Picture it. It’s okay to admit that you already are.
It was June 2016, Craig, Colorado, in a hotel room bathroom. We had stopped in Craig for the night as we meandered our way through Colorado en route to Montana and Idaho so I could visit my good friend Shelby and Dusty could visit the fine folks at Black Dog Cycle Works.
Here’s some background that landed us in Craig, Colorado this fine day:
I’ve lost count now how many times I’ve been asked how Dusty and I can just “walk away” from everything. Like this illusory “everything” must be the end-all-be-all. Just what is everything? During these conversations (that will most likely occur again), this “walk away” phrase seems to have a negative connotation, like we’re abandoning convention, dogma, or some ambiguous definition of how things are supposed to be. We don’t feel like we’re abandoning anything except societal shackles. Walking away, or whatever you want to call it, is liberating and exhilarating.
One of the biggest elements of walking away is no longer having security – the security of regular income, healthcare benefits, or employer contributions to retirement accounts. How can that possibly be liberating or exhilarating? you might ask. I’m not gonna lie. This was no doubt the scariest element for me. Since 1997, I have been responsible for providing for my three kids – and still am. Especially later, when I became a single mother, the nursing profession fully supported my kids and me. The security that was offered by my jobs over the years helped provide for them and give them a childhood without worry for meals, a warm house, clothes, sports, and the occasional splurge on something they didn’t need. My reasonably modest income sometimes steered me toward thrift store clothes and generic food brands, and I’m sure the kids felt the pains of growing up without some of the excessive things I declined to buy for them through the years. Walking away during those years wouldn’t have been the right move for me, despite my mild non-conformist tendencies. Back then, I may have naively asked someone the same question about walking away and abandoning all that is good and right in the world. Then I met Dusty. The guy whose adventurous spirit fed my adventurous spirit.
Dusty came into my little family’s life in 2009 – boisterous, adventurous spirit, motorcycles, and all. He was a high-level banker, drove a spotless vehicle, boasted an always clean-shaven face, wanted to upgrade all his cabinet fixtures to brushed nickel, dressed in a suit and tie each day…and came home each evening with despair in his eyes. (Admittedly, the suit and tie were kind of a turn-on for awhile, but now his Kuhl pants, flip-flops, and full-face beard are even more appealing.) All should have been good and right for him in the world, right? …Right? He had a business degree from a prestigious college, upper-level title and status in the banking industry, an impressive salary, and the coveted banker’s hours. And he walked away.
For his sake (and all of ours) he walked away. He abandoned all those notions of good and right things to pursue his own passion. In that first year of rebellion, Dusty rode and rode and rode his KTM950. I don’t really remember what else he did that year, but he could finally focus intently on accumulating his 10,000 hours of mastery. Malcolm Gladwell explains how people gain an average of 10,000 hours of practice before reaching expert status. Mastery attainment became evident as he moved bikes through the garage like a dealer, learned all the ins and outs of all of them, and delved into work with companies in the industry.
Before Dusty was West38Moto, he was Dusty Roads MotoVentures (DRMV). He offered similar services as today but DRMV was his business’s original name before the big re-branding to West38Moto in 2017. Dusty has actually been guiding people on motorcycle tours since 2010. Even while he was working for other companies, he spent much of his time simultaneously running DRMV in his spare time while he networked, scouted routes, gained industry insight, and rode. Evenings and weekends were still work time for him, and our Montana/Idaho trip in June 2016 was no different.
Since I can remember, Dusty has talked about the fundamentals of The 4-hour Workweek. I’m positive he has never actually read this book by Tim Ferriss, but he had heard of the concept and started to create his own version of those fundamentals. Empowered by a personal vision to be his own boss and make his own rules, Dusty starting laying down the foundation for his contribution to the adventure riding community – and to himself. It started with doing what he knew, loved, and had become an expert in. Riding and guiding.
So as we settled into our hotel room in Craig after a gorgeous day of riding, I was unpacking my clothes from my Mosko Moto saddlebags and mentally reviewing my brand new BMW 1200GS‘s maiden voyage with me at the helm. Mosko Moto was new to me, and I clearly packed in a way Dusty would now certainly advise against. I blame my decision not to use stuff sacks on my unfamiliarity of the bags. Nevertheless, I haphazardly pulled out my clothes, single item by single item, until I found what I was looking for. My stuff was all over the place, but I was too preoccupied with trying to make it look like I meant to pack that way to actually spend time organizing anything.
The next morning, as I haphazardly re-packed my belongings with just as much care as I had done in preparation for this trip, Dusty stepped into the bathroom. I’d been married to him long enough to know that this was an excellent time to re-pack without looking like the ill-prepared wife of a motorcycle expert because, thankfully, he would be in there for awhile.
But there was no time to waste. My luggage was so new it was still stiff, and I eventually had to relinquish any perceived control I had over making this a competent execution of an act my husband prides himself on. While I struggled, I heard what sounded like a celebratory hoot from behind the bathroom door. Had it been under different circumstances, I would have imagined Dusty giving someone a high-five. Similar behavior is not unheard of from my lively husband, but I remained silent because, well, it’s just weird to talk to someone when they’re pooping. Sometimes, just because I can, I’ll text Dusty when I know he’s in the bathroom. If he can watch YouTube videos (I know this because I can hear through the door) or check emails, he can text with me! What I realized in that instant of his celebration of some unknown accomplishment in the bathroom, though, was that I needed to surrender to the non-pliability of this new luggage in my rush to avoid looking ill-prepared. He would be out soon. Good thing my packing expert husband spent so much time for his bathroom devotional so he didn’t have to witness his wife’s defeat.
Just as I finished elbowing the last item into the bag and stood up cool as a cucumber, Dusty crossed the threshold of the bathroom door, cell phone held high with pride. With a broad smile spanning his face, he threw both fists above his head and cheered, “I just made $3,000 sitting on the toilet!” As many diligent business owners do, Dusty prioritized his customers and made the best use of his time. Why not work while you sit on the toilet? It just so happened that he booked upcoming tours, and his customers were none the wiser.
That celebratory announcement was awesome for three reasons:
1) Yeehaw, he booked some tours! This business is his not only his livelihood, but also his passion. Each customer who comes into Dusty’s life is a blessing and makes an impact on him personally and professionally. Each customer is valued in a unique way. After every single training or tour, Dusty comes home and talks about the people he met and things he learned. This business is so much more to him than money.
2) Tim Ferriss would be proud that Dusty took this big step in his business operations to “walk away” from an office desk and instead work on the toilet. I wonder if Tim would like to use this post to highlight Dusty as a success story for The 4-hour Workweek. I can only imagine headlines for that article!
3) The fact that Dusty just booked tours for DRMV while sitting on the toilet totally overshadowed the fact that I was inept in my packing, and I wouldn’t even have to admit it.