Saying Good Bye is NEVER Easy…


March 14th 2015 (videos included)

One of my MOST favorite pictures of Sierra

If you LOVE dogs like I love mine then you will understand why I feel compelled to do an entire post about saying good-bye to my best friends.  One of the hardest things over the year has been knowing that life changes comes with many consequences.

Cheryl took this photo

Since I am picking up and moving to the USA it may appear I am deserting my dogs or somehow I let Cruizer my Beagle down when I left for my X Country therapy ride after my separation. Continue reading “Saying Good Bye is NEVER Easy…”

Lost in the Shuffle & My Therapy Bike


March 9th 2015

Peaceful Maryland – 2015 Winter X Country Trip

Time is flying by and at times I feel like it’s all happening to fast yet too slowly.  “It” being my transition from Canada back to the USA.  I feel like I have been speaking about this for a long time but my decision to move really was only confirmed back in November 2014.  Yet, my life changes seem ongoing and at times I have to admit I feel a bit scared and nervous of the so many unknowns. Continue reading “Lost in the Shuffle & My Therapy Bike”

Depression, anxiety and self image… why do we do it to ourselves? ~ Gelände Straßetastic


A dear Virtual friend writes from his heart about a topic not many talk about.  I congratulate George for taking the time and having the courage to share his own personal story and journey.

Please visit George’s blog by clicking the below link….👍

Depression, anxiety and self image… why do we do it to ourselves? ~ Gelände Straßetastic.

I’ll get straight to the point—I’ve been going through a rough patch. In brief, my last remaining grandparent, my maternal grandmother, is quickly reaching the end of her life. Combined with a very busy and stressful time at work at the moment, this has caused me to re-evaluate my own life—doing so has caused depression and anxiety (D&A) to bubble up after so many successfully years of keeping it under the surface. This has caused some apathy and a loss of focus on the things I normally love doing, such as motorbiking and keeping my blog regularly updated.

Many (and I will boldly say the majority of) people suffer D&A to varying degrees. I believe genetics play a part in being prone to D&A, as I can trace it up my family tree on my mum’s side. Because D&A is an ‘invisible’ illness, there is a stigma associated, and I feel the need to share what it’s like, from my perspective, to live with this, in the hopes that it will be of value to someone else. Doing so makes me feel exposed and somewhat vulnerable, but the stigma needs to be broken one person at a time.

In my own words:

  • Depression: When you don’t care about anything.
  • Anxiety: When you care too much about everything.

Like many people, for me these come as an ironic, vicious circle of a package. D&A leaves me conflicted—getting into a rut means I start worrying that I don’t care about anything, escalating into my mind running a million miles an hour. This triggers the fight-or-flight response meaning frequent adrenaline highs (butterflies in the stomach) and preventing wind-down at night which means really shitty sleeps—compounding everything.

My D&A causes me body/self image issues. Those who know me casually or professionally would likely say I am a confident, self-assured person holding my head up high, but in reality I have simply mastered the ability to project this image, or mask, or ‘gloss’. It’s what people expect—they don’t want to know what’s going on under the surface… and rightfully so, they have their own things to deal with.

In my own words:

  • Self image: When you can’t see yourself the way other people see you.
  • Narcissism: Seeking approval from others for your appearance, then hating yourself for doing it, then doing it again, over and over.

I fight with my self image every day. At its best it might be wishing I didn’t have dark circles around my eyes—at worst it’s coming to a realisation that other people love me more than I love myself. At the same time I recognise how stupid and illogical it is to suffer from this ridiculous condition.

Like a lot of people, I post far too many selfies of myself (aka gpoys, headshots etc). There is something oddly comforting about having people on Facebook or Instagram say nice things said about you and it gives a ‘quick fix’ to self image problems. However, it’s like opening Pandora’s box—do it once, and you want to relive the ‘high’ of the experience, so you do it again. My D&A then causes me to worry: “What if the next time no one likes the photo?”

Selfies allow so much control through lighting and angles that they are really an idealised image of one’s self. They give you the ability to present what, in your mind, is the perfect image of yourself—but they are not how other people see you. In essence, they are frauds—everyone knows this. So they don’t actually help improve self image issues in the long run.

Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes, however, does help.

The photos at the end of this post were taken by one of my closest friends Andy, who has little photographic experience. I knew he was taking them but not *when* he was going to start snapping away, so there is an element of candidness—they are not posed. As a photographer, I know when people pose, they are attempting to form themselves into what they believe is their best look—facial expression, posture, angle etc—but this is almost never the case.

These are rare photos I can look at and not pick myself apart so much—I feel like I look a confident and sorted person for once, and I feel good about myself. I believe changing my appearance by growing out my beard to the ‘big’ stage has played a part as well. The picking is still there a little bit, bubbling away just below the surface—my shirt is one or two sizes larger than it should be, my beanie is turned up on one edge, I have sweat marks where my camera bag’s padded strap was pressing my shirt onto my skin (we’d just briskly walked more than 10 miles). Nevertheless, this is a huge step forward for me.

I completely understand that self/body image issues are ‘only in my mind’—yet I can’t stop it. Others may look at the photos and think ‘how could this person have body image issues’, or ‘he looks intimidating, I wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley’, or ‘he looks cuddly’, or ‘what a bruiser’—everyone applies their own preferences, tastes and biases to photos.

But for once, I’m ok with my appearance… ok that my Nordic/Viking genes have made me a barrel-chested, stocky-built person… ok that my Mediterranean genes have given me dark circles around my eyes… ok with the person I’ve become after 40 long years on this earth. And that makes today a good day.

One step at a time. For the minute I’ve moved forward with my self image—next is to move a step forward with my D&A. When my grandmother’s time comes, the funeral will help provide closure to that particular source of D&A. Spring is coming which means trips out to the byways on my bikes—one of my favourite ways of distancing myself from my troubles. Motorbiking requires 100% concentration—no time to dwell on other things.

I think the most effective way to deal with D&A is to believe that you will come through it. This
empowers you to make the changes required to choose to be a happier person. For some people that means changing a job or school, moving to a different city, removing the negativity from their lives. For others it is distracting themselves with activities they enjoy and not allowing themselves to get bored to the point that the D&A resurfaces. Everyone is different and there is no single answer.

Once things get better again—and they will get better—I will be in a good place to make regular blog entries again. Right now I’m taking some much-needed ‘me’ time. Until then, I continue to appreciate all the people who have read and commented on my past entries and hope to welcome you back soon. As always I will be monitoring and replying to comments, and I would be particularly grateful for your thoughts on this entry.

As a final note, thank you to Leslie from Advgrrl for encouraging me to publicly post this entry in the hopes that others may find benefit in reading it.

George
x

Looking Through My Lens…Vancouver & Greater Vancouver Beauty


February 18th 2015

Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Provincial Park, BC

I have a friend from New York visiting me here in BC.  We actually flew back together after my amazing 2015 Winter X Country ride.  Should really rename my last trip to Spring Like Ride. 😉 Anyway, I am back to BC and for this week playing tourist.  Soaking all the beauty my area has with my friend.

panoramic

I brought back sunny and warm weather after leaving New York on February 15th with Continue reading “Looking Through My Lens…Vancouver & Greater Vancouver Beauty”

The LAST 110 Feet, The Break IN – 2015 Winter Trip Day 29


2015 Winter Trip FINAL Track – January 14th – February 11th.

February 12th 2014 – Day 29 my Last Day Riding – short video clips are part of this post and click on the pics for higher resolution

final mileage or 8131 miles

Original Route looked like this which was always just a rough idea

original idea

Continue reading “The LAST 110 Feet, The Break IN – 2015 Winter Trip Day 29”

Amazing Ride Williamsburg to Chestertown, MD – Day 28


30F or .5C raining and cold

February 10th 2015 – Day 28

My track as of Day 28 – Second to last day

I had a great short visit with my best friend from undergrad and her partner.  Ann Marie and Allison are two very genuine people who do amazing things within their own careers.  As always gracious hosts and a place I could call home.  Thanks guys for the hospitality and  welcome.  Continue reading “Amazing Ride Williamsburg to Chestertown, MD – Day 28”

2015 Winter Trip – Williamsburg, Colonial Parkway & Yorktown


February 8th & 9th, 2015 – Day 26th & 27th

P1050287

This will be a quick post as I woke up to freezing temps at my friend’s house in Williamsburg and was reminded once again it’s winter.  Rainy this morning as I pack up for my last 2 days of riding.  Hoping Feb. 11th does prove to be a safe day to finish this ride on Long Island but will have a layover in a small town called Chestertown in Maryland.

P1050275

Doing a live report while on the road does pose a few challenges trying to get things up to date.  For instance, hanging out with old friends and playing catch up with them.  I actually have Continue reading “2015 Winter Trip – Williamsburg, Colonial Parkway & Yorktown”

Day 25 – Virtual Tour of Myrtle Beach


February 7th 2015 – Day 25 – Tourist Day (videos and pics)

The countdown begins…UGH!

I have to admit I really like being a tourist at times.  It was still “cold” for many but I found it perfect as usual.  Around 60F with a light breeze.  I am not really going to say much in this post.  I know I say that all the time but I am tired not only from walking about 10 miles but from dinner at Margaritaville and 2 beers.  Yep only 2.  Continue reading “Day 25 – Virtual Tour of Myrtle Beach”

Day 24 – A New Friend, Myrtle Beach & What a SUNSET


February 6th 2015 – Day 24

Selfie

It was chilly out this morning when I packed up.  I think it was about freezing.  I ended up using my heated liner and gloves all day.  I point this out because it’s the first time I have had to use heat for a while and the first time since my aerial ring was replaced at Baton Rouge BMW.  At this point in the ride I am OK talking about my issues with the EWS code.  No code showed up today at all.  Ran all my accessories as I have in the earlier part of my trip when the code showed its ugly head and would paralyze my bike.

So, one can wonder…was it the $40 part I was told about last fall?  The part I have asked for many times just to make sure while my bike’s diagnostics were being checked everything was done? As I ride up the coast and use more heat time will tell if my EWS is a thing of the past.  I can assure myself now everything has been done to my bike 😉 that could possibly be done to fix this issue.

Jada and her 2012 Triumph Tiger 800

I left Fernandina Beach pretty early in the morning so I could meet Jada.  Jada is an avid Tiger Continue reading “Day 24 – A New Friend, Myrtle Beach & What a SUNSET”

Days off the Bike continued + My First Really Great Birthday


February 2nd, 2015

I felt like I had to get a post together on my 49th birthday.  What’s funny is that my father and I just came to realize I could use his iPad as a hotspot to access WIFI.  They don’t have internet at their home in Florida.  Long story but my folks feel they are not here long enough to have it activated.  In any case, I am using my father’s GB’s but he is OK with that to help me keep the blog going.  Thanks Dad. 😉

According to the news…not like my video I did not see my shadow being a groundhog and that means 6 more weeks of winter.  Got my shadows wrong.

You know you are in Florida when you see streets lined with Palm Trees, a slight warmth to the air at night even though everyone here thinks it’s freezing outside.  I have not been down here since the early 2000’s.  I have not seen my cousins…mainly Sofarelli’s for over a decade or more.  I came here to rest, see my parents and get to hang out with some cousins who also follow my FB/BLOG and my trips.  How cool is it to have your own family want to come along for the ride? Continue reading “Days off the Bike continued + My First Really Great Birthday”

Lay Over – R&R in the Winter Florida Sun


February 1, 2015

Florida sunset

Ahhh…rest time.  After 17 days on the bike and over 9000 KM’s or about 5700 miles later, I thought I needed some R&R off the bike.   I rode on Friday from Bonifay, Florida to the Lakeland area where my parents have a RV/House.  Great place to layover and get some rest.  I have my own room, bathroom, entrance, well…whole house.  My folks stay in their RV lol and do not use their house at all except for laundry.  So, enjoying my rest off the bike, going to see cousins today, Superbowl Sunday, might go for a leisurely ride tomorrow with a friend of my folks and I am keeping an eye on the weather up north. Continue reading “Lay Over – R&R in the Winter Florida Sun”

Baton Rouge BMW & New Orleans Tour


January 28th, 2015 – Day 15 (NEW ORLEANS)-click the pics

BR BMW

I should have really called this trip BMW Dealership Tour.  On a serious note, I did not have to be in New Orleans until 1500 hrs so I thought what the hell, stop by Baton Rouge BMW and see if they can figure out my EWS code.  I sent the dealer an email the night before and Cory, the Service Manager responded promptly and said “sure we can fit you in”.  Got a late start, took my time in the morning and made the HUGE ride of 8 km’s to the dealer from where I was staying. Continue reading “Baton Rouge BMW & New Orleans Tour”

Climate SHOCK and the LA State Trooper


January 27th, 2015 – Day 14 (all pics in all posts can be clicked for larger versions)

He got me

Continue reading “Climate SHOCK and the LA State Trooper”

Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Back to Arkansas!


January 26th 2015 – Day 13

I woke up this morning to a very cool and crisp sunny day.  Compared to yesterday I immediately took a look at that flags and they were still.  I thought nice….no 40-50 MPH winds to contend with for today.  Little video from yesterday’s ride.

All the weather people said so and yep, that was the case.  Smooth sailing all day long and I did manage to get pretty far even with riding the TALIMENA BY-WAY.

Views and more views

This by-way was recommended by a few FB readers and I am so glad I was able to take it.  There is a very LARGE sign, of course I did not take a picture of it that says do not drive this road if there is fog, ice or snow.  There is no road maintenance.  No worries about that today at all.  It was sunny, dry and my riding temperatures today ranged from 0 C (30F) – 18 C (66F). Continue reading “Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Back to Arkansas!”

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