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assistance” plans that would allow me to make a simple phone call from the road, I wanted to empower myself. I realized that traveling everywhere with my husband made me rely on him for all of those important things. I struggled to even put my bike on its center stand, much less anything else. It occurred to me during those weeks of “mechanic school” that I was already throwing off my bowlines in prepara on to set sail away from my safe harbor. And it felt amazing. I also took into account my personal safety on the road. I read several ar cles on this subject about techniques and items with which to protect yourself. Years ago, I took several courses and earned my concealed carry permit, so I have that protec on on board, but I believe the general consensus on personal safety (at any given me) is situa onal awareness and to trust your gut ins nct. If something feels sketchy or just not right, roll away. It’s never a bad thing to equip yourself with any defense tool or mechanism that suits your comfort level. I worked hard over the weeks to cross off the “to do” items on my list and properly prepare for launch. The night before my departure, it hit me, hard. I was really going to get on my motorcycle the next morning and ride solo. I felt sick. Then, I remembered Mark Twain and his inspiring words, took a deep breath and smiled, knowing a big adventure would greet me at dawn. I caught my trade wind early the next morning and sailed away. I was a “Nervous Nelly” for the fi rst 20 minutes, and then it happened: this beau ful, truly indescribable feeling overtook my soul. It has o en been referred to in motorcycling circles as “freedom.” And let me tell you, sister, it’s a feeling like no other. I quickly realized that day how the journey was my unique masterpiece, and I could shape it and color it any way I wanted. If something looked interes ng, I pulled over and explored. I ate where I wanted and took as much or as li le me at breaks as I desired. I was truly living a dream, exploring and discovering. I rolled in to my best friend’s driveway with a giant smile and so many stories to tell. At the end of our fun weekend, I enthusias cally mounted my steed with a whole day’s worth of adventures in store. I scribbled all over two states on my way home that day and felt on top of the world. I found my true nirvana, and my life was forever changed. Fast forward to today, and my preferred method of travel is solo. Of course, I s ll enjoy road tripping with my husband and riding with others but, as o en as I’m able, I throw off the bowlines and head out for my dose of nirvana. I now travel for days at a me on my own, o en to gather material for a travel ar cle or just to give my soul the gi of peace. It’s now my mission to inspire others who may be on the fence about solo travel. If you happen to be perched on the fence, I encourage you to dig deep within to fi nd your courage, read the wise words of Mark Twain that inspired me and then sail away, sister! By: Deb Gasque, thefashionistahasanironbu .com 31