Since I was a baby, my parents worked for Air Canada and were able to score flights at staff rates for the first 19 years of my life. Both being workaholics, our family holidays were usually short visits to see family around North America. Regardless, they instilled a deep thirst for travel since I was a toddler - my first dream job was to become a pilot.
I was never without gratitude for our time in the sky. But much to my parents' despair, I used my burger-flipping residual income to save up for a solo backpacking trip through Japan and Europe. In May 2015, I sold everything I owned to move to Australia on a 2-year visa.
Every single person on this planet has something that excites them. It just so happens that being the daughter of two airline employees, travel has always been a thrill close to my heart, and motorbikes merely a lifelong fascination. I knew I had to make the leap someday, and I was never known to be patient.
Unfortunately, bringing home a motorbike wasn't very high on my Asian parents' wish list. I actually ended up keeping my bike and gear a secret for almost a year by discreetly getting my riding license and hiding my gear under my bed. Instead of studying for medical school, I taught myself how to change my oil. They really should have disowned me right there but I suppose detaching from your first-born in 21st century Vancouver was highly frowned upon.
By the time my dad actually found out about my little green Kawasaki Ninja 250, I had done so many other rebellious things that it was just the cherry on top. My dad is an inherently cool dude and has always promptly forgiven his daughters' actions (albeit after sighing and locking himself in his bedroom for several hours). Interestingly, he's never called me by my first name for as long as I could remember. I was always "Shorts" because I'm... short.
I had come home one day to find out I accidentally parked the bike too close to our apartment lobby.
Dad: Who's bike is parked outside?
Me: Not sure.
Dad: Is it yours? (by this point he knew but a fibre of him still had wishful thinking)
Dad: I see.
Cue above sigh and lock-click.
Once the cat was out of the bag, it became a full on addiction. I didn't buy new shoes or clothes. I bought bike parts and new gear. I didn't go clubbing. I bought track days. All I wanted to do was get better at riding motorcycles.
Fast forward 8 years later and with 2 more days to go, the feeling right now is similar to before you board a plane. It's that familiar limbo mode where you kind of just want to hop on and go. Traveling and riding is addiction, and I'm about to do both simultaneously. I'm terrified yet excited. But if I weren't afraid, would it be worth it?
Upon reflection, the feeling of accelerating on a motorbike has always paralleled with the feeling of taking flight. Indeed, these are the only two instances in which my soul truly feels free.