Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? It might well be because what I'm about to tell you feels utterly unreal.
I have just been accepted on to a race team as a pilot in a land speed world record attempt at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in August during Speed Week. Yep. Me. Who only took up proper biking two years ago after becoming a grandmother. Who was afraid to go over 50mph on the motorway. Who nearly gave up in the pouring rain in Germany. How absurdly fantastical is that? Just like Burt Munro, immortalised in The World's Fastest Indian, whose land speed record still stands today, no-one would have believed two years ago the turn of events that would take me, of all people, to Bonneville with the big boys of racing. Yet, here I am and, as much as anything else can be real, this is my reality.
The ride is a beauty. A red-lipstick coloured, partially streamlined, 1000cc LPG powered bike (only LPG racer in the world), built by the great Dino Romano, one of Italy's foremost bike customisers, as part of the Eyes Open Dream Racing Team. Things like this don't happen to ordinary people like me, do they? It seems they do. How did this happen? Did I trip and fall into a vat of dream fluid?
You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime. - Burt Munroe
One Year On
But I can't take the credit. It's thanks to others I'm here. People who lifted me up when I was facing the tarmac. People who encouraged me to do more. People who helped without a second thought, when there was nothing in it for them. So many things have happened that have been totally unexpected since I became The Existential Biker one year ago this week. Adventures, many. Opportunities, seized. I now write for Overland magazine. I'll be presenting at HUBB. I'll be touring with amazing people. All through this time I've tried to live according to my values, which I spent some decent amount of time figuring out. Experience, Adventure, Openness and Giving I discovered were critical to fold into my life.
So I gave. I gave as much as I could, I got involved in doing things for local and international charities. And you know what? They all gave back, much, much more than I ever could have dreamed. In fact, the Eyes Open Dream Team is an apt name, because my new life came to me in a dream. I dreamt up 'The Existential Biker" exactly a year before being giving this offer for the ride of my life. I mean that literally. All the amazing things that have happened to me have happened because I made helping others a priority. That's something everyone can do and it really, really fulfills and enriches your life.
Live free and choose
Existentialism emphasises individual existence, freedom and choice. When you have a choice, you are free to be who you must be. Make time to recognise what brings joy to your belly, then go get it. Amazing things happen when you fling open your arms to this wonderful experience called living. Trust me, I'm a biker.
Oh yes, and don't take any of it too seriously :-)
Come to the Horizon's Unlimited event in June 2019 where I'll be giving my first presentation on what living an Existential life has really given back to me.
... all the amazing things that have happened to me have happened because I made helping others a priority. - Louisa