ILLUSTRATION | GEM COOTE
A great mentor of mine would often say that “control is an illusion”.
As usual, it took me a while (and some unexpected life smack-downs) to appreciate what he meant. The whole idea that we can control what happens to us, keep to a plan, or expect things to go accordingly is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. For a planner who likes to have both her hands firmly grasping the wheel, there’s little comfort to be found in this notion… what does it mean to still go forward in life, setting goals, and having things to look forward to when you know ultimately it could all change course by things outside our control?
My mentor was a master at this. He knew how big plans need small steps (and lots of them) in what can only be described as a dance with fate. Not resisting it nor forcing things to go a certain way, but leaping in, knowing what he wanted whilst simultaneously being open to change, ducking and diving to make the most of every situation. Even in a life of more than six decades and many adventures, I think he was about to master it at the time of his passing.
Is there ever a “right time”? He believed that there is no right time or wrong time, there is just now. All we can really do is build a life of incremental, bold decisions and act on them.
This edition is full of inspiration from women who have looked uncertainty dead in the eye and still taken the leap, trusting themselves to traverse unknown terrain. Our associate editor Kel tells us about her epic solo adventure across the USA on an Indian Scout only months after learning to ride. Kristen looks to the dexterity and skill of Soviet all-women pilots nicknamed the Night Witches and their part in ending World War II - a squadron born of desperation who made history. Jo questions women’s roles in the moto world asking “can we have it all”, and of course we have more beautiful petrolette features to boot.
This theme is largely inspired by Elspeth Beard: a woman who sparked something in generations of women and men, stirring them to ride. She inspired us so much (namely Kel, whose epic girl crush infected all of us and gave her impetus to finally take the adventure she’s been building up to) and allowed IVV access to review her memoir before it hit the press, and we couldn’t help but notice how much you all loved reading about her life’s adventures. It’s so incredibly rewarding when women show us what is possible in a relatable, accessible way that challenges our own perceptions of what can be within our reach.
As we surface more unique stories and anecdotes this edition we hope you too find ways to dance with fate, trusting your own ability to navigate new terrain without trying to control where you’ll end up.
Heleana is a force of nature. The founder of In Venus Veritas and The Petrolette, and a co-founder of Rising Sun Workshop. Heleana shares her love of vintage cars, riding motorcycles, and (not-so-secretly) dreams of flying planes and piloting a riva aquariva (a la Sophia Loren) very fast through the canals of Venice. Supportive and connected, community is her lifeblood, and she is as real as they come.