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.