It's not a stretch to find freedom on a motorcycle. Tons of people do it. Not everyone's all Sons of Anarchy'd out — many are just fans of the road, and that's the crowd I found myself with during my most recent trip to the Morongo Indian Reservation in California last week. I had the opportunity to hop on the back of a hog and wahoo! This is totally something to do before you die.
While I don't recommend Facebooking photos live from the back of said hog like a new media badass, nor filming your shit-eatin' grin while you're doing it (because you might not be as lucky as I was to only almost lose your phone), if you ever get the chance to get on the open road on a bike, DO IT. Especially if that opportunity brings you to sacred Indian land because the untouched beauty is unparalleled. You will never be the same.
Case in point, local author Tamela Rich spent two years on a bike and it changed her life. In fact, she's even written a book about it called Leaning Into Life: Lessons From The Road. She's paired the freedom she found, the lessons she learned along the way from friends who faced cancer, wrote a book about it, and has since traveled the country raising funds for cancer research.
Her quick history as she says it: "In 2010 and 2011, in search of a good cause, I joined a group of Canadian and American motorcyclists raising money for breast cancer research. After two years of hearing stories from people I met on the road, I learned how their brush with cancer had helped survivors re-examine both their priorities and their assumptions about how to live their best lives." Homegirl has been on a helluva ride which I am eternally jealous of.
Since Mayor Foxx declared this week Pink Week as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (ladies, have you done your monthly in-shower exam yet??), it's increasingly important to support locals like Rich as they raise dollars for a great cause that benefits us all.
Rich is doing a book signing Wednesday at the Junior League Warehouse over on Pecan Avenue from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. if you'd like to meet her, too. I promise, she's totally inspiring — just like being on the back of a Harley is! WAHOOOOOO!
Charlotte's got it going on when it comes to tech and startup culture in our fair city. It took me going halfway across the world to M21 in Hong Kong and all the way up to Affinity Lab in Washington, D.C. to realize it, but in hindsight (you know what they say about it), we're rockin' it!
Entrepreneurialism, tech nerdiness, and startup culture is all about community. Somewhat lately this group has been called the "creative class," and the "super-creative core" makes up 12 percent of the workforce. This 12 percent is visible through investor wooing Charlotte-based startups like Rawporter, who just received $300,000 of seed funding in September, startup incubators like Packard Place (view from the roof seen above), tech community based events like BarcampCLT, and a host of ongoing events to get engaged in this scene if you're hip to it.
When I visited D.C. and Hong Kong , when I returned to Charlotte I realized that we really enjoy a level of community comparable to these two tech hubs. I had no idea because I hadn't experienced these communities anywhere but Crown Town. w00t! It's easy to be proud of our city when you look at it this way. Here's a list of tech startup meetup groups in town and below you'll find a nice little list of upcoming tech/startup/innovation-based events to attend, go ahead, dive in!
Also, if you've got your own Charlotte startup and would like to get in front of venture capitalists, don't miss ! SXSW Accellerator 2013 is looking for you and so is SEED 20! Deadlines are coming up quickly so get your pitches in now!
Hate how hopping on a plane removes you from the world? Want to travel but can't afford the time away from emails, phone and the regular business day happenings? Well, rejoice in knowing there's a way to slow down but not fully stop while traveling. Because, really, who can stand being so disconnected and all cramped on a plane when you have so many things to do?
On the very random opportunity to ride Amtrak's Carolinian from Charlotte to D.C. this past weekend, I hopped on the train at the buttcrack of dawn and am simply elated at what I discovered: everything a person needs and wants to keep going while getting out of dodge.
Remember the fog the other morning? Here's what it looked like from the train outside of Kannapolis, which was the highlight of my trip:
The ride is scenic, accompanied by free wifi, power outlets for all, no distractions — unless you want them — and has ubiquitous cell coverage for the entirety of the trip. It begs the question: Why wouldn't you want to take a train?
Flying is the most carbon-intensive form of travel, and since the American Lung Association says Charlotte is the 10th smoggiest city in the nation, taking the train out instead of a plane makes a lot of sense for our community, too. Have a peek at some of the beautiful stops just outside of Charlotte. Unfortunately, I can't promise any orgasms but I can promise you'll get jazzed about riding on the railways.
Charlotte outbound train