After writing over 170,000 words, I decided it was time to let someone else write a few for me. In this post, my father shares his thoughts on my trip, travel in general, safety in Latin America and lots of other topics.
I (this is still Brett) initially encouraged my parents to share their thoughts back when we were together in Monterrey, Mexico. That was almost two months ago! I really appreciate what my Dad has written here. He’s really a great communicator. Take it away, Daddy-O:
Our son, Brett, has encouraged me as su Padre (Papa) to share some thoughts that his mother and I have about this epic trip of his. He says he often is asked, “What do your parents think of you taking this trip?” From the start we had no issue with his motorcycle transportation and camping his way through the U. S. and Canada. His mom and I have enjoyed travel adventures as well.
I had taken a “crazy” trip the summer before my senior year in college to Seattle and back to central Washington to live in a migrant camp, work in the fields, start a small library at the camp and stump for migrants’ rights in the nearby town of Othello. Transportation for me was a used Honda CB 160cc motorcycle. The summer before that (1966) I spent in inner city Chicago on a YMCA sponsored mission and walked in open housing marches when Martin Luther King Jr. came up to lead peaceful protests in the “windy city”.
In 1972 with my wife, Betty, we drove and camped through Europe for a summer, and visited relatives in Sweden and behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. Six years later we went back to Europe with Betty’s parents using a pop-up camper trailer for most of the trip. Oldest son, Grant, and I camped and visited the relatives in Sweden and Czech Republic in 2001, and Betty, Brett, Elise and I spent two months tenting and relative visiting again through Europe in 2011. We’re convinced of the value of travel for broadening the mind by experiencing different cultures, history, and the beauty of creation elsewhere. It’s also been fun to see how cheaply it can be done. So Brett’s trip is like what he’s seen in us but on steroids!
Unfortunately, having heard of the dangers others have had travelling south of the border we were less than thrilled about this section of his trip! However, Brett’s meticulous planning regarding precautions have eased our minds. His “Spot” location device with ten minute updates to our phone of his exact location is technological genius. He purchased a medical plan that will fly him back to a state-side hospital in a medical emergency. He has also studied Spanish on his own the last two years to better understand what’s going on around him. All of the above have given us sighing relief.
Now from having been in Mexico for five days over Christmas we are even more excited for him. We followed him in our Durango to Monterrey about three hours south of Laredo, Texas, to help maneuver the “Forty-one steps in the border crossing” and to ease our minds over what we’d heard about possible problems that can occur nearer the border. Except for the language barrier, which Brett is continuing to learn well how to cross, we enjoyed the warmth of both the weather and culture with walkways filled with young families enjoying themselves. Inexpensive quality lodging and great food were bonuses.
Did we feel safe? Yes, it was no different than in a U.S. city. Street merchants with spreads of their wares everywhere let us know that if theft were a problem there would be a need for more security. Even though police presence is comfortably close it’s not oppressively tight. We saw no indications of drug problems and not even signs of marijuana for sale as we’d seen occasionally in Canada.
But more importantly than anything else is the grounding that our faith gives us. One of the benefits of getting older is seeing God’s faithfulness and care in many of life’s difficult situations. We have a history with Him and know we can trust Him. Betty’s favorite verses are from Philippians 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. present your requests to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Randel’s favorite passage defines God’s will: I Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Be joyful (Brett’s license plate) always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” So we pray a great deal, give thanks for the joy Brett has and continues to bring us, and enjoy his pictures and tales of his travels!
I’d say I’ve gone from a minus ten on this portion of his trip to a plus twenty on level of acceptance/excitement for him. And Betty continues to study maps and travel materials to help Brett in planning his trip. As any of you who are following him know, the entertainment value alone from his blogs is always much anticipated.
Thank you all for your interest in, and for some of you, your generous hospitality given to our son on this epic journey.
Appreciatively, Brett’s dad, Randel
Realtime update: Ahhh…that was nice. Thanks for giving me a break, Dad. I’m a little behind since I’ve been working furiously on my method for getting Annie and I into South America. I decided to share a shipping container with some other travelers and left Annie at the docks in Colon, Panama this afternoon. Her boat will depart on Saturday and my plane will leave on Sunday. Both of us are heading for Cartagena, Colombia, to hopefully have a seamless reunion on Monday. I’ll still be in Panama City until then, sans transportation. I should get a lot of work done!