Lieback’s Lounge: Forgetting Goals, Focusing on Appreciation

Lieback BMW S 1000 RR

If it were a normal year, and someone asked about my current goals, I’d say:

  • Sell more like Jordan Belfort (author of Wolf of Wall Street and Way of the Wolf)
  • Invest more like Warren Buffett
  • Ride more like Jonathan Rea

But 2020 was anything but ordinary and has changed the way I view “goals.” Not many people would deny that 2020 was one of the worst years on record.

Due to the pandemic, the normalcy of life for many changed at Johnny Rea speeds. Working from home, homeschooling kids, no movie theaters, closed restaurants, and the list goes on.

Besides these changes, COVID-19 didn’t affect my daily working life so much. I’ve been working from home for years and can supercharge my productivity due to lack of office distractions.

The largest change for me was the abrupt stop of overseas travel. Besides riding and writing about motorcycles, the other big perk of motorcycle journalism is traveling the world, riding in areas that most others can only dream of. From Abu Dhabi to Tenerife to Japan to Tuscany, motorcycle journalists enjoy the world from the best spot possible—the seat of a motorcycle.

Many of these international trips happen over winter, an ideal situation for a rider like me living in the Northeast. These travels get me away from the frigid and snowy conditions, helping to refuel my mind and spirit with motorcycle action in temps well above freezing.

Lieback’s Lounge: Forgetting Goals, Focusing on Appreciation
Testing the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT outside of Málaga, Spain, back in February 2020.

Yes, I can live wherever I want in the world, and many of my friends ask why I don’t live in California or warmer areas out west. As I have said in previous columns, I would get zero work done because I’d continuously be riding. Motorcycles to me are what junk was to William Burroughs.

Winter forces me inside and allows me to super focus on some bigger work, like writing books or building content and SEO strategies for It also forces me to work on motorcycles while it’s snowing outside, something that drives my soul like no other.

Many of my journo friends are cracking due to lack of travel. Most were quiet since March, but the uptick in social-media brooding over lack of travel began in November—exactly when the temps started dropping across the states.

Although nobody knows precisely when the overseas travel will return for motorcycle launches and events, one thing I do know is I’ll appreciate those journeys more. Sometimes, like many other journalists, I experience back-to-back trips where I am riding in the Catskills for a few days, then awake in Seville, Spain, and touring the Suzuki factory in Hamamatsu, Japan.

One can quickly become mentally and physically burnt out. By the end of one six-week stretch last year, the only thing that kept me going was the riding. I became so used to seeing European landscapes that I became numb to the true beauty behind them.

Now, after nine months of zero overseas or even stateside travel, I will appreciate the extended trips more than ever. I will keep the energy high for exploring and discovering new things about the areas I visit—from both a rider and writer’s perspective.

Twenty-twenty may have sucked for many things, but it did force me to refocus more on appreciating things rather than wanting things. I’ve discovered much throughout all the chaos, from who my true friends are to how much writing and riding motorcycles help keep me happy and focused in life.

With that said, writing and riding motorcycles are two disciplines that carry some unsaid realities. Writers spend much time alone within their heads, which can be super harmful to relationships. And motorcycles are dangerous. There is no reason to sugarcoat that fact, although the positives far outweigh the dangers with proper training and clear focus.

These two disciplines have also kept me happily busy during this pandemic, and I’m thankful I have discovered them. And once this pandemic is just another entry with a history book, I know writing and riding will be at the forefront of everything I do in life.

And when I get to go overseas to do both, I’ll appreciate everything else on that journey a heck of a lot more. Onwards to a healthy 2021!