"You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on, it's right there, so blurred you can't focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness." Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I've never ridden a motorcycle and I haven't read this book since college, but this passage has stayed with me for over 20 years.
This prompt has come at a wonderful time in my life. Refusing to be a passenger during this short time between prom and the grave, I am currently packing for a 15 day trek through Nepal. I want to see it, touch it, taste it, smell it.
Maria Shriver said, "Do something every day that scares you." By the time I return home, I think I will have fulfilled that quota for the next six months. Sure I'm nervous and I'm hopeful there will be times on this trek that I'll even be a little scared, but dammit that will not stop me from doing.
To that one person who's response to hearing of my trip said, "Singing Kathmandu along with Bob Seger is as far as I want to go." I say, "Bah! Live your safe little life. Eat over-processed food. Watch QVC and consume mass-produced crap. You live without lust. You teach your children not to take risks. Be a passenger, but get the hell out of my way because I will have stories for my grandchildren; tales of adventure, of life, of living. Tales that are mine, by God."
Okay, so I got a little ramped up just then, but to be a passenger, a passive learner, is wasteful of life, of time and of space. We can't all be drivers all of the time, but when we're driven in a direction that may not be of our choosing we must savor everything about where we've been taken and embrace the journey for we only get one shot at this life.
So, if the Maoists get me or a yak tramples me, do not despair for I will have gone while living which I prefer far above going while dieing.
(This was written in response to Sunday Scribblings, http://www.sundayscribblings.blogspot.com/)