By Erin Shoults
The money probably could have been more practically spent else where. Probably, I should have put it against my student loans or towards the down payment I had been trying to get together to buy a house. But I bought the damn motorcycle anyways.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed it. I needed the things that it would bring to me. I needed something to stoke the fire of my dreams. Because I was tired. Tired of investing all my energy into things that I didn’t believe in and things that I didn’t really want. You see up until just a little while before I bought the motorcycle I had made most of my decisions based on what I was told to do, what I knew was expected of me. So much of my energy went into trying to tick off the boxes and follow the script. You know the one; get an education, find a job, find a partner, settle down, buy a house. I rarely thought about what I wanted. But in following that script I found myself slowly being worn down and I was tired.
It was surprising how easily this precious dream that I had held so delicately in my mind for such a long time was made a reality. A roaring, rumbling reality. It started with just a click, then filling in some credit card details to buy a motorcycle safety course online. Then a helmet purchased online. That was 700 dollars. A lot of money to me. There was no turning back. It all snow balled from there. A series of little actions that manifested in this vision I’d had of myself tearing along the highway on a motorcycle. A couple of weeks later I showed up to the safety course with my helmet and discovered that I could do all the things involved in riding a motorcycle. At the end of the course they set us up to take road test if we wanted to and by Sunday dinner I had my license. Then I had to make some calls about a few motorcycles and go around to test drive them. I found one I loved. I wrote a check. As I drove away on that motorcycle my heart was flip flopping and there was a pack of butterflies flitting in my stomach and I felt more alive than I had in years.
Over the next few years I have repeated this same process. I have taken a dream, unformed, and nurtured and molded it into something that I can see clearly. Once I can see clearly what it is that I want I figure out one small thing that I can do to move myself closer to that dream. Once I have done that I figure out another small thing and on it goes. It doesn’t always turn out exactly the way I picture it, but often enough, it turns out close enough that I have developed faith in this process. What I have learnt is that if you want something, you’ve gotta do something to get it. A dream can’t materialize until you invest physical energy into it.
For a long time, I’ve had a dream knocking around in my head. It’s a big one. For a long time, it was just a notion but over the last couple of years I’ve started to fill in some details of it and really think about what it might take to make this dream materialize. In 2023, I want to take a year away from work and pull my kid out of public school so I can homeschool him while we road trip around North America exploring this world that we live in. In the mornings we will hike, climb, surf, ski, swim, canoe. In the afternoons and evening’s, we will try to explain what we have seen and make sense of the world through math, science, English and social studies. He’ll be 11 years old at the time and I want to let him see the world in such a way that will never leave him to doubt that we live in a place that is full of wonder and beauty. I want to demonstrate to him that there are other ways to live and that for those with the courage and the creativity to carve their own path, there are abundant rewards.
I am not a religious person but I do believe that this physical world that exists all around us is full of divinity and magic. The chances that we were born on this planet, at this time, in the exact right conditions to sustain such a rich variety of complex life is a miracle! And here I am, here we all are, with this miracle unfolding all around us. I want to see and experience as much of this miracle as I can and I want the same for my son.
That is my big dream and this is one of the small actions that I am taking to move myself toward it. To define it and say it out loud and set a date by which I want to accomplish it. There are many more things that I will have to do and figure out to make it happen but I’ll take it one day at a time. Each day asking myself, “Is there something I can do today to move myself closer?”
After that, who knows. I kind of have this bit of an idea of my boy on a motorcycle…. But one thing at a time!
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