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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig has been a captivating read thus far.  A well told novel juxtaposing philosophy and mechanical work done on a bike.  These thoughts laid out over the beautiful terrain of the American West.

Here's a quote that I found relevant to my recent pursuits:

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.

I'm not sure I will be able to rightfully visit a country by way of any alternative modes of transportation.  With a motorcycle, I don't just feel as though I am seeing Vietnam with unobstructed vision.  I feel as though I have become a part of Vietnam.  I am no more and no less than every other citizen I share the road with.  I am fortunate to have learned this course of movement and the advantages it provides at such a young age, as I foresee it playing an immense role in my future travels.