FOMO.

FO·MO (ˈfōmō), acronym — “Fear of Missing Out”

noun, informal

Definition: Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.

Used in a regular sentence: “I forgot to check my Facebook and now I’ve got FOMO!”

Used in a sentence if under age 30: “Fgt 2 ck FB. Ttl FOMO!”

I’ve got FOMO and I’ve got it bad.

I didn’t even know what FOMO was until a young friend explained it to me one evening over dinner. He’s the same young man who once called me out for having “First World Problems” when I was complaining about some stuff I owned being a hassle to maintain. I love this guy, and he knows it. He’s got FOMO, too. Big time.

For most of us, FOMO explains why we’re constantly tethered to communication devices. What if I miss an email, text or post that causes me to miss out on something? That’s almost unbearable for some people I know. Maybe even me.

My FOMO tendencies manifest not so much as in what event I might miss. I’m not much of a party person and I have more than once said out loud that my favorite part of a concert is when it’s over. Unfortunately, I tend to say this at the beginning of the actual concert without first looking around to see who’s listening.

No. For me, FOMO is about what sights, sounds and smells I might miss because I didn’t take the time, strike that, MAKE the time to take in these senses along some journey when I had the chance. I want to see it all (even things that can’t be unseen). I want to hear it all (unless it’s a concert) and I want to smell it all (even the bad smells).

Riding a motorbike heightens sight, sound and smell. You’re out there — exposed — and it’s why I love being what the military refers to as “Oscar-Mike” — on-the-move. If I’m not traveling somewhere, I’m scanning whatever room I’m in and looking for, I don’t know, something, with my FOMO tingling. If I’m not scanning the room, I’m dreaming, consciously or unconsciously, of where I’d like go forward towards next. The key is the “forward towards” part. I simply love the road. I love the road because I have FOMO. I can take or leave a lot of destinations, but I don’t want to miss a thing on any journey.

The Northwest Epic Ride (With a Twist) is a perfect example of my FOMO in action. Now it’s over and I’m scanning the room…

Dee and I returned home safe and mostly sound on Saturday, August 15. It’s taken a number of days for me to process the ride and to wring out any remaining FOMO thoughts from this 24-day, 4,674-mile journey. I’m confident that we left nothing unseen, unheard or un-smelled out there. 

And I was ready to leave again the next day. Come to think of it, I just about did. All told, when the month of August concludes in a couple of days, I will have spent only seven nights at home out of the past 40 days. FOMO, for me anyway, at its finest.

In fact, I’m writing this post in Dow City, Iowa, which is Dee’s hometown, and which depends on your definition of a “town.” You know that 70s song by the late, great Sammy John called “Chevy Van?” It has a verse that goes like this, “I put her out in a town that was so small, you could throw a rock from end-to-end.” That’s Dow “City,” Iowa, population 516, which is down from 556 when I first came here in 1984.

We’re visiting my mother-in-law, Estelle, who, aside from being 93 years old, the mother of six and what would be described as “active” on a doctor’s evaluation, is a proud Navy veteran from WWII. She still fits in her uniform. She met my father-in-law, Lavern, when they were both serving and saving the world, along with the rest of the Greatest Generation.

Man, talk about your FOMO!

I’ll conclude this post with a couple of things to consider.

First, people have asked me what I’ve learned on this adventure. It’s hard to boil down 24 days into bullet points, but I came up with two key learnings.

  1. 24 days is probably too long. By the end of the second week I started to forget what I saw, heard and smelled on week one. Writing about it helps. Also, admittedly, I pushed us pretty hard, schedule-wise. For a guy who claims to favor the journey over the destination, I found myself pretty focused on covering a lot of miles each day. That kind of energy comes at a price.
  2. Comfort is king. The BMW R1200GS is possibly the most perfect motorcycle ever made. Adaptable, capable, some would even say beautiful (more would say, “What the hell is that weird looking bike?”). It can go most anywhere — I don’t necessarily recommend that, but it can — and is perfect for long highways and short dirt roads… for a single rider. Riding 2-Up on a GS is another story. For two regular-sized humans like us, the cockpit of the bike is cramped and the seating position is, um, stiff. Yeah that’s it. Anyway, I want Dee to join me on more of these adventures. The best way to make that happen is to ensure a comfortable ride — for the both of us. I have a dual sport bike I can ride offroad with the Smooth Crew, so we’re good there. So next up is to start looking for the right machine to carry two. I’ll let you know what I decide and give you the opportunity to say goodbye to “Baby.”

Second, my friends and followers of this blog are awesome. I love and appreciate your encouragement. Folks like Dave B, Bird, MC Tom, Aunt Donna, Jen and Bob, Ramber, T-Boz(s) and #1 Niece, to name just a few, make staying up late, after a long day’s ride to get it all down in a post, totally worth the effort.  I treasure every comment and every “Like.”

It’s impossible to get everything we’ve seen, heard and smelled on the Northwest Epic Ride (With a Twist) into this blog, but I’ll close out with a few photos and a slideshow.

Parting thought: Whenever Dee and I came around another turn and could see yet another spectacular vista in front of us, we’d simultaneously say, “Wow.” This happened so often that I thought of calling this last post “America, the Wow.” It really is, too. There’s so much to see, hear and smell and I don’t want to miss out on seeing it all. FOMO!

More to come from hankwentthataway… down the road.

Travel safe. And often.

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First stop after Glacier National Park was a visit with my friend and mentor, Joe Phelps, and wife, Bridget, at Rancho Relaxo in Paradise Valley, Montana. As you can see, much nicer digs than the Town House Motel in Eureka.

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Joe took us for a jaunt in his Jeep through the surrounding hills to show us the wild beauty of Paradise Valley, home to my favorite fly-fishing destination, the Yellowstone River. Remote campsites along the valley have signs that made me think, “What exactly is a positive encounter?”

Next stop: Yellowstone!

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Yellowstone National Park Statistic #1: At 308 feet, the highest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park is lower Yellowstone Falls. Yellowstone National Park Statistic #2: The smelliest animal in Yellowstone in August is a bull bison in full rut mode. Even the inside of my helmet didn’t smell this bad. Seriously nasty, even at 75 yards away. They get cranky when chasing chick bisons through the park, so this is as close as we dared get.

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Just another “Wow” moment. When you’re riding on a motorcycle everybody offers to take your photo, because they know you’re cool. Right?

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Here’s a photo of “Old Faithful” at Yellowstone, plus some famous geyser that apparently goes off on a regular basis.

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I have, like, five photos of me taking a photo of Dee taking a photo of me. There’s only so much natural beauty my brain can process in a day before I develop behavioral problems and start “acting out.”

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Left: Grand Teton National Park is about one-tenth the size of Yellowstone, but I think it has twice the beauty. Right: Like the view from my office?

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Jackson Hole, Wyoming has a park in the middle of the town where each entry point has an arch made out of elk antlers. It’s somewhere between really cool and really creepy.

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 Even statues hate getting a “Wet Willie.” Yes, I’m misbehaving and acting out in this photo. Again.

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Chillin’ at the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort in Jackson Hole. Why yes, that is, in fact, a 24oz tall boy of PBR in my hand. Thanks for asking.

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Dee had to fly from Jackson Hole to Sacramento for a meeting while I took off for Heber City, Utah. Solo again, this time through the Star Valley in Wyoming (left) and the frickin’ middle of nowhere (right) in Utah. Or Idaho. I don’t remember. I love riding on roads that look like this. It’s where I do some of my best “wondering.”

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Met up with Dee in Heber City, Utah, then started the push south toward home. Salina City, Utah has “Mom’s Cafe,” which may be the best chicken-fried steak anywhere I’ve been. However, I can’t really recommend consuming it for lunch on a hot — like 102 degrees — afternoon in the Panguitch Valley of Utah while riding. Nap time.

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Left: Zion National Park. Possibly one of my favorite photos from the trip; Dee in full FOMO mode. Right: I’ve been to Zion four times in five years, always on a bike. Dee’s been twice. Beauty happens here.

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Left: Quick overnight in Las Vegas included dinner with old friends, Tom and Deb, plus we dominated on a craps table. Dee hit a “Hard-8” 11 times that evening. Her dad would be proud. Right: After we got home, the dogs seemed pretty happy to see me

Here’s a link to a slideshow with highlights from the Northwest Epic Ride (With a Twist).

https://youtu.be/owoNJ9lwUng

Music: “Highland Shuffle” by my buddy, Carl Verheyen, off his album “The Road Divides.” Used by permission. Carl is my favorite guitarist in the whole wide world — and my neighbor and friend. It’s like hitting the lottery for an amateur musician like me. Check out Carl here: www.carlverheyen.com

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What’s next? Not sure, but count on my FOMO to make it happen.

6 thoughts on “FOMO.

  1. I never read a blog
    From a guy on a hog
    That I dug real much
    With them photos and such
    But the sights I see
    Through Hank and Dee
    Made me smile each time
    So I wrote this rhyme
    But I’m glad they’re back
    From whence they did roam
    Cuz I’m some kinda hack
    With a pretty lame poem.

    by Carl “Carl” Verheyen

  2. What a wonderful recap of your epic journey–thanks for sharing it with us and we are so glad that you and Dee are home safe!!

  3. The scenic routes were so majestic, and I especially enjoyed all of the warm friendships you displayed through photos of you and Dee. What a trip of a lifetime, and Mark and I feel we went along for the ride, less the bugs, sore muscles, sweat and bad hair days! Love you both and welcome home! Tammy

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