July 28, 2013

Need Versus Want

Plastic ziplock bags, scissors and 4 tiny bottles of essential oils.

These are the most unusual yet most effective items I brought when we packed to ride our motorcycles around America 90 days ago on our Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia.

The plastic bags seem to come in handy for multiple things almost every day, including keeping my jewelry in order, keeping bottles that leak in the luggage from staining everything, and storing food and leftovers. The scissors get used almost daily as well for trimming my hair, opening our packages cutting a string off a shirt now and then, sewing a button back on my shirt, and cutting my t-shirts in sexy ways. The essential oils cure headaches, add calming fragrance to my hot bath water, help with sinus issues and kill the smell of a "morning bathroom", if you get my drift.

Sometimes it's the little things that bring the comforts of home.

I've also learned what things I don't need. Out of season clothing, high heels, duplicates of most anything and any item that serves only one purpose. If I can't use it for at least three different situations, I don't buy it. If I haven't used something in the last 3 cities, most likely, I'll leave it behind or toss it. Riding a motorcycle for a few weeks really helps a woman gain perspective on the difference between need and want.

Need versus Want. Huge topic. It means something different to everyone I suppose, but for me I've come to some basic realizations. I just don't need much. To survive and earn a living I only need my phone, gear & clothing to protect me from the elements, a laptop, my medicines & glasses, access to my money, and my motorcycle. I don't even need my hubs, even though I do want to be with him. I would be heartbroken to lose him, but truly, I realize now that I don't need him. And this is a perfect example of Need versus Want. 9000 miles is a great many hours of riding to determine such things.

Other things I use are things I only need temporarily, all of which can always be purchased at my next destination. I find thrift stores, consignment shops and ordering online to be great solutions for getting clothing. Being that I tire of the few items I carry quickly, or destroy them with overuse and rough living, replacing items is easy since I use so few at a time. Clothing has really become a consumable, of sorts, for me. Buy it, wear it out, toss it or leave it behind.

I find joy in indulging in small luxuries in the form of consumables as well, such as lovely soaps, specialty chocolates and special blends of tea. I don't mind pampering myself with something that is a little more expensive if it's something I don't have to carry long term. My goal is to be comfortable, meet my needs and carry as little as possible.

I find comfort in the smallest things now; things I didn't appreciate before I left in April. I love the perfect pillow, a fragrant, hot bath, warm, dry socks, riding behind my husband, good, dark, chocolate, working a/c, and a glass of great tasting ice water. I'm really blessed to have access to these simple things and now I can really see that.

90 days, 9000 miles and 12 states has taught me so much. Some of the lessons I've learned are:

  • I'm much tougher than I thought
  • I enjoy being resourceful, creative and solving problems
  • Being comfortable doesn't stretch my limits nor build my strength
  • Pain doesn't last forever
  • Don't pee in bushes with three leaves
  • I can appreciate things without buying them
  • Real friends don't let go
  • America is a big place & we don't all see the world the same way
  • What matters in life is being happy with being still
  • Home is not a place but a state of mind
  • My husband is a very patient, tolerant, nurturing, generous and loving person and I'm incredibly lucky to know him.

While my experiences have taught me much, I can't wait to see what the next 90 days brings. I want nothing more than to be a leaf on the river of life, traveling the road as it opens before me. My hope is at some point I will be free of the desire to push the river and accept life on life's terms. For now, I'm simply content learning because everyday has something to teach me.



  1. I like that you have gotten down to the raw basics of needs vs. wants in the last 90 days.

    It is easy to sit back from the comfort of home and say I don't ned this or I want that, but when it comes right down to it you don't know what you need or want until you are out there that long on two-wheels.

    It sounds as though you have a handle on it. Kudos to you.

  2. Nice perspective on things. It's so easy to confuse needs vs. wants as we go about or daily lives. Generally, we have grown so accustom to getting what we want, when we want it that we begin to think we need everything. The lines between need and want become blurred and we drive ourselves mad trying to obtain things we really don't need. I can't wait to see where the river takes you next. Ride safe and have fun! ~Curt

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  4. Great post. It's a big step to leave behind the wants that seem to become needs.

    If extensive travel teaches you anything, it's that most stuff isn't all that important, and isn't all that special. Sure, some if it is nice to have. A comfy chair is a good thing, if you're sticking around in one spot for a while.

    But at the end of the day, if you've got the basic needs covered and some special human connections... the rest is just fluff. The marketing machine makes it easy to forget that.

  5. The key I think just may be having that "support" close around that tells you that you're NOT nuts. That you are right in your judgements of the world around you. That support that shores up your self image when the self doubts some slithering in...

  6. to quote Steve Martin... "all I really need is this lamp" LOL ~ It's great to figure out what is important in life. It's not things... it's people. Smooches!


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