Dreaming of….

January 16, 2012

I went to wine country yesterday to savor the beauty of the lush landscapes cradling the many vineyards of northern California and its mild climate. I was sitting in the sun with a glass of wine and started to dream about the glaciers in Alaska. It was relaxing and soothing.  I still see the glaciers in my mind like it was just yesterday when I was up north to find peace for myself and I love to read the part in “To Drink the Wild Air” where I can re-live my experiences with pictures and sounds.

Its shape and blue-white color was of incomprehensible size and beauty, and only the privileged bald eagles with their enormous wings were able to land on the remote heights of the peaks, on top of the world between raw ice and the Universe. This mountain of ice seemed to soar endlessly into the air before my eyes, marrying the colors of the white-tipped crystals with the most beautiful and intense marine blue of this mighty sky, and continuing into the distance until it was stopped by the horizon. Each huge slab of ice breaking off the glacier created a rolling, crashing tidal wave that rocked any boat passing the glacier shore even within the safe distance of a quarter mile; and the bigger the piece of falling ice, the bigger the wave. 

It was absolutely stunning to watch nature at work like this. There was no silence in the presence of a glacier. The air was filled with sounds, sounds I had never heard before, quickly turning my initial awe into a deep reverence for nature while I listened to the symphony of the glacier’s orchestra playing its own creation of a masterpiece. Moving ice plates pushing against each other with raw force caused loud crackling noises interlaced with screeches and squeaks. The incredibly loud plop when one of the huge pieces slid gracefully into the water was followed seconds later by an immense echo that reverberated many times within the glacier’s core, the sound bouncing off the rocks on which the glacier had settled with the deafening volume of a thunderstorm. The glacier spoke to me and reflected, in its perfection, the sound of my own thoughts with the echo of many!

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Trillium Motorcycle Tours and Events

October 24, 2011

I am well aware of the fact that I am currently not able to keep my weekly schedule with the blog and I also admit that I am DROWNING – in work!   One person is only able to do so and so much and finally something has to give.

My own little business is picking up because we are looking into the holiday season and this is the first time I’m having to contemplate in how to move forward. It is getting too big for one person to handle. This new situation clearly  presents another roadblock and new challenges for me but hey I already made it that far and things will work out. Nevertheless I am happy and I am still trying to accommodate all my other responsibilities like for example keeping everyone up to date with the progress of the  To Drink the Wild Air project.  I am drinking the Wild Air on a daily basis all right and as unbelievable as it sounds I still was able to contribute with a little Interview to a very special blog.

You can find my short contribution in the Blog tab at Trillium Motorcycle Tours and Events  which contains the Women Rider’s Speak series.

Women Riders Speak is an interview series with female motorcyclists which appears every Monday. Through their stories, they illustrate the trans formative role motorcycling has played in their life. In this interview, Birgit Soyka of San Francisco, CA reflects on how at 51, after a riding gap of sixteen years, she reconnected with her youthful spirit.

When I read the mission statement of this blog it spoke to me immediately. I never looked at it that way because I always felt this oneness with the bikes and it took effort on my part to quit at one point in my life. However, the final statement in the About us tab in the Trillium blog is reflecting my personal journey in precise words and I am hoping that I can share my personal transition and mental transformation with others on this platform. Every transition has its own story, and there is any which way possible to change things in life when there is the willingness to do so. Read on, Trillium’s blog is full with stories well worth to be read.

Since it’s creation in 2003, Trillium’s purpose has been to create an environment which facilitates personal and professional growth through motorcycling. Hundreds of clients have enjoyed fantastic motorcycle experiences throughout the best part of Ontario, made wonderful friends and visited new places – geographically and metaphorically.

While continuing to fulfill its purpose, Trillium’s focus has changed to reflect this perspective-discovering the road to personal and professional leadership and transformation- while still retaining adventure and networking opportunities.


Transition meets the flow of time ( and You Tube)

September 26, 2011

To initiate a transition in midlife is not easy though drastic changes in live are sometimes inevitable. Sometimes changes are involuntarily and sometimes more than voluntary. In my case it was both. If my brain wouldn’t have been burnt out so radically in 2007 maybe I still could have found a tad bit of fun in what I was doing and the willingness and strength to pull myself together to hang in there for another 20 years. Many people never get to this point and therefore there is no need to think about current set ups in life especially when life is more than comfortable.

In my case it was the most drastic development I ever could have imagined and of course it opened the door for me to see myself again the way I always was and the realization that this person somehow got lost. I had to make the decision, no matter how hard or how difficult this transition will be, I had no  choice in the matter, I had to go forward to look for alternatives. I started my journey first in 2007 and then once again for good in 2009. And now ( 2011) I can feel the same awareness of life again I had when I was racing motorcycles, riding along the highways in many travels and perceived the world as a beautiful playground. Now I feel this strong sense of inner peace and happiness.

All of this does not come without a price. I went back to the basics, back to the bare minimum in many things. I fell into a business I love and I spend a lot of time with. I bought an additional business and try to make that work as well. Time is of the essence – but then time never has an end. There is a continuous and endless flow of time. We only feel time in the aging of our physical bodies. Time is also changing our perception of the world or of the people around us and how we fit into the world.

There is one thing which is beautiful on the road of transition. I have met so many new people. I connected with many people I have lost touch with or didn’t remember anymore (but they remembered me), I encountered many helping hands and unconditional support for all my endeavors and I have to say – I could not do all this without you. THANK YOU!

I truly appreciate your compassion.  And so I would like to share a slide show a friend put together just for fun. I really like it and this little song (unfortunately in German) is more than appropriate for the situation. Someday I will translate the lyrics someday. Honestly, I will.

This slide show is the teaser flick to the new To Drink the Wild Air book trailer clip which will air soon. More about that in the next couple of weeks! Just enjoy this little clip in this very moment.

Birgit on Locations 

                                                                   


The Wild Air of the Bay Area

September 19, 2011

The road of transition can be exhausting especially when survival knocks on the door ever day. Courage opens the door and looks into the eyes of survival and pokes on survival’s shoulder with perseverance and hope. This week I catered to survival most of the time but on Sunday I took a day off and  spent the afternoon on a sail boat. It was a beautiful day and even the sun joined us.  Here are some pictures of the Bay with some beautiful views.

Alcatraz, dolphins, playful seals and a  floating purse was on the agenda. The purse was rescued.It is never a good feeling when you see your whole life floating away in the Bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge sucked in by the open ocean….. it was not my purse – don’t carry one these days , have exchanged the purse for a backpack and nail polish and flip flops for boots.  That’s the price of motorcycling , and it is well worth it.


Birgit the Circuit

May 23, 2011

Once an adrenaline junkie, always an adrenaline junkie!

The attentive reader of “To Drink the Wild Air” does know that I have sold my last street bike back in 1995 after I blew up the engine of my Kawasaki KLR 650 and shortly before I moved to Mexico City. There was no need for a bike in Mexico City and I had to concentrate on different things down there as it turned out. Mainly to make sure that my stuff didn’t get stolen left and right.

I never rode a bike ever since again until 2010 when I took a test ride on a Kawasaki KLR 650. Already then I jumped on that bike and rode it like I never took a break. That ride was only a short one on the streets in the city and of course the bike’s characteristics can be compared to a tractor rather than to a slick race bike. Nevertheless it was a bike and I rode it.

Yesterday Sunday May 22 2011 was the day when “Birgit the Circuit” awoke again. I was invited by friends to go on a bike ride, riding a sports bike and we had reserved the whole day.  

My fascination for bikes never had disappeared and there was never any doubt in my mind that I would forget how to ride a bike.  Yesterday morning I sat on this Ducati 888, turned on the engine, threw in first gear and rode. The moment we hit US 1 it was like always. The same feeling, the same control, the instinct, the know-how and the knowledge of  how a bike of this caliber will behave and how much power there is to control. We went fairly fast into the first batch of windy roads in the back country. A slight adjustment to the bike was necessary. When the roads got twisty and fast I rode fluid but not flawless. Mis-shifting , losing power coming out of the turns, breaking too late or too  early going into the turns ( both can lead into scary situations), and the simple adjustment to the bike. The feeling of riding was the same like a long time ago on the race track. The necessary focus, the excitement and the fun. It was great !

On our way home we switched bikes and I rode the Aprilia RSV 100 to the end of our ride. What power house that engine is. The fusion of improved materials, perfect geometry, an incredible power band and acceleration showed me the improvements of 16 years I literally was missing in action in terms of street bike riding and my even longer absence off the race track.

Who says it cannot be done???? Not that I want to get back to the racing scene but I think it would be nice to take some laps on a racetrack again to realize that time is a relative thing. Some people might have lost their instinct for riding a bike over time but in my case it just went into hibernation and now it is back again!!!!!  What I will do with it will be the question.  It will be important to find a healthy balance and combination. To be able to fuse the more settled side of me with the wild side but still live a responsible and “normal” life.


Re-connecting

April 17, 2011

I took the opportunity to participate at the 20th anniversary event at Scuderia West because I wanted to re-connect with my fellow motorcycle riders after having drifted away from that scene for so many years. To be exact the last time I was breathing and living the true biker vibe was in 1995. Right after I blew up the engine of my Kawasaki KLR 650 and shortly before I moved to Mexico City. Ever since life somehow let me drift further away and I finally had lost touch with the biker crowd altogether.

Yesterday I spoke to so many people of all age ranges with different levels of experience or with the burning desire to start either riding a bike or even racing, which reminded me very much of my own humble beginnings when my mind was set on motorcycles and nobody was able to do anything about it. 

With all the information I’ve got yesterday in talking to people I will continue to re-connect even more. There is so much to discover and even though everything has changed in that scene nothing has changed at all. I felt good in this crowd immediately. No words have to be exchanged in order to be understood. In my “old” life I had moved on and have discovered many new exciting things, and now this felt like a homecoming. It was a nice and fuzzy feeling.      

To continue with the journey, my book launch party on May 7 will be another stop where the past fuses with the present and will help to shape the future.


Birds, Modeling, and a book reading…. an interesting day

October 8, 2010

I always was a high level multitasking individual. This is the exact reason why companies love me. Efficiency, speed, and getting a lot of stuff done within one workday are the pre-requisites to be a good employee. I don’t blame them at all. This is also my personal work culture. In my new life, I expect a lot from myself and I deliver. Most of the times I am satisfied with my results at the end of the day when reflecting back the same evening, sitting on my sofa with a glass of wine in my hand, utterly and rightfully exhausted. I definitely had an interesting day this week, when all elements of my “new” daily routine played a role during my productive 10 hours. Here it goes:

7 AM :        jumped out of bed

7.10 AM:   took care of 6 bird cages with 9 birds

  • Changed the newspaper at the bottom of the cage
  • Talking to my guests, playing with them
  • Cleaned out the food and water bowls
  • Preparing a number of fruit and vegetable Cocktails  

 

8.15 AM:  preparing my own breakfast – a power bar and a cup of hot tea

8.20 AM:  administration – checking E-mails, regular mail, starring in disbelief at another bill!  

9.00 AM:  getting ready for the scheduled audition for a print commercial I was invited to.

  • Taking a shower
  • Out of my Bird clothes ( Workout pants, T-shirt and sweater)  into business casual
  • Styling my hair, putting on make- up, jewelry and grabbing my portfolio.
  •  10.30AM:   leaving the house to arrive at the audition in time. Another stop at Starbucks. My first breakfast wasn’t enough

11.15 AM: found the location of the audition. Filled out paperwork, posed for the photo-shoot and left again.

 

 11.45 AM : found four Voicemails on my phone.  My friend Florence from Paris was in town. Took care of the logistics for the evening the same day – took two more bird bookings- returned several  calls from my  office on wheels (my car) .

 12 PM: connected this trip with stopping by at Target. My Vacuum cleaner (22 years old) blew up some time ago. A Bird Hotel without a vacuum cleaner – unheard off – impossible. Bought vacuum cleaner and a microwave (which I never had).

 1.30  PM: Arrived at home again. Changed back into bird care clothing, unpacked the microwave, assembled the vacuum cleaner, and cleaned the house, which was a mess, since the vacuum cleaner was out of order for several weeks.

 5.00 PM:  Exhausted from the house cleaning gig- still with the modeling make up in my face-I went on to do my second run of administration – checking E-mails. Received E-mail from the organizer of our writers group ”interested in reading tonight?” (at our monthly Literature meeting) . I replied with an immediate – YES. No reading material was prepared – checking the manuscript of  “ To Drink the Wild Air” for suitable material to present.

5.30 PM: read the material at home and had a late lunch simultaneously. Took care of some more phone calls.
6.00 PM: changed cloth again,  to go out to the monthly Literature event. Before leaving, I waited for another bird guest to arrive.

6.40 PM: new bird flew in, everything was settled, and I was ready to leave the clean house and happy guests.

7.00 PM:  met up with my friend Florence at the Café Royale in down town San Francisco.

8.00 PM:  the reading went well. It was fun and a good practice run   

9.15 PM: dinner with Florence in an Indonesian Restaurant, catching up   

10.30 PM: took Florence to her hotel and drove home.

10.45PM:  tucked in all my guests – said good night and went to bed myself!  

 Not one day is ever the same.