The Journey

Crazy things I do: Quit drinking

My financial woes are an inherent (and endemic) part of this whole motorcycle journey. Lack of money is greatest of my frustrations because it is so difficult to resolve. Unlike other life obstacles, money cannot be cajoled into being.

That’s a view that no doubt reflects a certain amount of arrogance: I have a tendency to feel I can will things into being. With ego and bull-headedness, I feel, I can get my way. I really do believe that most things are achievable if you’re willing to keep banging your head against the wall, and able to keep hold in that concussed mind a focus and desire to eventually break through.

It’s a very American mindset, I suppose, and one I don’t see as often from people here. In Wales – the UK region in which I live – nothing has happened entrepreneurially or culturally since the late 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher shut down coal mines. People here got knocked down; they still have not picked themselves up because they lack self-belief.

I’m digressing from the theme here, but one of the (myriad) reasons I’ve given up on the Welsh-language community is the fact that any new idea is met with a resigned shrug of the shoulders and a comment along the lines of: “Oh, that would be nice but we’re too small/too poor/too oppressed by the English,” or some other weak excuse. The Welsh possess infinite ability to identify their own flaws but no willingness to correct them.
Having lived here 6.5 years, I’ll admit some of that thinking has infected my own. On the whole, however, I still believe you can overcome any challenge if you really put your mind to it. And when I look at the things standing between me and getting on a bike I think: “I can do this. Maybe.”

The “maybe” is because of money. I can go through the licensing process, I can get my wife to warm to the idea of motorcycles, but money – that’s a harder thing. I’m trying, though. And lately I’ve taken to tightening my belt in any way I can. For example, recently I decided I would start taking my bicycle to work. But the most drastic thing I’ve done is quit drinking.

Think about how much money you spend on booze. In my case, I wasn’t a heavy drinker but I was shelling out at least £10 (US $15.84) a week. Add that up over a month and you’ve got enough to pay for bike insurance and a little bit of petrol.

My wife says a motorcycle is a luxury. Maybe. But so, too, is alcohol. And if I’m going to be forced to choose, you can expect to see me at the pub drinking water.