Investment

If you’ve followed Val in Real Life over the last few years, you know I gave my recovery from the 2015 crash every ounce of energy and determination I possess. Even though I knew my body would never be the same, I refused to settle for anything less than the best possible outcome of a bad situation. My physicians have …

A Confession from a Friend

With my move to Nevada, I left behind friends I adore in Georgia. So in addition to spending time with Fred and George on my whirlwind visits, I try to pack in as much reconnection time with my tribe as possible. That’s a challenge for an introvert—something you might not realize I am. On my most recent visit, largely consumed …

A Motorcycling Ambassador

As a rider, I believe in continually training. Improving my skills not only increases my confidence and enjoyment of motorcycling, it helps me stay as safe as possible. Our roadways are an unforgiving environment dominated by automobiles. On a daily basis, I share the road with people who do not prioritize safety and responsibility when driving. So I wear gear …

A Walk on the Freeway in Carson City

It’s not every day you get to walk on a brand-new interstate. Pristine pavement. Sharp, fresh striping. Hundreds of bicyclists, roller-skaters, skateboarders, and runners whizzing by you. I had that very opportunity thanks to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). The last three, newly-constructed miles of I-580 in Carson City opened to traffic last week. Before our new freeway extension …

Playing the Odds, Managing the Risks

This week Motorcycle Awareness Month comes to a close here in the U.S. The timing coincides with seasonal riders surging to the roadways after a long winter’s nap. It’s an attempt to mitigate the risks to motorcyclists from drivers who aren’t used to seeing riders on the roads. Obviously this is a subject very dear to me. In previous years I’ve …

Awake: Finding my Inner Thelma

I imagine most of you are familiar with the movie Thelma and Louise and its tale of two women finding their strength through a series of unexpected and escalating ordeals. In one of the most enduring scenes towards the end of the film, Geena Davis’ character, Thelma, says to Louise “I feel awake. Wide awake. I don’t ever remember feeling this awake. You know …

Life After Trauma

val in real life

Today marks an unwelcome anniversary: the second year since my near-fatal motorcycle crash at the hands of a negligent driver. I intended to write this last year on the first anniversary. It turns out I wasn’t ready. I knew at that point I’d be ok, but I still had a lot of processing to do. The trouble with trauma and is that it …

Going Off-Road at the BMW U.S. Rider Academy

I’m a fan of proper training. The value of learning from qualified instructors is not lost on me, particularly when it comes to photography and motorcycling. Unlike photography, proper motorcycle training has implications beyond enjoyment and mastery of the pursuit. Health and safety are at stake when honing your riding skills. That’s why I’ve spent so much time at the Motorcycle …

Bringing Home the Baja Mañana Spirit

baja mañana spirit - val in real life

I recently returned from my first trip to Baja, Mexico. Intent on living my life as well as I can in the moment right now, I rode my motorcycle 1,500-miles south from my home in northern Nevada to the town of Loreto, on the Sea of Cortez. Why travel? The benefits of travel are well known but hard to measure. …

My Forty-Fifth Birthday: Celebrating with Adventure

birthday - val in real lie

I’ve published a birthday post every year since 2011. It’s a reflection of my outgoing year as I consider the new year ahead. In that first birthday post, I confessed to my behind-the-scenes health issue. Little did I know how much worse things would get for me. It’s ok to laugh ironically, I promise. I have at least some sense …