Amazing to think that I’ve been on the road for one week. Later today, I will pull into Ottawa, ON, Canada’s capital. The road here has crossed a variety of terrains. It was straight through the open plains and both hot and cold in the Prairies. Then curving and twisting through northern Ontario around the Great Lakes surround by rocks, bush and water. A bit more open for the last couple of days, with straighter roads, hills, farms and rivers that are wider & lazier than the ones back home. The best part of the journey though is the people – wonderful, caring people.

My favourite moment yesterday occurred leaving Massey, ON. When I came out of the gas station, I noticed the couple in the vehicle next to the bike. The woman smiled and kept looking at me, so I opened a conversation. She mentioned that they had noticed the license plates were from Alberta, so had discussed how the bike had travelled a fair distance. When I came out, they were surprised to learn that the rider was a woman. After sharing my story, I rode off smiling. Most of the people I meet when they learn of my plans to cross Canada from Alberta to New Brunswick on my motorcycle share this same wonder. Somehow it is outside of people’s expectations. I’m empowered to make this choice.

Throughout life, I’ve held a strong belief that women are capable of accomplishing marvellous things with their creativity, resilience and strength. Being born and raised Canadian provides many privileges including education, career choices, and opportunities to fulfill a variety of dreams. Non-traditional thinking enables us to explore options including a cross Canada motorcycle tour. When we step outside of our comfort zone we begin to experience the amazing.

I’ve been asked why the “Unshackled Tour”. My friend and associate, Susan Tam, who help name the ride, shares that to here it means set free, always being able to see that there was more but finally released to attain it (like freed from a fowler’s snare). I love this.

Following are reasons which speak to me about freedom and choices.

  • The additional freedoms that come with maturity
    • Our family is grown and on their own
    • I have a supportive partner, family and friends who honour my dreams and goals
  • Education and experience provide the necessary skills and insights
  • Canada is not in a state of war or tyranny providing the freedom to cross this land in relative safety free from police or military intervention
  • The confidence to get past what others might say or think (it was a long time coming) provides the freedom to take action and
  • The strong desire to see others freed from barriers that prevent them from being or experiencing all they can be

A lesson, I’ve learned/relearned during this trip, is that I things don’t happen overnight. I wouldn’t make it to New Brunswick in one day by motorcycle. By focussing on each day, the road ahead and my destination for that evening, I move closer to my final destination/goal. This lesson transfers well to business and life. A goal is necessary as it motivates us to take action. By breaking the journey into smaller, manageable pieces, we arrive with some incredible experiences, memories and perhaps new friends.

Author and on-line radio producer/host, Catherine Whelan Costen came into my life as part of this journey. Recently she posed a question that I don’t have an answer for but would like to know. The question is, “I wonder if the girls in Malawi would get what you are doing?”

I haven’t travelled to Africa or been with the girls in remote, rural Malawi like Anna has. I know from conversations with individuals from various ethnicities that education, culture and experience cause us to see and interpret the world differently, sometimes drastically so. The need to learn and grow collectively increases as our community and experience becomes increasingly global. I believe the girls and women in Malawi will understand and experience new freedoms when they receive the menses kits from Transformation Textiles. It would be great to enter into a conversation with them to learn if they understand the other benefits of of the Unshackled Tour cross Canada.

The tour continues. In a few hours, I will be visiting Ottawa for the second time in my life. It is a beautiful city with phenomenal heritage resources that I wish every Canadian could/would experience. I will be see it with fresh perspective and a greater appreciation of what Canada and its people are.

Has travel changed your perspective and understanding of things?

What meaning do you find in being unshackled?

Unshackled Tour pictures can be viewed here.



4 Comments to “Unshackled”

  1. Liz Jansen says:


    Congratulations for what you’re doing. It’s truly awesome. You’re touching so many lives, most of whom you’ll never meet – or even know of.

    The couple in the car is a good example. They’re going to be talking about you and what you’re doing for a while. All it takes is a smile to make change 1,000 miles away. : )

    And you’re right. We are truly blessed to live in Canada. May we never take it for granted and always be grateful.



  2. Barbara F. says:

    Just found out about your ride today through Liz Janzen’s newsletter (Trillium Motorcycle Tours & Events: author of Women, Motorcycles and the Road ro Empowerment)
    The Strathmore Standard Unshackled Tour write-up is an excellent article about an amazing you and your purpose for your ride. I have’t seen your itinerary for your rerun trip Marcie, but if you are coming back & passing through the Niagara region of Ontario, I would consider it an honour to ride a bit with you! Maybe a photo and an awareness opportunity for the Unshacked Tour. Would make a call or two to see if possible.
    Though my love of motorcycles began at age 12, it was only a year ago this summer that I got my licence, having bought my bike two months earlier! I will celebrate my “Milestone birthday” next year.
    Thank-you for making a difference….for others, for yourself and in my day today and those ahead. Continued blessings as you ride on!

  3. Anne Munro says:

    Hi Marcy!
    I had the pleasure of meeting you today – the 21st at your lunch stop. Trust you were ready for the downpour that ensued shortly after you left! I was driving blind for a bit heading back west.

    Wanted you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation – I think there’s a Spyder in my future…

    How was the wedding? You might be on your way home by now – hope you had a great time.

    My bit of travel to that part of the province wasn’t as grand as your trip but it represented a real departure for me and left me feeling a great sense of freedom. For me, unshackled meant no one having any calls on my time or place – I could chose to travel where and when, as suited me. This is a luxury I had not experienced before and still feels like a privilege, even a week later.

    Enjoy your travels!


    • Marcy says:

      Anne: Thanks for dropping a note and sharing. I remember our conversation. I encountered a bit of rain (15-20 minutes) a short while after we talked but mostly it rained in front of me. Downpour after I was parked, checked in and unloaded in Ottawa. Grateful.

      Delighted to hear that you are considering a riding a Spyder. I’m sure it would bring an even greater sense of freedom in your travels.