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Nicole Espinosa

Soaring on Two Wheels: A Healing Odyssey

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016 RIDING Comments Off on Soaring on Two Wheels: A Healing Odyssey

The desert fills my soul


Sometimes it takes getting hit over the head in a big way before we listen to that little voice. In my case, it took a big bat to get me moving out the door and onto my new path, and because I didn’t see it coming, it turned my whole world upside down.

Squeezed out of the house financially, it was a whirlwind of emotion as I was stripped of my role as full time mother and all material possessions. Responsibility shifted as I found myself taking flight on my motorcycle with tent and sleeping bag strapped to the back and freedom as the wind beneath my wings. It was time to shed the old life to make way for the new.

After making sure the kids were settled into their new routine with their dad in a nice condo in Huntington Beach, I was able to answer the call of my next destination…Joshua Tree. Why was the pull to this mystical place so strong? The complex layers of reasons would slowly reveal themselves to me over the next four months. All I had to do was let go and listen.

Immediately, the road magic kicked in, with daily synchronicities bringing beautiful souls into my path. My vulnerability on my motorcycle and love of people made me very approachable, and lengthy conversations in gas stations, restaurants and national parks ensued. My path is to spread my light and lift others. Particularly now, I’m supposed to help other people like me get unstuck after being frozen by the density that has come about in our current time. Some people are just too sensitive to handle this shift and societal change that is coming in strongly these days, and end up becoming cocooned in fear or depression.

I am sensitive to energy as I feel my feet vibrate when I remove my shoes and socks to touch the Earth. This strong pull to commune with nature here in the desert while I camp in Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding areas is something I can’t resist, and haven’t. This lightness and Bohemian lifestyle gives me the ability to breeze into people’s lives who need me to recognize their beauty and boost them up before I move on to the next dear soul. I help these cocoons of theirs melt away to reveal their true purpose of why they are here on this planet and kick-start them into motion.

Once in a while I get a paying client for a Quantum Healing Hypnosis session, which is past life regression, and what I do on the side in addition to writing, blogging and selling aftermarket accessories that I’ve designed for my business Rugged Rider. But most of the time I exchange these sessions for the luxuries of road travel…kitchen, laundry, shower, a place to pitch my tent. These sessions always reveal that our paths have crossed for a particular reason, in that we have known each other from a past life, will in the future, or need to be together now to enhance each other’s light and help with release and healing. A couple of common threads keep appearing in sessions time and time again these days, and these two golden pieces of inner voice advice are community and balance.

Since the first of this year, I’ve gotten the strong message to bring bright and aware people together in a supportive atmosphere. Before I left my home, I would pull together about eight to ten special local clients and practitioners to have pot luck gatherings, and guided meditations on my neighboring mountain that was energized by underground pyramids and crystal caverns. This boosted us in energy and helped forge the confidence that we can make this shift easier with the support of one another.

Now I use any excuse to get new friends and beautiful souls together. I hold group campfires and sky watches, and use friend’s homes to gather us together for beautiful food and story sharing. I also pick up odd physical labor jobs to strengthen my body and the bond between others with a common goal of creating a better tomorrow; like gardening, yardwork and cleaning homes for renovation. I’ve seen strong visions for years now, of tiny home communities centralized around common areas of gardens, cooking and entertainment. This is what I’m helping to build now with others who are ready to take action in creating “contributionism” community where each member of the “tribe” contributes their gift for the well-being of the whole.

A gathering of beautiful souls

The success of such communities depends upon the sharing of knowledge, respect and compassion. I seem to be building such a community here in Joshua Tree with people I’ve stumbled upon in daily living where we’ve felt a mutual familiarity with each other and this group that seems to be forming. One member of this group has psychic abilities, and has seen visions of us as pirates on a ship together in the 1500s. We were searching for treasure back then, and interestingly enough, we’re working together now to dig through our buddy’s old stuff to get his house ready for renovation and are finding treasures of his that are collectables from eras gone by. Like ancient swords, and custom leather crafted holsters. It almost feels like a scene from Mad Max, as we forage through the goodies in this desert hideaway with visions of preparation for some sort of End Times, or something. Needless to say, each of us has a role, and together we are creating a home that will expand into a welcoming community that will be off the grid eventually and sustainable with a garden and private well.

All we need

With this strong sense of community under my wings, I am taking flight to the areas of our world that provide me the most physical, emotional and spiritual healing…Gaia’s energy centers. Joshua Tree, California, has had the loudest calling to me, so I’ve found that this high Mojave desert has provided the strongest messages and soul balm. It is being one with this beautiful being underneath our feet that has given me the most balance. And as we get launched into this next chapter of big change within our society, I find that the birds have given me the strongest message, “Soar above the turbulence, and keep the higher perspective.”


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When Your Ass Catches on Fire

Friday, December 5th, 2014 RIDING Comments Off on When Your Ass Catches on Fire

My ass is saved!


Ever find yourself a player in one of your own insane dramas when you react to an emergency life or death situation as if you were cooly swatting a fly away from your face? Well, this is just what I experienced on the first of my eight day solo ride up the coast from LA to Seattle, Washington, when my ass caught on fire.

There I was in the fast lane, zipping along the boringly straight Interstate 5 Freeway, a mere 100 miles from my brother’s boat home in San Francisco’s harbor. The high-pitched hum of “Jack,” my DRZ, had lulled me into a meditative state where only something out of the ordinary could shake me. And there it was — one of the worst possible moto “Richter Scale” scenarios. My butt felt extremely hot through the motorcycle pants, and as I glanced down behind to the right there were flames shooting from the saddlebag and exhaust! Luckily,  there was a gap between the 18-wheelers in the slow lane, so I zipped over to the shoulder for an emergency stop without the flames climbing my leg.

The next 15 minutes felt as if I were an observer of someone else’s nightmare, as I surreally reacted to the insanity. Thousands of thoughts raced through my head as I tried to smother the fire by beating on it with my glove. To make matters worse, I was quickly using up the oxygen within my helmet with no time to think of opening the visor. Not one person pulled over for me after I waved like a crazy person with flames and smoke shooting from my bike. What was fabulous about this is that I was left to my own devices to save Jack and myself from a fiery fate. It was a good thing I grabbed a piece of tire from the road to try and swat out the fire, because the weight of it ended up knocking the burning bag off the bike.

It was then that I remembered that I was still wearing my CamelBak, which was still 3/4 full and ready to save my ass before the flames hit the tank. So, I poured the contents out and doused the fire before all went up in flames. Finally, a woman pulled over and gave me two extra bottles of water and called 911 for me.

By the time the fire engine arrived, I had already proven that I could meet this big challenge head on and take care of myself. I met them with a huge smile and laugh about how my adventure had started off with a bang. They gave the bag a final dousing, and surgically cut the melted plastic away from the pipe. A peek inside the damaged area revealed that only the electrical tape around the wires had begun to melt, but the wiring seemed intact. They asked if I needed a tow, but I answered, “If this baby starts up, I’m outta here!” And wouldn’t you know it, my amazingly reliable Suzuki DRZ400 kicked over immediately. So, I grabbed an extra set of ROK Straps from my tank bag, lashed the surviving Ortlieb saddle bag to the top of my load, and was off.

My brother, Jonathan, had left work early to greet me at his boat. As he waited for my late arrival, he got on Facebook to pass the time, and discovered the post of my smiling face next to smoking Jack. As I finally pulled up, he ran out to give his only sibling an extra huge hug. There was just one answer to where we’d go to dinner that night, “Let’s get your butt in the water and kayak across the estuary to restaurant row for a well-deserved toast to life!”

And a short while later, there we sat on the outdoor waterfront patio of a fabulous Jack London Square restaurant raising our glasses to “not letting anything get in the way of chasing our dreams and living life to the fullest.”

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Welcome to Cud for the Mind

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 RIDING Comments Off on Welcome to Cud for the Mind

“I do some of my best thinking in my DRZ saddle.  Actually, the bigger thoughts get chewed over and over in my mind in between concentration on the trail. That’s the beauty about dual sporting…the freedom on the bike and the connection with nature gets you out of the mundane thought. So, toss out those cells, cubicle demands and grocery lists and hop on that bike, or at least join me in some dual sport thought chew.”

-Nicole Espinosa is the founder and blogger of Rugged Rider.

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Giving Myself the Gift of Moto Escape

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 RIDING Comments Off on Giving Myself the Gift of Moto Escape

Nicole gives herself the gift of riding.

The last time I rode my DRZ, Jack, was on my soul-filling Oregon adventure ride in October. He’d been in the shop since then just waiting for me to get him out of hawk. Two months away from my bike was synonymous to slow water drip torture. In the meantime, life got in the way. Whisking kids off to school, soccer and playdates forced the excuse to use the cage/car. But for those beautiful, peaceful moments while the kids were at school these past couple of months still had me enclosed in a cage. Little by little, my patience got shorter and daily responsibilities began to weigh on me.

At the time, I didn’t link the lack of my bike to the sole cause of my slipping zen mindset. At least, not until this weekend when I picked Jack up from the shop and brought him home where he belonged. No downpour could keep
me from riding my bike down to the L.A. Motorcycle Show this last Saturday.
And, it wasn’t until I was layered for the weather, mounting the bike and
zipping out of the garage did I realize how very, very much I had missed this
experience that I so need in my life.

I was laughing out loud in my helmet, talking to myself, and
smiling so hard that my cheeks popped out over the tight helmet pads…

“Oh my gosh, this is living!!!”

“Man, have I missed this!”


Now this holiday season as I fill myself with giving to
others, I make sure I take the time to give myself the ultimate gift of
life…time on my bike.

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My Motorcycle is My Home

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 RIDING Comments Off on My Motorcycle is My Home

"You can take my home, but you can't take my bike!"

"You can take my home, but you can't take my bike!"

I can make any place with four walls and a roof my sanctuary to nurture my family and work life. But, it’s my bike that I need for my sanity. That’s my connection to the glorious world of nature and adventure where I become one with my core and the earth. All it takes for me to recharge my batteries is the sight of my bike, Jack B. Nimble, packed for an adventure ride and then…

I know I’m home.

Who cares what this economy has heaped on me. It can’t take away what I hold most dear…my freedom and the ability to instill in my kids a lust for life. It’s that passion for life that really surfaces in me when I’m on my solo rides and pondering some of the deeper questions of existence. Specifically, have I learned some of the biggest lessons of my life? I actually think that my most recent lesson of letting go is my biggest one. Graduation from the schooling of that one seems to be knocking on my door. Not soon enough, or so it seems. But, then again I realize that it’s all playing out the way it is meant to for me to climb to the next level.

When contemplating the “climb” the other day, I had a revelation about how I am going to be successful in both work and daily life. It is going to be through my personal connections with people. It’s funny how I crave that, especially on my solo rides where the interpersonal stories or strangers living their own journeys is what’s most intriguing to me. Here we are thrown together on this Earth in various cultures and communities, and through international adventure rides or everyday interactions we can find that we are all one.

There are commonalities that just can’t tear us apart, no matter what wars are being projected on the news. Have you ever been a rider on one of those adventure rides out in the middle of nowhere and your bike breaks down? Ever needed any help beyond what your tools or mechanical expertise can reach? Isn’t it amazing how a stranger in a foreign land or a fellow ADV rider appears out of nowhere to lend a helping hand? How about the exchange of love and laughter between a rider and children in a third world country? It’s those priceless moments on the road that demonstrate that home is really where the bike goes in the journey of life. So the next time the bank says, “foreclosure”, I’ll answer, “You can take my home, but you just can’t take my bike!”

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