I just got back from 550 miles on the back of a Harley. And although I'm sure the bones in my backend might have worn through the butt of my jeans, it was well worth every minute. And for more reasons than I would have expected.
Hubster requested a couple days off work and showed up here with his brother's Harley. (Hubster's bike isn't quite built for a lengthy ride.) He said, "I'm off work for two days. Grandma and Grandpa volunteered to keep the boys. Wanna go somewhere?"
So we did.
Wait. Back up. I forgot to mention I haven't been on the back of a bike since I was 12. That was 18 years ago.
Its also worth mentioning a year ago, if Hubster would have shown up and tried to take me somewhere without a month's worth of planning taking place, I would have flat out refused. Without knowing exactly what route we were taking, where we were stopping, what we were eating, where we were staying, I wouldn't have been able to breathe.
Things are different now.
So we hopped on the bike (with very minimal things packed in the side compartments), the boys waved us off, giggling and cheering that MamaTea was a "Hot Motorcycle Mama"
(direct quote from the boys, by the way), and we sped off. We had a map. Our only plan was that we didn't really have a plan. We were going to enjoy the countryside and each other's company. Stop when we wanted to stop, for as long or as little as we wanted to. Look at what we wanted to look at. Eat where we wanted to eat. Stay wherever we wanted to stay.
It was kind of foriegn to me, as far as traveling goes. Its the first trip I've ever been on that was so unplanned. And yet it was total bliss. Really quite freeing. Totally relaxing.
It didn't take me long...somewhere around Stillwater, I think, when I started to realize that this motorcycle trip was much like unschooling.
1. The motorcycle trip was so much about something my husband and I wanted to do. Something we needed to do, for whatever reason. Something we believed would bring us closer together, to reconnect in a life/living situation that can sometimes be hard to connect in. (For those who are new to this blog, we share a home with my parents, and my husband spends his work week away from us, only coming home on his days off.)This time together was just about us being together and exploring whatever came along.
Unschooling is the same thing. Something the family enjoys because we want to do it. We feel like we need to do it, for whatever reason. We believe it will keep us close together in a life/living situation that might otherwise be really stressful. Its about us being together...and being free to explore and experience all the awesome things that come our way.
2. The motorcycle trip was really more about the journey than it was about the destination. We didn't really know where would would end up. We just rode. We watched. We smiled. We stopped. We hung out. We saw parts of the state I didn't even know existed. And where we ended up staying overnight wasn't even in Minnesota. It was awesome.
In unschooling, we have to focus on the journey, not the destination. How can we even know what the destination is? Can we really know where we're going to end up? There is something peaceful and yet so energizing about welcoming the adventure that is wrapped up in a day, instead of worrying about what the whole purpose of the day was.
3. The really cool thing about being on the motorcycle is that everything is right there. You could reach right out and touch it if you wanted. The wind is right in your face. The smell of the lake or the farm or the woods or the dirt is right there. You are smack dab in the middle of life exactly as it is happening...instead of seeing from the other side of a car window, within the safety and comfort of the climate controlled interior.
Unschooling...well, that's the beauty of it. You're free to be smack dab in the middle of life exactly as it is happening. Everything is real, because you are in it. Your senses soak it up because its all around you. Its not a picture in a book. Its not some far off hard to grasp concept. What you want to know is right there. You can reach out and touch it. That's the best part.
So, regardless of the fact I need to sit on an ice pack to soothe my poor back side, I had an awesome time. Then again, maybe that's another parallel between the two: Motorcycle riding, if done with zest and an unwillingness to give up, can leave you with (seemingly permanent) marks (bruises). I'm sure, in some way, unschooling and learning through life will do the exact same thing. But just like the marks from the motorcycle ride, it will be well worth it.