A page for the ramblings of Zack Sherman, the lead wanderer at Expedition recovery. This blog will include my travelog as well as more concise and targeted written pieces. Reviews and how to's on topics of adventure motorcycle and overland travel will be forthcoming as well.
Coming back to Leon from Portland left me feeling out of
sorts. The weekend had been incredible, but the passionate kissing had broken
past a barrier I had kept in place for many years. While I was a police officer I felt a need to
retain some amount of a moral high ground and thus had stowed away my prior
instances of living in polyamory and being promiscuous. That was naive of me, but it was my reality
nonetheless. While there had been some involvement in open relationships since
me departure from policing, this was my first straying from the very serious
and committed relationship I am in with Cat. In addition, it felt like I had
done wrong by Montserrat as well. Even
though she had been in a relationship when I left, the feelings were clearly
there and I felt like I had committed a large betrayal to Cat and a small one
to Montserrat even though we were not together. One of the first things I did on
returning was to talk to Montserrat about the kissing, the talk with Cat, and
that while I had acted inappropriately Cat and I were going to work on it and
keep working forward.
With my self-destructive history of pushing people away when
they become important to me, I was worried I might be subconsciously doing that
The conversations with Cat continued and were completely
open and honest. I didn’t ask her to
consider polyamory, but she asked me many questions about it and my history
with being in open relationships and multiple partnerships in the past. The conversations frankly scared the hell out
of me. I was having to break down my
thoughts on something that had just been an inherent understanding to me.
Loving more than one person without taking away from another comes naturally to
me, explaining how that works to others certainly doesn’t.
At the same time Montserrat and I were still talking and I
was still feeling more and more for her.
Even the reservations I had made into road blocks were falling
away. While I was gone she had quit smoking
because it was her one trait she felt unhappy with herself about. She and her
boyfriend had stopped seeing each other because she was tired of how he was
acting and treating her and said she realized she could do so much better. All of it just made my head spin.
I felt myself torn between the person I had tried so long to
be, the normal monogamous person, and the person I was seeming to become again.
I wanted to nothing but to do right by Cat and yet my feelings for Montserrat
were growing exponentially. It felt internally like rift was forming and I had
no idea how to stop the divide.
To try and make sense of the days would be useless as they
blended together in a whirlwind of writing blogs, planning the next steps of
the trip, talking many times a day with Cat, and fighting the wave of feelings
welling inside me for Montserrat. I felt
like something was sure to break, and it nearly did. Early in the week I had
fallen asleep lying beside Montserrat after we had watched a movie on the only
TV in the house, in her bedroom. We spent the entire night face to face with
just the tips of our noses touching. I
could feel both of us yearning to kiss and touch each other. By morning we
hadn’t moved at all and the air was electric.
We got up and went about our own tasks but that night had pushed us so
close to the edge that the slightest slip would have been a fall from the
Something did break though, just not the way I had thought
it would. Cat asked me one morning what an open relationship would look like. I
began to explain how mine in the past had worked and how others I knew made
theirs work. Somewhere in the middle she stopped me to correct her
question. She wanted to know how an open
relationship would look between us. I was flabbergasted. Here I was trying
desperately to hold together the two parts of how I had lived my adult life so
that I could maintain normalcy in the healthiest relationship I had ever been
in and she wanted to know what it would look like if we threw other people’s
definition of normal to the wind.
In that question and the conversations that followed I came
to realize something I had known for a long time, normal is just a setting on a
washing machine. Here I was on a solo motorcycle trip across the Americas
because normal life hadn’t really worked for me and I had years of issues to
work through because I had tried to be normal, and I was still worried about
what others would think of my relationship.
It was a proverbial slap to the face. It didn’t matter if others thought
we were “wrong” or “sick”, so long as we were happy with each other, continued
to be totally honest with one another, and were honest with anyone we involved
in our relationship and looked out for their wellbeing and happiness.
There were several more long conversations before Cat
decided that she wanted to try and work on that level. While she was not polyamorous by nature, she
wanted me to figure out just who I was as I healed. I gave the reigns over to her and made sure
that she knew I would not be upset or bothered if she changed her mind and
wanted me to stop exploring my feelings for Montserrat. That final conversation
was while Montserrat was in the shower.
When she got out and I took her in my arms and kissed her it felt very
much right. She was a bit stunned, but
very happy when I told her Cat had told me it was okay.
The rest of that week seemed to fly by and then we were off
and driving to visit Morelia for some derby coaching. Montserrat would do her first highway driving
and I would get to coach with her helping me for the first time. It was a really spectacular practice but I
was so tired I overslept practice the next morning and our hosts felt it too
rude to wake us and just let us sleep. While I needed the sleep, I felt bad for not making the mornings events.
I also decided to stay another week in Leon so I could go
and work the Mexican Champs as an official.
It was two weeks of finding parts of me that I had lost, making plans,
and realizing a little more that what others think of my life is far less
important than what I think of my life.
The next several days that followed Champs were by far the
hardest for me since Zack had left. All I wanted was a really big hug and kiss
and to be held and I couldn’t have it.
We were being so open, so raw, and so honest with each other. This level
of communication and trust and intimacy is something I had never experienced
with anyone in my entire life. And it scared the absolute hell out of me. But it also made me realize how incredible,
amazing, and real this partnership was.
As hard as it was for me to process everything that was
happening and figure out how I felt, I could also see it was incredibly
difficult for Zack. I could tell that he
was fighting with himself, and I wanted so badly to help. So instead of
focusing on me and how I was feeling about everything, I tried my best to
understand. As many couples do when Zack and I first started getting to know
one other, we talked about our past relationship history. I knew that he had
been a bit promiscuous and even involved in poly situations, and while I didn’t
really understand it, I didn’t really have to. It was never something I had
talked about, thought about, or been exposed to, and besides, it was part of
his past so I didn’t really have to. Well now I did.
Zack very patiently answered every single question that I
had and reassured me in every way he could. Never once did he get upset or
frustrated with me, even if I asked the same question multiple times. He made
me feel comfortable enough to speak my feelings openly and honestly, even if
they were selfish or hard to hear. I soon began to realize that this wasn’t
about me or us at all; this was something that he was working through with
himself. And the more we talked, the
more I understood, this is who he is.
This is no different than if he were to share with me that he was gay or bisexual.
I still love him just as much and very much want him to be my partner and continue
building and sharing our lives together. And just as important, he still wanted that
with me. None of that had changed.
After our conversations, I often found myself just sitting
alone in silence, trying to process all we had discussed. I logically
understood everything he was sharing with me. I rationally understand how someone
can love multiple people and yet one love does not take it away from the other.
While I am not a mother, I imagine it is the same type of concept, you love all
of each children and your love for one does not take away from the other. But
emotionally, this was a very hard concept for me to relate to. It brings up
fears of being rejected, unwanted, and not good enough. I had no experience to
fall back on, nothing to tell me that this would turn out okay. But I knew this
was something that Zack needed to work through, and there was kind of no other
way for him to process these emotions and figure out who he was except by
After a few very long, difficult and sleepless nights, I
decided that this was as good of time as ever to give this a shot. Please
believe me when I say I did not come to that decision casually. There was a lot
of thought and considerations that I put into the decision. A lot of doubt,
fear and raw emotion. But if Zack was going to explore this attraction with
Montserrat, I figured it was best to do in a safe environment, with complete
consent and knowledge of ALL parties (his, mine, and hers). We decided on
ground rules and had many “what if” conversations. These were the hardest part
of the conversations for me because I had to really break down and analyze how
I felt about my partner being involved with another woman. And while this was incredibly difficult for me
do and think about, I knew it was the only way this could work-- nothing could
be a surprise. We had to talk about it
all. My brain is not necessarily hardwired for polyamory, but I never once
doubted Zack’s love for me or his commitment to our partnership. I also knew two
very important factors in all of this: 1. That if at any point I felt like this
was something I couldn’t handle and it was becoming an overwhelming issue for
me or us, I could let him know and it would stop and 2. This was going to be an
ongoing discussion. We would continue to talk and share how we were feeling and
continue “checking in”. With that in mind, I put my trust in him and in us.
Processing through this was a really big step for me
personally, and recognizing that was a huge part of my own healing. I think it
takes a very strong, brave, and confident person to think outside of their
preconceived ideas and notions about love and relationships and boundaries to
see there might be another way of thinking. The unknown is scary and full of fear and
doubt and this entire situation was unknown to me. I wasn’t exactly sure what
all would come of this, but I knew that often times our biggest moments of
growth come when we are most afraid and vulnerable.
12/16/16 San Ignacio, Belize. 106.6 kilometers ridden. Woke up and got in a quick bit of relaxing before
it was time to start getting ready to ride. Ed, Aaron, and I would be heading
out to Big Rock Falls and 1000 Foot Falls on the bikes. I got most of the prep
done and found out that Aaron had already eaten breakfast so I walked around to
the bar and restaurant combo we had been drinking at the night before. I got an
omelet with bacon, cheese and veggies and a side of "toast bread".
The toast bread was more like fry bread and was very good. I went back to the hotel and Ed had arrived. We
finished prepping the bikes but Ed and Aaron then want to go for a few things
so we ended up at a smoothie shop where the guys grabbed wraps and I had a
smoothie. Service took the usual forever I have come to expect in Belize but
the smoothie was good. We went and geared up before setting off from the hotel
Tropicool. The ride out was spectacular and full of both
twisty canyon type passes o…
12/17/16 San Ignacio, Bel. 108.5 kilometers ridden. Morning started off with a trip up the street for the cheap breakfast Christine had told me
about, it was a breakfast burrito and a large lime juice for the equivalent of about $2.50 US. The burrito was basic but tasty and the lime juice was a refreshing start to the day. After the beating the rough road gave the little C90, I went on a walkabout with Ed and Aaron to go get
the exhaust on Ninty fixed. It took most of the morning but we ended up getting some clues and finding a
Canadian welder who had emigrated to Belize. He did a great job TIG welding the exhaust and it came out looking better than new.
We managed to get a little twisted up on the route before walking across the low wooden bridge that had carried us into town. Along the way we wandered through a market with
lots of hand crafts and cheap Chinese products. I could tell I was in a more tourist oriented town than most I had stayed in so far. I wasn't interested in an…
12/18/16 San Ignacio, Belize to
Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala. 19.6 kilometers ridden. I started out slowly
getting ready before taking a final shower in the small bathroom by my room.
The ability to get the water temperature to something other than arctic blast
or surface of the sun seems to be getting worse each day. We went out for
breakfast at a place called pops. It was the most western place I had been too
in weeks. It had vinyl diner booths in a deep red color that would be at home in any greasy spoon in the US. I ate a bacon and cheese omelet with pancakes but paid more for it
than I would have at a less Americanized place. We went back to our
hotel and Aaron, Ed, and I sat around exchanging digital files of our photos
and videos so we each had copies of everyone’s media from Belize. It took a
long time so as each of us finished we set off separately to be ready to leave.
I was the last one out at past 12:30 but when I got up to Ed's hostel he and
Aaron were both still there. W…