RoadRUNNER Zen Motorcyclist

All Who Wander: Exploring New Roads

May 26, 2013 View Comments by

All Who Wander“Not all who wander are lost.” – J. R. R. Tolkien. Lately it seems like every day is busier than the last. I’ve started making lists first thing in the morning to remind me of what I intend to accomplish, in order of priority, for the day. Last Wednesday my list was a long one. In addition to some work I had to wrap up, I also had yard work to do, a book outline to finish, patent forms to fill out, a doctor appointment to keep, a new camera to get familiar with for an upcoming tour, a review for my other blog, and this post to write.

There’s never enough time to get everything done and often precious little time to ride, but it was 85 degrees and brilliant outside so I decided to get done what I could and then mount up and take Big Red to my appointment. On the ride home I started thinking again about all I had to get back to as I baked in traffic; but at some point I just began to enjoy the ride and everything else seemed to fade in importance. I happened upon a road I had passed a thousand times on my commute but had never ventured down before and, on a whim, decided to see where it would take me.

The road led me along a stream at low elevation and I could feel the air temperature change in the shade near the water while the flickering sun stabbed down at me through what seemed like every possible shade of green in the canopy above. A cool breeze through my jacket took the place of the oppressive heat of the day; the traffic was replaced by a private stretch of twisting asphalt that I had all to myself. The chores of the day were somehow gone and forgotten as my mind was filled by the wonder and euphoria of what lay around the next bend as the road narrowed and turned to gravel. I started to think: all that stuff can wait, this feeling is too important to ignore and I went from living in an immediate future of busyness to a state of being completely present and conscious only of the cool air, the tank between my knees, the sound of the engine, and the sensory pleasure of a stunningly colorful day.

Sometimes getting nothing done is more of an achievement and has more value than does checking items off of a to-do list. We do what we must so we can have moments like these. It’s so easy to get caught up in work, in the other stuff of life, and to forget to let joy in. It can be hard to remind yourself to wander and harder still to allow yourself to; but it’s important, necessary in fact. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Peace can come simply by seeing what lies down a new road, what you find there is of little or no importance, the joy is in the seeking. However long my list, I’m pretty sure next week will feature more wandering, even if I don’t get lost.


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About the author

I have been motorcycle commuting since 1998. I created Zen Motorcyclist (formerly Commuting Motorcyclist) in 2011 and work as a motojournalist, software developer, CAD designer and IT/CAD manager in the Surveying and Civil Engineering field.