You might’ve heard a lot of people asking you to trust your intuition when you ride but not many tell you what the hell intuition is! Well, to me, intuition is the gut feeling you receive as a message to act, or not to act in a certain way. Intuition is when you just know something without being given any explanation, the information is synced into you from somewhere! Everybody has more than 5 senses, some have learned to get familiar with the other senses and some haven’t. Intuition is just another additional sense, one needs to look out for, and look out for frequently in order to slot it into the comfort or ‘easily accessible’ zone.
Ok, so how does one do that? You know those heebie jeebies you get when something’s about to go wrong? Or that feeling when you don’t feel right about something and it’s forcing you to take some sort of an action? Yes, that one! That is the feeling you need to trust regardless of who tells you what! The feeling may not be comforting but once you learn to trust it slowly, being acquainted to it won’t be a problem. Remember- feelings never lie.
When It comes to motorcycling, there are so many kinds of dynamics involved that you need to be at full charge all the time to be able to manage everything at once. Your conscious and subconscious mind do so for you and they work in perfect harmony. Then there are instances when it comes to decision making. It could be any decision on a ride that you’re required to make. The logical mind usually keeps a couple of options before you to choose from and then it may probably suggests the most feasible option to you that seems practical, safe and best in every way. But what if there’s a ‘feeling’ that suggests an alternate decision or choice which may not seem the best but you’re still being pushed to choose it. At that point of time, the onus of choosing the next path is on you. If you follow your intuition, it may save you from something or it may probably want to reveal something to you that is of utmost importance. The gut feeling that your soul emits knows what is best for you and what isn’t and it knows that better than you know it consciously.
A lot of people sometimes mix up thoughts with feelings and end up assuming the random thoughts that pass their minds to be feelings. Well, you could receive signs through thoughts but it is always better to stop and ask yourself as to how you’re exactly feeling. It might not sound like rocket science but in reality, it’s easy to confuse yourself. If you’re in a dilemma then pause for a moment and try tapping into that feeling again. You’ll be reaffirmed.
If you’re not used to this on a daily basis, you might want to try it the next time you choose to head out on your motorcycle and it will gradually grow upon you. A similar situation occurred on my Ladakh expedition. From Drass, I was to ride to Jammu through Srinagar, a high tension area with heavy army presence since the area faces threats from extremists and terrorists. What’s worse? Srinagar is a town known for its stone peltings, curfews and it isn’t that far away from the border between India and Pakistan.
I don’t hurry unnecessarily during motorcycle travel and try my best to not catch up with time. But this time, something kept pushing me to go faster and get out of that area as quickly as possible, even when the roads were in their worst condition. I didn’t know why I was pushing myself to ride faster and nor did I know the reason I wasn’t enjoying the ride anymore. All my focus and energy were just pushing me to ride as quickly as possible. It felt weird because at one point, there was my logical mind asking me to take things easy at certain instances and on the other hand, there was this unknown yet familiar feeling propping up and asking me to gas it like a weasel in a civilised manner.
Just when I entered Srinagar, I mistook another road on the GPS map to be a deviation and headed towards a foresty area which didn’t seem like a National highway. I thought it must’ve been the bypass road until I saw police check posts. The wrong deviation was taking me to the extra sensitive, unpredictable militant infested border region. A cop told me to head in the opposite direction to rejoin the highway and to not stop anywhere else. The feeling withing grew heavier, almost pleading to get me out of that region ASAP. I listened to it without any doubt and by sundown, I reached a hill station called Patnitop just 100 kms before Jammu, an area that was relatively safer and less prone to terrorist attacks. After dinner too, the uncomfortable feeling remained despite bypassing Srinagar. I felt like sleeping soon and waking up soon, so that I could reach Chandigarh sooner. I thought it I was missing home or something and without breaking my head further, I slept early.
The next day morning, I started early, just to see a huge traffic pile- up on the other side of the highway that was being used by vehicles heading towards Srinagar. A lot of unruly drivers parked their vehicles on my side of the road during their futile attempts to get ahead and that caused a traffic jam on my side of the lane as well. Thanks to my ‘uncomfortable feeling’, I weaved through the gaps and managed to reach open roads an hour later. I did sense some trouble, else a traffic movement on the national highway wouldn’t take a bad hit.
Without bothering much, I continued my journey until reaching Jammu city outskirts where I stopped to fuel up. I asked two soldiers out of curiosity as to what had caused the traffic jam. What they told me joined all the dots in my head. I got the answer to the reason behind my ‘uncomfortable feeling. There had been an encounter between the Indian Army and Terrorists in Srinagar the previous day, just an hour after I had bypassed it. The Indian Army called it a very important and furious encounter since they had gunned down the head of a militant group. The scene was turning ugly and I zoomed towards Jammu. I do remember the army jawans calling me a mad man for riding in a highly sensitive area alone.
Fortunately, I crossed Jammu on the same day and reached Chandigarh at night. Through the friends I had made in LEH, I got to know of the troubles tourists faced in Srinagar during the clash. The town was gripped under a curfew, there was violence everywhere, hoteliers demanded huge amounts of money from travellers to keep them inside. Things had turned so ugly that a curfew had been declared for more than 30 days with the national highway being shut down too.
It was probably this reason that my inner gut feeling pushed me to speed up abnormally. If I was still new to trusting my intuition at that moment, I might’ve ignored the message because speeding and rushing through the highways isn’t a safe thing to do and yet, my intuition knew it beforehand that it is better to speed up than get stuck in a place where the day begins with protests and gun fires. If I had chosen to think logically by riding steadily and merrily, who knows what would’ve happened. I feel many receive such warnings but often end up getting stuck in an unfavorable situations because they choose to handle things ‘logically’.
From my experience in not only motorcycling but also through the 24 years of my existence on this planet, logic has only amplified pride and ego but inner feelings on the other hand have eventually brought out inner satisfaction and gratitude.
If you completely depend on your intuition, you could be saved off a lot of things or probably, you may end up in a sticky situation that won’t be as bad as the other logical alternative but it could be an event that teaches you something extremely valuable. It works in the best interest for you for the short and long run.
Even when it comes to choosing a route on a motorcycle tour, choosing the right luggage, choosing a hotel to stay for the night or for that matter even deciding whether to speed up or not, I look out for the feeling I’m receiving and then act accordingly. I’m a self taught rider and have moved up from a Honda Dio to a KTM Duke 390 from the time when chances of me owning a two wheeler were almost nil. I still chose to continue what I liked doing, thereby trusting my intuition and I can surely tell you that it has got me places I never expected.
Intuition does that to a person when it is infused into every aspect of life, especially when life itself is motorcycling!