connect, support and share of themselves, with Honor and Integrity, on a spiritual/emotional level, than the ones who are there simply as the consequence of copulation...

    They are the ones who will lift up your Soul and Cry at your success. and Laugh when you fall, as they put out their hands to pull you out of the mud, and wrap you up in their arms.

    In all this world I have three of those now. The finest friends I could ever dream of. They are such a glorious, stark and shining difference to the weakness and fallacy and fantasy of the bonds of "Family".

    Those three FRIENDS would be the three I would Yield my life to defend. The ones I'd select to pull from a burning house FIRST. Family can wait its turn. Those three have given of their Treasure, and are owed my life; while family has only demonstrated its true worth and earned distrust.

    Like he said, Sash has CHOSEN. Far more than just a biological consequence.

    Maybe I sound bitter? What I am saying is Sash has proven her Treasure as the others have shown their worth. Maybe you wish she'd have come a long time ago, but, would you have the experience to truly show the contrast? Would her value to you be in such stark relief?

    woulda coulda shoulda

    We all have our wounds and scars. Just be glad that you are one of the fortunate few who found such treasure in this life at all! and walk away from the rest.

  7. Figure it out. Do what you feel you need to do.
    Standing still and not doing anything about it is the real tragedy of life and not to quote some stupid saying I heard just to sound smart.

    But it is true.

    Without grey stormy moments. There are no sunny joyous days.

    Ride it through.

  8. Thank you all for the kind sentiments. Yes, Bob, I think Highway and I were meant to find one another. And Brian, I feel your pain too. I'm so glad you have found your "family" of friends.

    I would give my life for Highway. Somedays our road is bumpy. Hell, somedays our road is downright treacherous! But we keep pushing forward. I guess that's all that matters.

    What I can say about all of us is we are survivors; those of us who pushed past the shit we were dealt and found something to live for. I don't intend to ever turn back ~ I've been down that road and it yields nothing but misery. Survivors push forward, to the unknown. I'm looking forward to our trip!

    The best part is, I'll always be home. Because wherever Highway is, I feel I'm at home.

  9. I definitely understand you Steve. Its like you spend your whole life trying to be good enough for everyone around you that you forget about the things that make you happy.

    Your trip sounds FANTASTIC. I could think of nothing better really than traveling the world with the person I love and leaving the world behind for awhile. Please catalogue your trip in photos so the rest of us can share the experience with you!

  10. There comes a time in everyone's life where they need to do something like a cross-country motorcycle ride. They just need to make the time to do it! Good luck on your trip!

  11. It's not running from or to something, I think it is about stopping here and there and taking it all in, experiencing life, people and events to the fullest...Have a great time!


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)