2017 has been an interesting year.
I found myself in the United Kingdom, got a job, went to the Isle of Man TT, watched the Silverstone MotoGP, and gave up on automobiles. The only driving I did was a 600 km trip of Scotland, and the only biking I did was the 2000 odd kilometers on my cycle.
To some, it might look strange that the owner of RiderZone decided to stay away from motorcycles for an entire year. My reason was quite simple, I was never emotionally attached to motorcycles, they were and continue to be just a means to an end, which is travel. Motorcycles are essential to my style of travel in India, everything else is too slow, too costly, or too boring. In the UK, there are better ways to travel, faster, more comfortable, cheaper. It was an easy decision.
A year away from bikes meant a year away from this site. I wrote probably 5 or 6 articles in the entire 2017. My attempt has always been to write from experience, no experience meant no thoughts to share. It was a surprise to me that still in 2017 the site averaged around 1000 views a day, although unfortunately the main reason for the traffic continues to be the Bullet article.
I enjoy living different lives, and last year was a major change. Different country, different culture, different job. I listened to a lot of books, improved my physical and mental health substantially, added some stability to my life and some zeroes to my account balance.
I visited most galleries and museums in London, explored the canal and river network around Milton Keynes, toured Scotland, saw Wales, and spent an amazing few days in the Lake District.
2018 is here, and I think it’s time for a different life.
I’m planning to get back into the world of IT. It’s hard for me admit, but I miss the structure of the IT life, I miss the routine, and I miss logic, that’s the base for the entire industry. It’s not going to be easy, it’s been 3 years since I quit, and in those 3 years I’ve done 3 different things. I do not have a career anymore, and that’s something most companies seem to dislike, but as always, we’ll do what we can.
I’m taking a course in Machine Learning. It’s a fascinating field, and I am happy to announce that for the first time in my life I’m getting to use calculus, algebra, and matrices. It always bugged me that our education system thought it was better to teach me about Fourier Analysis, rather than teaching me how to swim. It makes me slightly happier to know that all those years I struggled with mathematics are finally doing some good.
I also plan to get a driving license in the UK, at least try to get one. I cannot drive motorcycles on my Indian license, although even if I do get a UK one, things won’t be straightforward. I’m still researching into this, but it looks like I would be restricted to 125cc bikes for the first 1 year. I don’t really mind, I’ve already decided to pick up a used Aprilia RS 125 2-stroke. It’s most likely going to be a bad idea, but isn’t that what we live for?
I don’t know what I’ll do once I have a bike, this place is cold as balls, riding a motorcycle on most days is like sliding butt-naked on a slab of ice. The biggest reason why I’d still like to do it is because it just feels sad to not do it, to not ride in a place with such splendid roads, road sense, and views. Also, I want to understand the licensing system of this country. I may end up getting a car at some point as well, but that’s just the worst case scenario.
If I get a bike, this site will live as well. Assuming I will have a job, this might be a good time to get back to writing. There would be no pressure, no fear of failure, no restrictions. Just like old times.
What is not like old times though is me. It’s difficult to measure, but I think I have changed a lot over the last year. I have read so much philosophy, interacted with people so different from me, and experienced places so distant from home, that this was bound to happen.
I have also become a huge fan of Star Trek during the last few months. I have no idea why, but until a few months ago I had only seen the movies, never the TV series. I do not know why I ended up being so dumb, but things are better now. I’m watching it in a rather odd fashion though, I’ve just finished Voyager, and now it’s time for Enterprise. Everyone tells me that The Original Series and The Next Generation are far better than Voyager, but I find that hard to believe.
As stupid as it may sound, I am trying really hard to become a Vulcan. I have always hated emotion, have always loved logic, so the infatuation was inevitable. I would like to think that my writing till now has already been logical, without any sentimental baggage, but if it wasn’t, it is going to be.
The biggest reason I would like to write again is because I enjoy it, I enjoy the feeling of being able to express my thoughts into words. We take it for granted, all of us, but that’s what art is in essence. Painters express their thoughts on a canvas, singers with their voice, writers do it with words. It’s not the most abstract way of doing things, but that’s exactly the way I like it.
I am also going to take a course in creative writing. I am self-taught, I never had an editor to tell me what not to do, no boss to shout at me for making a mistake. I have always written on my own site, which means that I never had to follow any rules. As much as I like myself, almost to the point of being a borderline narcissist, I am aware of the fact that I need to improve. What direction that improvement might go into is a mystery.
Things have a way of not going the way you want them to, and it’s quite possible all my plans will go to shit, but that’s OK.
The only thing I really care about is that I do not want to live in India anymore. I need to see the world, and not just as a tourist, but to actually live at a place. That’s kind of like the slowest way to travel that there is, go somewhere, get a house, a job, become a part of that world, and see it from the inside for years. That’s how I would like to do it, and that’s how I am.
It’s a good time to be alive.