June 26th, 2013
Fire escapes are beautiful in their own urban way. These metallic after-thoughts add such a special touch to the buildings they cling to. I imagine the architects must have cringed when the city required them to deface their beautiful buildings with these safety measures. They never would have expected how iconic they were to become, at least to me.
Hardly anyone actually uses them to escape. Here in Brooklyn they’re a place for plants to grow, clothes to dry or people to hang out on. Today I can say that I am using this fire escape to actually escape. I may not be escaping from fire, but I’m escaping alright.
About 2 hours ago I landed in JFK airport after being in Europe and beyond for the last three weeks. Three weeks was not long enough but I couldn’t wait to get back. You see, its been about a month since I’ve been on my motorcycle and I am, after all, on a motorcycle trip. I had been a bit worried that it might not be there when I get back but I have been doing my best to keep faith in humanity.
About an hour and a half ago when I finally made it to my friend’s apartment from the airport my faith was put to the test. The bike wasn’t there. Before I got too worked up I immediately went to the police station to find out if it had been towed. After an hour of being ignored then finally reluctantly helped, I found out it hadn’t been. I knew it hadn’t, there were ten other bikes parked next to it but only mine was gone.
My world felt like it had been turned upside down in a matter of a minute. I have been planning this trip for the last three years and just like that, all my hard work and preparation was taken away. I spent months saving up for the motorcycle and adding modifications. All that time getting to know it and taking care of it and I’m barely in the beginning of my trip still.
The reason I feel overwhelmed and the need to escape is not only to lament the loss of the bike. Its that I don’t know what to do now. Do I work and save up for another bike? I searched online for months before I found a good deal for that bike, not to mention all the modifications I’d have to redo. Do I take the money I was going to use for my trip and go somewhere else in the world? Do I go home?
I feel like I don’t want to do any of those options. What I really want to do is just continue my trip. I don’t have the energy for something totally different new.
For the first time in a long time I really don’t know what I want. I always have a plan I’m either working toward or doing but now I have nothing. It is an uneasy feeling and makes me question where I’m going in life in general. I could go back to school and finish with that money. I could set up a new life with a good chunk of change to get by for a while. I’ve always wanted to make a film, I could use the money for that…
The possibilities are overwhelming and it all makes me feel quite sensitive. My high horse has been shot from underneath me. I’m so used to riding that I’ve forgotten how to walk and I lay helpless on the floor. I don’t want to be seen like this so I find comfort out here on the escape.
Maybe that is what this whole trip is anyway, an escape. I know I need to find a career and all those other responsible things to be able to have a family, a home etc. I don’t know exactly what I want to do but I do know I want to travel. So I do that.
Its my temporary savior. It gives me time to step outside of my world, see other worlds and hopefully in the end choose an ideal path. I’d rather spend the extra time now in my life choosing a good path then going for the first thing that comes my way and backtracking. Traveling teaches me, shows me different possibilities and puts me in situations in which I can grow. Taking away something that I thought was a part of me shows me more of who I really am. I am not a motorcycle, nor is it a defining part of me. It is simply a mechanical object I had been using for transportation, I am still me at the end of the day.
I hold the belief that everything is for a reason. Just to clarify for a second, I don’t believe there is a higher being creating my destiny. I just think that if you don’t believe everything is for a reason then things become pointless and the cause of needless pain. I choose to believe everything has a point and it is like a self-fulfilling prophecy: once I believe I can learn something from a situation, then I eventually do and it has purpose. It gives life meaning and is a win/win.
Anyway, everything is for a reason. Maybe those thieves saved my life unintentionally and I would’ve died on the Brooklyn Bridge on my way out. Maybe home is calling me. Maybe I’ll meet the love of my life here in New York when I should’ve been on the road. Maybe I just need to learn how to let go of identifying with objects and ideas. I’m not a motorcyclist, I’m a human who has ridden a motorcycle. I’m not a traveler, I’m just away from home.
These identities are external, temporary and ultimately out of my control. At the end of the day I don’t need an identity to make me happy. Being grateful for what I have and appreciating things should be enough. Sometimes it takes stepping outside of my world for a minute to see things a bit more clearly.
From out here on the escape I look into the apartment window. Inside are people who love and care about me, a couch for me to sleep, food for me to eat. I feel calmer now after being out here for a while. I thank the bastard thieves in my head for teaching me an indirect lesson and crawl back into the window. I’ll do my best to keep my head high and be open to whatever my destiny is to become…