Papa’s Perspective

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!

Author: BA


10 thoughts on “Papa’s Perspective”

  1. Well said! We are so thankful for the love of travel you’ve instilled in us! And more importantly, the value of trusting The One who is in control when any of our adventures feel out of control 🙂 Love you!! – B&E


  2. To Randel, Brett’s Padre. We are two of the fortunate ones who met Brett on his travels and had two delightful days with him as he took a break. I wanted to thank you for sharing your incredible son with so many of us. It has been a joy to follow his travels and now, we know where he got his wanderlust. He is a blessed man to have such delightful parents. We’ll be watching until he is home again. Susan and Jim Little


  3. Brett. I feel like such a dad as I follow you. When I don’t here from you I start worrying then praying. When the tracker doesn’t move… more prayer. I have been enjoying your travels since September and look forward to every new post. Trusting you to God… and that’s a great place to be. Tom


  4. Good job on the substitute (or surrogate?) writing sir. Even better on the job of raising young Brett in an exemplary manner and giving him an example of being a man of faith. He’s had the same advantage I had growing up; a family with a love of adventure and a love of God. From the conversations I’ve had with Brett, it appears we come from very similar families. My parents live 1602 miles from me, yet we speak almost daily and my Dad tracks my location with my SPOT tracker on all of my trips. God bless you all and we’ll continue to pray for safe travels and wonderful memories for our intrepid traveler.


  5. I really enjoyed Pappa’s post. After hosting Brett a few days in Michigan (between Cadillac and Kalamzoo) it is evident that nurture, nature, and our Father influenced the fine young man he has turned out to be. Part of my prayers along his journey have been that you two and all his family have peace of heart and mind.


  6. Hey Bro,
    Extremely concise and thoughtful blog entry sharing yours and Betty’s (and all of us Brett Blog Readers’) concerns, conclusions, and support. Very businesslike, open, and emotional, as we know you can be. You also avoided the quips, double meanings, and inside jokes that Andersons are famous (?) for and that gave your narrative a great deal of well thought out seriousness and purpose. As your many parishioners did after your eloquent sermons, we give you a hearty, “AMEN”.


  7. Brett, great to read your dad’s report from the home front. As one of the Brett Blog Readers (thanks for giving us a name, Lyman!), I’m enjoying getting to know you through your words and photos. Randel and Betty I’ve known since they were “big kids” and I was a little kid growing up in Wausa. It’s been fun getting to see them as parents through your blog.

    Randel, you and Betty are awesome. Your faith and your own sense of adventure are at work right along with Brett’s. I have some firsthand experience of the power of parental enthusiasm. My mom and dad were my biggest supporters the year I took off for South Africa – and in 1972 there was no Spot tracker! I marvel now at my parents’ acceptance and encouragement of all that I undertook. When my own daughters left for Greece, Kenya, Uganda, Australia, Brazil… I had to remind myself, more than once, that faith and love carry on.

    Love all you Andersons! Brett, enjoy your time in Panama.


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