My husband is a biker. Not the Sons of Anarchy kind, or the middle age dude who takes his ‘sports’ bike out on a Sunday in head to toe matching leathers, the adventure kind. It’s a whole genre of riding I’d never heard of before. The adventure bikers could probably teach us all a thing or two about mindfulness. Their motivation is to explore the world on two wheels, but not in any mad dash to reach certain places by set times because the point of the journey for them is the journey itself. All they rely upon is a bike and whatever limited possessions that can be strapped to it. I’ve done a couple of trips as pillion and undoubtedly would have done a lot more had we not got knocked up as quickly as we did. Whether bikes are your jam or not, the experience you get on the back of one and the connection it gives you to the places you travel really should be one for anyone’s ‘bucket list’. But enough about that, or I might start to sound like my old man.
My point about adventure is I’ve come to realise in the grander scheme of things that this is the kind of mum I want to be. If my daughter never sees me take any risks or throw myself outside my comfort zone then how can she? The world is a bit of strange place now, between the insular anti-immigration rhetoric and the seemingly never ending issues of equality for women, navigating the path of raising a child feels to me to have taken on an added layer of perplexity. So, naturally I turn to the utopia of adventure motorcycling for the remedy – lets buy a sidecar and get our little show on the road.
For all the obvious reasons I want our daughter to see the world, and in as much detail as possible, not just the inside of an all-inclusive beach resort (don’t get me wrong, I love a nice beach and an endless stream of cocktails with a bit of cheesy entertainment to round off the day, but there has to be more). Of course I want her to appreciate other cultures and meet different people, but more than that I want her to be brave. I don’t want her to feel because she’s a woman her place is limited. I never imagined myself to be a side-car type of person. I was always more comfortable perusing the Sandals website in the days before I met my other half, but if I’m honest that probably had less to do with me wanting to sashay across a pristine beach having ‘the time of my life’ and more to do with being anxious about the unknown. I didn’t do the backpacking thing when I young, it all seemed a bit scary, and even now I think if my daughter decides to bugger off at 18 with nothing but a rucksack and a desire to ‘find herself’ I reckon I’d royally shit myself with worry until her safe return.
But fear is the problem, and these days it can even build walls. I’m actually at a bit of a cross roads in life right now, specifically my career. The safe option would be to go back to what I’ve done before, pay the bills but not be remotely invested in the work. But my dream is to succeed as a writer, and that’s the direction I’m going to head because in a strange way I feel I owe it to my daughter as well as myself. I owe it to her because she needs an example. Something to work from. How can I tell her she can be anything in life if she works hard enough, if I haven’t done so myself?
I suppose my musings on life and newfound desire for challenge and risk relates to where life has brought me so far, what I think is important, and what I’ve learned to value. She may take a different view in later life and ask ‘why the fuck did you drag me on those motorcycle holidays when I was young?!” But as every parent knows, all we can ever hope to do is the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. So saddle up kid, it’s time for our big adventure!