This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspired by the phrase "road trip"

"Road trip!"

Have you ever shouted that out loud when you've gotten behind the wheel of your car, ready to hit the road for a trip out of town?

Maybe you were just headed to the airport. Maybe you were just getting away for the day. Maybe you were en route to a well-planned actual road trip.

It's a favorite phrase of mine whenever I hit the road, for almost no matter what. I just like the sound of it. I even found myself saying it the day I took my boyfriend to the hospital for his open heart surgery a few weeks ago. Seriously. As soon as we'd packed his overnight bags in the back seat, were buckled in, and I'd opened the garage door, the words came tumbling out as natural as can be, "Road trip!"

He laughed. It made me laugh. Of course we knew we were not headed to a tourist destination, but those words instantly broke the silence and helped to ease the uneasiness of the mood in the car. Heart surgery is no small thing. He was beyond worried. I was worried for him. And the first thing that came to mind was the option to pretend this was something fun instead. It helped make the drive that much easier. Then, he turned on his relaxation tapes, and we finished the ride out with positive intention.

Soon after I met the guy, we went on our first road trip together. We'd planned to drive up to Sedona in my new SUV for the Jazz Festival. But we got stuck in traffic and veered off in a spontaneous change of mind to an out of the way place I'd never been called Seven Springs. We took the Carefree Highway to get there, and once past the little town of Carefree, north of Scottsdale, it turned out to be a dustier, rockier ride than what we'd originally intended. The road to Sedona is all freeway. This was dirt trail, with rusted out car parts appearing frequently here and there. We laughed as were jostled around, imagining my new Nissan Pathfinder dropping a bumber or a hubcap or a headlight on the way. It's good to have a sense of humor about such things, as I'd never ridden on a dirt road before, and I never really thought I'd want to do it in my new car. But I did, and that road trip turned out to be one of many we'd take together. Who knew this guy would be my inspiration for such adventures and lead to me writing my first book, BACKROADS & BYWAYS OF ARIZONA!

When you think of the phrase yourself, maybe you think of the movies featuring a road trip or two. One of the more popular that comes to mind would be"National Lampoon's Vacation." But there are many others, including "Dumb & Dumber," "The Bucket List," "Little Miss Sunshine," Sideways" and "Almost Famous." Film directors know a good theme when they've driven it. Road trip movies work because we can relate to the sense of freedom you feel on the open road. That's what made Route 66 historic. That's why lots of people, myself included, dream of taking a year off and traveling the country by RV. These are all good reasons to be inspired by the phrase.

A road trip takes you places. It allows you to see the world from a wider view. And I don't know anyone who hasn't experienced a major life change and not thought about getting in the car and taking off somewhere to deal, or avoid dealing, whichever the case may be.

So tell me about your last road trip. Where'd you go? What'd you do? Is there a road trip somewhere in your dreams that you'd yet like to take? Tell us all about it here. 

Meanwhile, here are a three tips that will help you welcome the spontaneous action into your life:
  1. Always keep your gas tank filled to full. That way, you're always prepared to get up and go.
  2. The next time you're anywhere near a selection of maps, buy the one that appeals to you most. That will help keep your road trip dream alive. When the time is right, you'll know.
  3. If this would be your first road trip, and you'd want to do it alone but you're nervous, plan and execute a day trip near your home. This will build your confidence for the real road trip ahead.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Inspired by nature

I am inspired by nature.

It's a simple thing, really. Trees, fresh mowed grass, sunlight peeking through a forest (see picture above), a mountain view, climbing a hill in my neighborhood. It's why I love recreating outdoors. I love every part of nature. The sky, the sun, the moon, the earth. What you can do with all of these parts of nature. It's most likely how travel writing became one of my specialties. 

I'm drawn to nature. It's why, during my most difficult moments in life, I turn to nature for her healing effects. It's why I ride a mountain bike. I prefer the mountain bike over the road bike because, on a mountain bike, you're less apt to ride on a busy city street. You're more apt to ride on trail. You're more likely to be riding alone. You're probably going to nearly run into a bush before you'll ever be threatened by the swoosh of a fast-driving automobile. I think my mountain bike's safer. Therefore, you could say I'm comforted by nature. It makes sense to me. How else would have been able to devise a B.I.K.E. program if I didn't find comfort in it. Believe me, my bike rides were the most comforting thing in my life at the time I first discovered their magic. To learn more about that, I urge you to search this site. It might take a while, but it will be worth visiting past posts that highlight the specific benefits of my B.I.K.E. program. 

Whether you have time or not, you might have noticed I'm also inspired to take photographs of nature. I use a lot of them on my blog here, including the one above. I took it when I was staying overnight in Greer, a small town in Arizona's White Mountains. If you ever get a chance to visit, it's a peaceful community, a great place to spend a summer or winter weekend. You can stay in a log cabin with a woodfire stove or a huge stone fireplace. You can hike trails or walk around in snowshoes, depending on the season you stop in. You can relax on big porches that overlook the Little Colorado River. And you can see wildlife: deer, antelope, skunks.

I absolutely adore living in a state where I can spend most days outdoors.

It's refreshing, enlivening, and a really wonderful way to connect with yourself. One of my favorite past-times involves walking or riding my bike alone on an Arizona trail. I'm not competitive. I'm pensive. So I use this time to think about things in general or to contemplate a challenge I'm having at work, or just to consider what my next move might be regarding whatever next project I might be working on or need to focus on in the months ahead. I'm almost always working on long-term projects. It's a rare thing for me to get fast turnaround jobs, though I do those as well. As a project-oriented person, I prefer the long-term task over the shorter ones. And I almost always need nature to help me iron out the details.

What's your relationship with nature?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inspired by silliness

Whether it's a silly hat you put on your baby's head, a silly face you make at someone, or a silly sound, I am one to ask you to "do it again." I like silliness. It makes me laugh. And laughter is worth repeating.

When was the last time you relished the silly things life has to offer? If you can't recall, it's time to look for the silly in life. It's time to start focusing on that which makes you laugh or smile. If you feel like you've lost your sense of humor because you're just too busy to kid around right now, I have a few words of advice: Busy schmizzy.

That's right. Schmizzy. So what if it's not a word. It pretty much sums up what I think about the word busy. Let there be no such thing as being too busy. "Too busy" to have fun? "Too busy" to relax? "Too busy" to laugh? See how absurd that sounds?

Here's one simple suggestion for what we can do about that:

_What's on your desk? Work, you say? Well, move it aside, just for a second, and grab one of those Post-it pads. Yellow, pink, blue. It doesn't matter. Just grab one. Now, take a pen or pencil (Yes, that's right, no keyboard for this exercise) and draw a doodle. It doesn't matter what it is. Just start drawing. Make sure you fill the entire piece of paper, from corner to corner, edge to edge. Now, pull that Post-it Note from the pad and stick it up on a wall closest to your desk. Make sure you can see it. Do this three more times. You should now have three doodle-filled papers stuck on a wall in front of you. Line them up so that you can see all three. Do you have any star stickers? What?! No star stickers?! If you're not joshing me, then find a different colored pen from the instrument you used to draw your doodles and use that to draw a star on the doodle you think looks the best. Yes, you've just entered your doodles in the B.I.K.E. WITH JACKIE Doodle Contest, and you're the judge. Which doodle is your favorite? Draw or put a star on that one and toss the others away.

Now wasn't that silly? But it was fun, right? I mean, it took your mind off that work you had on your desk. It allowed you to open your thoughts to random ideas. And you played along. It wasn't that difficult to be inspired by silliness. When you get back to work in a second, I'd love to know how that transition went. And when you look up at some point during the day to see your winning doodle, I'd like to know how that makes you feel. Post your comments here.