Spirit Traffic recounts how, at the age of 50, the author learned to ride a motorcycle, overcame the terror of navigating her steep dirt driveway in Vermont, and, three days after her son’s college graduation, set off with him and her yoga-teacher husband (his stepdad) on a 10,000-mile two-wheel adventure that took them all into uncharted territory-both as novice riders, and as a family. As if in the saddle of her dual-sport BMW, the reader will experience the good, the bad, and the heartbreak of her journey as a soon-to-be-empty-nester grappling with impermanence, sexuality, hot flashes, high winds, and tailgating tour buses.

Spirit Traffic is at once a colorful travelogue of a bucket-list bikers’ route across America and an unflinching memoir of a middle-aged mom conquering her fears (on and off the bike), unpacking a complicated childhood with an addict father and stoic mother, and ultimately, learning to let go of her only child. (Think Blue Highways meets Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance meets Operating Instructions meets Wild.)

With its first-person accounts of legendary rides such as the Burr Trail, Hell’s Backbone Road, and the Pacific Coast Highway, Spirit Traffic will find a ready audience among bikers. But as a midlife memoir, Spirit Traffic will also resonate for anyone who is navigating the departure of a child, negotiating the dynamic tensions of family, or simply yearning for life’s next adventure.

Audiobook & e-book also available


Listen to Jane’s interviews:
Public Radio with Mitch Wertlieb
Our Defining Moments Podcast 
Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Read Jane’s Postcards from the road at Woman Rider Magazine!

Host or Attend An Event!

Jane traveled throughout the US and Canada during the summer of 2022 reading from Spirit Traffic

She is currently available for Book Club and Salon readings of Spirit Traffic around New England

Jane will drop by (online or in-person) to discuss Spirit Traffic with your club. Contact her to pre-order from her website to get a special Book Club discount.

With a focus on Inspiring Adventure, Jane reads from Spirit Traffic followed by spirited Q&A. Then the fun begins! Guests are invited to share their own stories of adventure (Moth-Style, 5 minutes without notes) on the theme “Adventure as I See It.” She has shared salon readings across North America at bookstores, conferences, libraries, cafes, bike shops, book clubs, and in people’s homes. Her story and those of guests could be the spark that ignites someone’s next great experience.

Do you want to host a book club or salon reading?  Contact Jane to make it happen.

See you on the road.

[tribe_events_list city=”yes” region=”yes”]

12 reviews for spirit traffic - A Mother's Journey of Self-Discovery and Letting Go

  1. Jim Moss

    Your Itinerary Here

    DAY ONE…

    First and foremost, a wonderful read. I have traveled many of the areas that are featured in ‘spirit traffic’. Following along and reading the different perspective of areas and roads I have ridden. I also avoid interstate highways which extends your trip but gives you a much better insight of the United States. C. Jane’s viewpoint and description of their journey are delightful. Her account of the problems that arise from traveling with others was spot on. Thank you Jane for sharing your story.

  2. Sierra Miller

    Though reading Spirit Traffic: a mother’s journey, I read Spirit Traffic: a book of self discovery. I’m sure others could read Spirit Traffic: A Book of Wild Adventure; of Facing Fear; of Overcoming Adversity; of Embracing Relationships; of Connecting to the World Around Us, and so much more. There is truly a necessary message in here for anyone who would like to read it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and as a young woman I was inspired in so many ways throughout my reading. Counting down the days until I can take my first ride.

  3. David Rose

    I loved this book. Jane writes with a raw beauty and honesty that puts you at ease and in the moment. What a terrific escape. I feel like I know all three of you now. Thank you, Jane. I wish you continued joy and health.

  4. Tawny Allen (verified owner)

    Well done, Jane! Enjoyable and educational. I loved reading about your adventures and thoughts. I’ve been an avid reader of Sunday essays – the book is even better.

  5. Steven Goode

    Just finished reading Jane’s book and LOVED it. I have been riding motorcycles for over 50 years and have traveled over 250,000 miles on motorcycles. Jane captured the essence of the ride, the thrill of not knowing what is over the next hill and the spirit of adventure in her book. It also provided a lot of laughs, it is not a “motorcycle book” but a look into what makes us who we are. It is a must read!!

  6. fran kokes

    I am one of those “read’em all” biker book fans. Just an excellent book for any rider. Might be just the perfect book for a new-ish rider looking to expand their horizons. For those of us with a lot of experience, the book brings back so many wonderful memories enhanced thru the eyes of Jane, When the moment comes, my copy will go to my (hopefully) riding granddaughter and her brothers.

  7. Lise (verified owner)

    Love it. it’s like a box of exquisite chocolate and you never know what you are going to get next.  I am savoring each chapter.

  8. Ali Schwartz

    C. Jane Taylor’s super power of putting words together in a way that creates detailed images in your mind is on full display here. I loved this book. You don’t have to be a mother or motorcyclist to enjoy it. I’m not either of those and I only wished I had more pages to turn when it ended. There is adventure, learning, laughs, vulnerability, and love held within the pages. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book.

  9. Denise Shekerjian (verified owner)

    Sassy and wise, tender and triumphant, Jane’s account of coming to terms with her catalog of fears will inspire and delight. You may see yourself in these pages as you ride along, comforted by the knowledge that all you have to do is hang on. She’s in charge and thank goodness for that.

  10. Jeanine Oburchay

    As a fellow yogi and rider, there was so much I could relate to in this book. But practicing yoga or riding a motorcycle is not a prerequisite to relating to Jane’s story. She perfectly captures the universality of the joys, the frustrations and the growth that come from being in relationship with the ones we love.

  11. Seth Steinzor

    Usually graceful, sometimes raucous, often funny, Jane Taylor’s chronicle of her cross-country motorcycle odyssey with her husband and son casts a loving, brave, and keenly observant eye on her family, herself, and the beautiful, tormented country they navigated coast to coast the year after The Kid’s graduation from college. The writing is transparent and vivid. Whether describing Monument Valley or tensions within the Free Rangers Motorcycle Club (as they called themselves), Jane has a poet’s knack for the precisely evocative, startling image. She doesn’t miss much; she’s a person of wisdom, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity; and she carries her great breadth of literary and cultural reference as lightly as, well, a BMW 650 carries a 120 pound woman down the highway. This is a fun read, a page turner, an intimate story that reaches far beyond the merely personal, and a book of depth and beauty to boot.

  12. Ticia Shelton (verified owner)

    I really loved it.. You made me laugh, cry and have heart palpitations in the scary parts!!!

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Taylor has written a page-galloping tale of a family’s motorcycle trek across America. Beneath her family’s turbulent love song to her son, lies her own oscillating terrors and triumphs, as she becomes one with the powerful machine between her thighs… and her sense of joy and loss, offering her only son to the world.  I was riveted to her pages. 

-Bill Schubart, author of Lila & Theron and I Am Baybie

Well, I was going to take my time with it, but it turned out to be a f***ing page turner and I gobbled it down in two days. You should be very happy. What a lovely thing you have made… This is me smiling a great big smile.

– Seth Steinzor, Poet, Author of To Join the Lost and Among the Lost


Reading Spirit Traffic was the most traveling I got to do in 2020…Your work took me so many places I’ve never been…your words made me hungry to hit the open road. I read Spirit Traffic all the way through twice, and the repeat was as enjoyable and engaging as the first. You have something really special here, and it deserves to be shared with a wider audience.

– Ethan Dezotelle, Author, Vermonter, Amateur Human