For my thirtieth birthday, I decided that I really wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. I've really wanted to do this since I was sixteen, but it's languished on my list of things I've never gotten to until a few months ago.
After I got back from Russia, (more on that later.) I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundations beginning rider course. If you have any interest in riding, take this class. It came to less than $200, and it really gives good insight into what it's like to ride a motorcycle. They also teach proper control techniques, with an emphasis on street survival skills. (Remember, everyone is out to kill you.)
After (barely) passing the riding test, I decided that it would be fun to explore this new activity more, so I started shopping. I settled on a Honda 599, and never looked back. I've been riding at least 100 miles a week since the end of October. I got my motorcycle license right before my 30th, and got the bike about two weeks later. This thing is so much fun. It's amazing how different it is to ride a motorcycle than it is to drive a car. When I'm in my car now, I feel like I'm riding around in my living room. On the bike, I'm out in the wind, having to respond to every bump, and with a bike that responds to every twitch of my body. It's much more physical, and places more demands on your alertness than driving. Of course, this is why it's so dangerous for someone who's been riding for less than six months. You still have to make a conscious effort to operate the machine, while at the same time, keeping track of every car around you, scanning ahead for stuff in the road, and negotiating curves.
A brief summary of what's happened since last spring: This summer, I went to Russia to work with children in orphanages and foster homes. This was organized through my Church, a NGO that operates in Russia, and a whole lot of other people along the way. The trip was, in a word, fantastic. I met so many amazing people, and saw so much I'll never forget. I'm planning on going back next year.
Since then, things have been pretty good. Work is...something I'll write about later. My friends and family are well, and life is good. I'm feeling a bit restless though. It may be time to move again. I'm shopping around for cities to live in right now, so if you're in one you like, tell me something nice about it.