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My name is Brett… yes… Mason.
I have some issues.. Some big… some small… perhaps like the rest of you.
One of them is I like (have) to travel. I have been doing it since I was a small kid as we would drive to see the Grandparents every other year and they tended to move around like they were in the military.
Or we would go on a couple thousand mile trip somewhere. Driving to places like the Rocky Mountains or Mexico or Florida or New England.
Sometimes it was just the family, other times it was a large contingent of Boy Scouts and their families.
We tried to go someplace every summer. And we did it on the cheap.
I remember driving back from Kansas City when I was about 8 with no money and no gas. Driving back, my brother and I scoured (with our parents help) the sides of the highways as we drove looking for pop bottles. They were worth 5 cents (or was it 3 then?) each and we literally paid for gas to get back home by picking up bottles.
So began my indoctrination of the road!
In May of 1976 my friend Larry Rieger and I managed to get the blessing of our parents and our Norman High School Principal (& my boss Ed Haddad that he never let me live down) to let us out of school a couple of weeks early so we could take off on a bicycle trip to the desert southwest.
6 weeks later we had succeeded in riding almost 2700 miles and met many really nice people and saw many sights most 17 year olds could only dream of. Not that a 17 year old would ride their bike even 2 miles these days. It was a different time back then… I guess.
In 1981, Karl (Fast Eddie) Buettner and I thumbed our way, circumnavigating North America. From here to L.A. to Vancouver to Montreal to Key West and back, as well as many points in between. We had nothing but good times on either trip so I never developed of fear of travel or being on my own.
So the “mold was set”.
I “escaped” the nut house in 1983 when I was offered a job in the Caribbean that I just couldn’t turn down. Surely you could understand the call of Pirates, lost treasure, Calypso music and turquoise blue waters surrounding hundreds of small islands is not a decision to take lightly.
As my friend Jim Breece who offered me the job remarked after I immediately accepted without much thought or hesitation…
“WAIT, you need to think about this… it’s a 3rd world country, natives are walking around barefoot, carrying machetes and talking in a way you can’t understand.
To which I replied “I realize this, but if I don’t do it, in 10 years I’ll be kicking myself!”
So I quit college, packed my bags and rode off on my motorcycle to an island culture that has infected me to this day.
Why the motorcycle you ask… well I didn’t have much money and moving to essentially a foreign country, sight unseen, I felt like I needed a little insurance policy (as well as some kind of transport that would work on small bumpy roads) in case all things went further south than I was already going. I could sell the bike for airfare to get home!
More to come...