Show Notes for Podcast Episode #13
The Real Indiana Jones, Dr. Bryon Bass

Summary:
Guest Bryon Bass is a true modern day explorer, complete with a PhD in Archaeology and a love for global travel. In this episode, Scott interview Bryon about the role archaeology plays in overlanding, and how travelers can best interact with ancient places. We also chat about Bryon's Sportsmobile, Africa, Croatia, knives, and a long list of other adventure topics.  



How to Follow Bryon:
Instagram @bryonbass
His wine brand @branzinovino

The story of Bryon and Scott's overland adventure in Uganda and Kenya can be read here: 
The Cradle of Adventure

Image of Dr Bass in Uganda


As Travelers, if we find an area of archaeological significance: 
1. Do not move or take items
2. Enjoy the moment and take images, but do not share the location to the public
3. Share your discovery and images with an archaeological team that works in the area 

Ethics of Archaeology: 
http://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/CodesofConduct.pdf

Bryon's Sportsmobile Project
https://expeditionportal.com/the-archaeologists-backpack/


Bryon's Favorite Knives:
Folder made by Gooseworks https://rescoinstruments.com/products/gooseworks-folder

Prometheus Design Werx: https://prometheusdesignwerx.com/
Scout Knife
pdx-scout-knife.jpg
Fixed Blade: Blue Ridge Hunter by Daniel Winkler 
https://winklerknives.com/products/blue-ridge-hunter?variant=7291697332247

County Comm Embasy Pen: (Scott loves this one!)
https://countycomm.com/products/brass-embassy-pen

LuminAID Light:
https://luminaid.com/

Prometheus Design Werx Down Jacket: Tycho Down Hoodie
https://prometheusdesignwerx.com/collections/instock/products/tycho-down-hoodie-universal-field-gray?variant=29554500632662

Image of the Turkana boy with Bryon's Leica
img-0368.jpg


Host Bios: 


Scott Brady
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and include three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @globaloverland

Matthew Scott
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore

 

Guest Bryon Bass is a true modern day explorer, complete with a PhD in Archaeology and a love for global travel. In this episode, Scott interview Bryon about the role archaeology plays in overlanding, and how travelers can best interact with ancient places. We also chat about Bryon's Sportsmobile, Africa, Croatia, knives, and a long list of other adventure topics.  

 

Full Transcript:

Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast, I am your host Scott Brady and my co-host Matt Scott is not with us today because he’s bouncing around somewhere in Africa, I think maybe Nibia right now in Landrovers. Good for him, which means that it is just me and a very good friend of mine, Bryon Bass! Thanks for being on the show Bryon. 

 

Bryon Bass: Glad to be here.

 

Scott Brady: And Bryon, in my mind, is the true Indiana Jones. He is an archeologist, he has a PhD from Edinburgh university. And a story passed and a lot of interesting experiences in his life I think directly translate to our passions for travel and our passions for overlanding. So I think we can learn a lot from Bryon, we have a lot of fun topics to discuss. Everything from knives, to sportsmobile vans, to watches. But he learned a lot in his life from the people he’s been around like his father, who is Army special forces, and tell me a little bit about your dad.

 

Bryon Bass: Well actually even before that he was a wrestler, he joined the 82nd airborne and then re-upped. Back then it was called the 77 special forces group, later on it was called the 7 special forces group. So he was in the military at that capacity and actually went to the 12 special forces reserves, which was down in the Sanpedro area in California. Shortly after that, he transitioned into the movie business and became a professional stuntman.

 

Scott Brady: Which is such a cool story, and Bryon was able to experience a lot of that, and experience it early, this Hollywood stuntman scene. And what came of that, a funny little fact is Bo Derick is actually Bryon’s stepsister. 

 

Bryon Bass: That’s correct, my father’s second wife is Bo’s mother. 

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, it’s amazing. So these little anecdotes that you’re gonna pick up during the podcast, it’s made it such a joy to have Bryon as a friend because we never run out of stuff to talk about. We spent weeks driving around Uganda and Kenya, and never once had a quiet moment in the car, it was always so much to chat about, other than if we were taking in the beautiful view. Tell us a little bit about your early education, what made you choose Edinburgh for your PhD?

 

Bryon Bass: Before that I was at San ego state university and did my undergraduate there in anthropology, and being at anthropology there, I started at San Diego university and there were a series of events that occurred where it was announced by the head of the department that, at that time, if you’re not finishing your masters degree in a certain amount of time then we should think about moving on or transferring to another location. At the time I was almost exclusively focused on coastal marine pre-history. And I was doing some archeology off the coast and a reserve that’s off Lahoya shores. And my supervisor suggested that it would be possibly good for me to explore different avenues around the mediteranien or something similar. Coastal pre-history, and this is when Yugoslavia was still together. And so he had worked in Yugoslavia at the time, and he basically hooked me up with a professor that he had worked with there. And through a series of just kind of happenstances really, I was over there visiting my brother, who at the time was at the Lemon school of Econ, and went to visit some friends who I admit, working in Jordan, stories are starting to go down hill. So they were up at the university of Edinburgh, so I went up there and was explaining to them my woes, “What am I gonna do, I’m not out of grad school yet, do I gotta move on?” And one of them suggested that I could possibly transfer over and just go into a PhD program. They have different parameters in the U.K than we do in the U.S. as far as teaching requirements and teachings along the way. So I borrowed a coat from somebody and interviewed the head of the department at Edinburgh university, and that individual turned out to be my supervisor when I did finally come on there. But I also interviewed *inaudible* and so in the end it was a choice of, it might sound odd but I kind of went with the city I like the best. They all have great departments of archaeology. And nobody was working in ex Yugoslavia. By that time Yugoslavia started to come apart and so along the way I did choose to pursue field work on an island off the coast of Croatia. And that ended up being the focal point of my PhD.

 

Scott Brady: And what were some of the highlights experienced not just as an archeologist but as a traveller. I think I remember some of your stories of riding an early BMW between school and the field locations.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, it took on epic proportions for sure. I had a Dell 386 laptop that was just the coolest thing ever. I mean now it’s just primitive by our standards as far as capacity and capability. But at the start of every summer I’d load up the R100GS with all of my field research equipment, laptop, clothes, pretty much everything for the next three months. And I would ride down from Edinburgh down to a new castle on a fairy, and then to Hamburg. And in Hamburg I would usually spend some time with some friends who live in Hamburg. And then from there I’d head down through Switzerland, stop and visit some friends at the university of Zurich, and then go from there over to Urecha and get an overnight ferry from there down to the island. Once or twice I rode all the way down the coast, it was a time thing. Especially starting the summer research, I always wanted to get down there as soon as possible and get my feet on the ground and start the work. At the end of the summer then I started to take my time. I think when summer started to take 2 and a half weeks to Edinburgh, of course my supervisor asked me about that. 

 

Scott Brady: And is that when you first started to pick up the German Language? 

 

Bryon Bass: That was before that time, maybe now I can say in hindsight I was fortunate at the time, but my mother sent me to a private school for 12 years down in the LA area. And back then there were foreign language requirements, so I had Spanish for six years and then I had German for three years. And it just so happened that when I took German that was from 10th to 12th grade, we only had five people in the class and they were all boys, it was one hour a day, five days a week. The teacher was a 20 something woman who was quite strict with us, and by the end of the second week she didn’t allow any English in the class anymore.

 

Scott Brady: Total immersion.

 

Bryon Bass: Hundred percent. We did a lot of play acting, and by the end of the first year we were conversationally fluent. And by the end of the third year, we had exams where we would read a murder mystery story, and at the end we had to answer 30 questions, “What was the color of the hat of the guy by the window on the train?” so you didn’t just have to have the ability to read it, but to retain the information. And if you looked at my German grades back then you’d see C+, middle of the road. And it was hard, without a doubt. 

 

Scott Brady: It is a difficult language to learn, isn't it?

 

Bryon Bass: It is. There are some cases like, English doesn't have any more for example genitive, we don’t really use it that much. And just the vocabulary and the reflection of plural and singular and feminine and masculine, things like that. That’s why I think that English at the basic level is so easy to learn. 

 

Scott Brady: And that turned out to be fortuitous because your partner, she turned out to be German as well. That’s amazing.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah she’s from the Black Forest, we actually met in the German language at the Supermarket. 

 

Scott Brady: That is so great! So then you started spending time in ex Yugoslavia which I would suspect was right for discovery as an archaeologist. 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, the situation there before Yugoslavia broke up, there were definitely a lot of people working from the outside. There were a few British teens working on some of the islands, and adjacent to the coast. And then of course the Yugoslavia archeologists. But at that time unlike places like Greece or Turkey, I hate to use the term but it just wasn’t picked over. So on any given day, for example on the island I get my PhD, I don't know how many sites we end up recording but it ended up being well into the hundreds, and that’s just on this one island, and these were unrecorded sites.

 

Scott Brady: And how big is this island? How long, or wide is it?

 

Bryon Bass: It’s about 50 kilometers long including little eyelets. Cortiala is the name of that island.

 

Scott Brady: And at the time I think some of that property became available, so you made a very early hedge. Did you pick up some houses there?

 

Bryon Bass: It was a little bit later on that I put out the word, you know if someone needs anything, and I just kinda discovered that location.

 

Scott Brady: It’s beautiful.

 

Bryon Bass: It’s a beautiful part of the world, it was a riviera long ago and it was a crossroads in antiquity. It was a crossroads between Venice and the Ottoman Empire. I mean the food, the culture, I’m specifically referring to the islands, it’s just great.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah that sounds fascinating. 

 

Bryon Bass: Things are familiar, but not exactly like it is back home, and I don’t mean just back home but even Northern Europeans come there and it’s familiar, but at the same time you can be in some village where other than the paved road, time is standing still or it’s maybe 300 years ago. 

 

Scott Brady: Oh, that’s amazing. And then, did you find that the archeology is what inspired you to travel or was it your love for travel that then dovetailed in the archeological work?

 

Bryon Bass: That’s an interesting question. I’d have to backtrack on my answer and give some background. I hadn't really travelled that much, but I am excluding when I was about two, my dad worked on a project in London but I don’t really remember anything back that far. When I was still at San Diego State University, they had a semester in London that you could sign up for. I got a flyer for it, and I threw it in the trash. At the time, I still had my grades and other mail sent to my moms house up in L.A. Mainly because I kept moving apartments and it seemed easier to funnel it all into one location. So she called me on the phone, this is all pre-mobile phones of course, she called me on the landline and said, “Hey did you see this thing about the semester in London?”, and I said “We don’t have that kind of money for me to do something like that.”, and she said, “Well did you see the part about a scholarship and parts that the Cal state will provide every month, or weekly.” I think it was 40 pounds a week, which was a stipend. Back then a beer was 90 pents, I wasn’t 21 yet. So I said, I don’t know mom, it's the flight and everything, so she says, I’ll pay for that, and even when you’re done I’ll get you a eurail pass. And I hadn’t even pondered any of this, ever.

 

Scott Brady: She encouraged you.

 

Bryon Bass: One hundred percent. And that was it, after that semester in London she picked up a two month eurail pass. And I had a backpack, a really low pack that I had packed to the gills with stuff. Because I started before April traveling, well, around April I guess. It was cold up in Northern Europe and I wanted to get down to the Southern Climbs. And so after that two months of traveling with this eurail pass, and sleeping rough and having a very fixed budget. I had an American Express card at the San Diego State University at a student book store of a 500 dollar limit. And I had maybe bought a pair of shoes or something back home and paid it off. I was really stoked, it was a pair of Chuck Tailors for 38 bucks. That was the only time I ever used it. And back then people, myself included, travelled with travelers checks and a combination of cash. But this was pre-european union, borders were still up.

 

Scott Brady: That would've been such an amazing time to see Europe and I was traveling there about the same time. In fact, my early travel was a similar story, I was in the military though and I got assigned to Southern Italy. And this was still very much closed borders, but once you start to experience a place like Italy, which you’ve experienced a lot in your life, it completely opens your eyes. Because in the United States we have a lot of prehistory, we have a lot of history in the United States. But there isn’t a lot of history that we find directly familiar. A lot of the Roman history and the things we learn in school, we don’t learn a lot about the North American Continent. And I remember being there and walking the streets of Rome, or seeing the Colosseum and being wide-eyed, shocked, amazed at how cool the world was. And I remember when I left Italy, the only thing I could think of is, how do I make this a part of my life?

 

Bryon Bass: Hundred percent. That’s what happened to me. As a matter of fact, when I did the two months eurail, I was actually still at school in London, one of the professors, he was actually one of the professors at San Diego state, and at that point I had been studying Political Science, I was international relations. I wasn’t studying archaeology completely yet. But the courses transferred back to San Diego state were mostly anthropology and archaeology classes that one of the professors from San Diego state was teaching there. And at the end of the semester he said, “Bass you’re a really good kid, you seem to get good grades in my class, why don’t you come to work with me in Jordan next summer?” and I probably said, “Sure, okay.” But I hadn’t travelled around Europe yet, that was three days before I jumped on the hovercraft and travelled across the country. And after the two months of backpacking around Europe, all I could think about was, “What’s gonna happen next summer?” I was in Jordan, I had brain juice coming out of my ear canal, it was blown away by traveling. The hook was in.

 

Scott Brady: We both grew up in Southern California which is relatively multi-cultural for the United States and there’s lots of crossroads of language and things you experience in Southern California, and I remember being completely shocked by how different it was and how much I loved the fact that it was different.

 

Bryon Bass: Oh, without a doubt. 

 

Scott Brady: I would think with your specialty being pre-history and being coastal, the sea levels have changed significantly throughout human existence. So did you have to do diving to explore sites, or was that not part of it?

 

Bryon Bass: I’ve made it as often as I could. At that time, when Croatia became independent, there weren’t dive shops around the island. There weren’t compressors, people had scuba gear. And oddly enough, a few times that I did dive during my PhD research, it was old school twin tanks, single tanks, no buoyancy equipment at all, just fins, and you had to be a good swimmer. Looking back on it, it sure violates most of what you learn for safety as a basic sport diver. I had also met a Scuba Diving Instructor back at San Diego State university.

 

Scott Brady: So you had also been pushing those limits a little bit.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, and there were obviously certain things I needed like, “Does this tank have air? Is it actually compressed air and not a part of the exhaust?” So I did some marine archeology, but most of it was just mask, snorkel, and fins. Most of the time, you would find on land, say like a Roman Villa, or some Roman artifacts guaranteed if you went offshore, you’d find more. And because sport diving hadn’t really taken off at that time, this is in the mid-90’s. We didn’t have tour operators or anything going on, so it was possible to identify, for example, amphora fragments on the c floor. And it obviously goes in conjunction with what you find on land. But I try to do it as often as possible, back then though that wasn’t the active marine archeology that is occurring now. 

 

Scott Brady: That sounds fascinating with how much that would correlate to what your specialty was. And it makes me think too when you and I were traveling through Uganda and Kenya, we had plenty of adventure on that trip. And for those of you listening you can find that on the Overland Journal Expedition portal, and we’ll put a link in the show notes but we ended up doing, essentially an illegal border crossing into Kenya because it showed it was a border crossing on the map but when we got closer it appeared it wasn’t. So the local militia found us and sent us off to the police station. There’s a lot more to that story but we ended up going down to lake Turcana which is this very ancient place in Kenya. It is a natural occurring lake, there is some management now but there would’ve been a lot of early humans that were traveling in that area or living in that area. We pull off this dirt road and we find this little spot to camp and we start setting up camp. I’m putting up the roof tent and Bryon’s walking around, and tell me what you found just walking around where we camped.

 

Bryon Bass: That’s probably, I wouldn’t say the highlight of my career because I wasn’t physically doing archeology there in a professional capacity, but as a pre-historian, finding an acheulean hand axe, in the actual setting is beyond the holy grail. My specialty is early eulithics, sort of at the onset of humans domesticating animals and crops. And this is way before that, this is probably before homohabolous left it, so it’s not even the same species as homo. It was just like I had studied, about Lewis Leeky, and Richard Leeky and everyone else working in oldivy and in the greater Lake Turkana area where that’s the cradle of civilization, that’s where human’s learned and developed and first became aware of their environment. And specifically that handaxe, it’s not just that there’s a continuity of sorts from then until now as far as an edged tool, or a chopping tool. But it’s very clear that unlike, let’s say something like a higher primate where they’ll use an expedian stool, to get some termites. Humans would not only prepare the tool ahead of time, then use it, then keep it or curate it, then use it later on, but they also had an awareness of the materials that were better, that would last longer. The unfortunate part about this is that we don’t have, from that period, surviving things that are made out of wood, or bone. They tend not to survive the archeological record. So, I’m assuming that we’re missing out, we’re skipping out on the tool kit from back then. But, nevertheless, finding that handaxe, and you guys were cracking beers I think, and Stanley was wrenching on one of the G-Wagons, which to me, I was still blown away. You probably didn’t hear too many words from me at that moment. Stanley opens this tool box and there are these banners and these screwdrivers, and I’m looking at this tool, this is what started it all. And here we are with these guys wrenching on a motor, and there’s the procession right there of humans, and ingenuity, and tools, and materials, and usage of tools.

 

Scott Brady: And I remember when you started to describe to me, because you didn’t just find the axe, you found maybe a scraper as well, and some small flint pieces that were used for spears or something like that. And it was all around the area and I look at you and I say, “Bryon, how in the world is all of this here?” And I remember what you told me is, “Scott, the same reason you picked this campsite is the same reason they picked this campsite.” It was protected from the wind, and it had these natural stone barriers on each side. You could see that there would’ve been water flowing right next to where we were camped, and you said the same reason that I picked it, and we picked it, is the same reason however many years ago-

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah exactly. Obviously, time is moving in one direction, you have geomorphology, you have vegetation changing, and climate changing, and I don’t mean the recent type of climate changing but just over time. But at the same time, when you look at that landscape where we were there was kind of an upgradient area that was out of the low setting, and that’s guaranteed why various people found that setting, including us.

 

Scott Brady: And about how long ago do you think they would’ve been there?

 

Bryon Bass: It’s hard to say totally out of context, but I would say maybe 1.7, maybe 1.5 million years ago, this is going way back. That tool was used closer to modern times, and by that I don’t mean modern times, probably closer to 100,000 years ago plus something similar, but what was used, it was very clear to a student of archeology, and somebody who studied it and had it hammered in my head and had courses on it. That’s where the material’s supposed to be from. 

 

Scott Brady: Which obviously leads to an important thing to talk about in this podcast, is as travelers, we do interact with these ancient cultures and these archeological finds in our own mind. And I think about the many times that I’ve come across something ancient. Just to give the listeners some pointers on that we aren’t doing any damage, we’re making sure that we’re leaving it. Obviously there’s something as simple as only taking photographs or memories and leaving only footprints, but what are some things we can do to make sure we’re not damaging these sites, we’re not creating an impact that will affect future digs or future assessments of an area?

 

Bryon Bass: That’s definitely a good question, and it’s something that I get asked frequently. If I had to qualify it before, any kind of explanation would be, people need to be aware of international, national, and local laws, ordinances, regulations that protect those resources. And there’s a reason for it, it’s not to stop future Indiana Jones from going out, that they are finite resources. So once they are removed, gone, or destroyed, or taken out of their context before they have been studied, and that’s it-they’re over. There aren’t that many resources that we come across on a regular basis that are similar. I mean, obviously you could say that mining ore or something that is on our planet, those are finite too, you can also recycle things, but you can’t recycle an artifact once it’s been removed from its setting. So people need to bear that in mind right off the bat. So if you think that that stone tool is gonna be, “Oh it’s so small, I can fit it in my bag, I’m gonna take it back home” Just remember that transporting some antiquities across country borders, you’re in trouble. Getting caught with it in a foreign country, you’re in trouble. You don’t have a permit to be there, you’re in trouble. The list goes on and on.

 

Scott Brady: Ethically too, once you’ve stolen something like that, you’ve stolen from the locals that would like to know the history of their people, and maybe a local tribe for example, or maybe the archeologists that work in that area that that could’ve been a key piece of information, that would've helped them tell a larger story. So for those listening, we do interact with antiquity in our travels, let’s make sure we respect it in the utmost. Leaving things where we find it, even avoid picking things up unless you’re trained in how to do that. I just leave things how I find them. There are some good resources and guides which we can link in the description in the show notes. Let’s just remember that it is such a gift for us to experience those places. Think about the next traveller to come along, you want them to be able to experience it in the same way you did. I remember going into anasazi ruins and the mats were still on the ground, the corn cobs were still in the corner and the pots were still in one piece and I remember my breath being taken away to see that, it looked like they had left ten minutes before. And enjoyed it, took it in, and I didn’t even go inside because I didn’t want to disturb it. And it was purely by chance that I happened to be hiking down that canyon, and we just have to remember to leave things the same or better than we found them.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah definitely, and the other thing to keep in mind is that it’s really to have the view, “Well I’m just gonna take this one piece of pottery, it’s really small, and it can be my memento of visiting this archeological site.” and when you put it in a greater context and get a satellite view of that, let’s say 1,000 people did the same thing, then there’s no pottery there anymore. So now you’ve removed, not just out of context, but it doesn’t take 1,000 pieces of pottery, put them together and removed them. It’s now on somebody’s mantel piece, falling on the floor, the dog eating it, it’s not just out of context, it doesn’t mean anything to the greater human kind. And that’s also important to bear in mind is our common history. And it’s not just that the locals wanna know about their past and where they come from, helping them understand where they’re going, but it’s a collective past. That’s why, for example, that handaxe that we found in Kenya, it’s so poignant, it's the beginning of all of it for everybody. From a pocket knife I have in my trousers right now, to a pocket knife from someone who’s in Kenya now. It’s somebody in Russia, it’s somebody in Asia, the knife they have in their pocket, that’s the heritage, it’s collective. And there’s no other way to put it. Sometimes you need to do the right thing, especially when no ones looking, and you find, especially when you’re remote and you find things, there’s nothing wrong with photographing it, checking it out. These days with the internet, let’s say we found something remote, I can type on the internet anasazi specialist, or SouthWest historian and come up with over a dozen professors and grad students that specialize in that and say, “Hey look, we found this site, it’s a mile away from the known one!” Yeah and we go check it out.

 

Scott Brady: Which leads me to a little bit of an Overland topic, you call your sportsmobile the archeological backpack. I think that would be fun to talk a little bit about. You have a sportsmobile, and you had a Tacoma you’ve had for a long time, you recently required a Land Rover LR4, so tell us about your sportsmobile. It is definitely one of the more interesting van builds that i’ve ever seen done, and it reflects a lot of your experience and time in the field, and there is an article we will link in the show notes but tell us a little bit about your van. What year is it, what motor is it?

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah it started out, I think even a little before that, just wanting to identify a platform that could be used also as an office, like a field office. In a true sense of the word, like you could sit down, tied to your laptop, you didn’t have to start the motor necessarily or drive around in order to recharge the batteries in your laptop, or other equipment you have into the field to sustain yourself. Oddly enough, about half the time when I’m using this, it’s parked outside the archive, it’s not out in the dust. I have it parked in the two hour zone, so I’m sitting there, making sure I’ve taken all the copies of maps, or coordinates or stuff like that for surveys that I’m working on. And it’s a comfortable spot, I have a fridge in there. I hunted around for something that would be comfortable, where I wouldn’t necessarily have to get out of the vehicle as well. Not that I’m doing some commando research in the middle of some city somewhere, some village, but it just appealed to me that I could kind of spin myself around, go in the back, and do some work. So the platform that came to mind, for working in America's anyways, was the FordE350. At that time there were some different conversions that were out there, but being in California and having seen a bunch of the more well thought out conversions that sportsmobile had done, I went with their conversion. But at the time, they did the conversion, they put on their penthouse top, and their aluminous bumpers, front and top- trojan bumpers. And that was it, it just had two front seats and the whole thing was empty. I drove it around for a while, my mom joked around because she got in it one time and said, “Ah, this is like the bakery delivery truck” or something. So we drove it well over a year, maybe a year and a half or something. Nothing in it, went skiing, took it everywhere. And all along the way, I started drawing out blue painters tape where things could be, where I could have seating and storage and other stuff. Also, staying cognizant of gross vehicle weight rating and what you could really do with it, because that for me is paramount no matter what vehicle I’m using. 

 

Scott Brady: It does seem very minimalist and you can also tell how much time you’ve travelled off a motorcycle because it isn’t over done. One of the things that is the most clever about your van is the cots that you integrated into the panels, maybe touch on that a little bit.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah they’re new old stock hewie helicopter seats. And they weigh almost nothing, they’re made almost fire-retardant- the material. And so they don’t add a lot of weight to the vehicle, it’s completely negligible. Actually the frames that AT Overland made, that was the actual weight that actually got added in. The advantage is that I can fold them, take a nap on them, take it in, or whatever. Or I can just fold down a bench to sit on, do some work on. Or just keep it as a spot, another ledge to put gear when I’m in a location.

 

Scott Brady: I mean it looks like you’ve got a bunch of netting and lashing points all along the walls, so you can kinda configure the van to whatever you’re doing. If you’re going skiing it’s one thing, if you’re out in the field doing archeology work it’s another thing, if you’re out travelling doing overlanding it’s another configuration. 

 

Bryon Bass: That’s correct. I wouldn’t say we went crazy with the L Track, but we definitely put it in all the conceivable locations, not just where you’d want a tie down or a lash point, but what would be in the van. Because not everything would be strapped to the van, there might be something taller that might move side to side. And as you know in a van, more so than something like a forerunner, but if you put on the break, it’s coming your way. Even if it’s something as innocuous as a pillow- it’s flying forward. So I really focused on having the ability to lash down different items of weight or bulk, and then remove that stuff as necessary, obviously not the L track. And then the other thing we focused on is where you have the L track bolted in, and where the screws actually went because you can put a strip of L track say a meter long and only put a bolt at either end, and if your tie down point is in the middle, you’re gonna have some issues if weight starts to work against you. So we focused on that as well.

 

Scott Brady: Well it looked like you could even roll a motorcycle up in the back if you configured it the right way, if you took the right stuff out.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah and if the bike didn’t have some killer suspension or anything.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, if it wasn’t too tall. So that PD100 that you had in Europe, is that the same one 

You have today?

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah I still have it actually. It had a very interesting trajectory, it started out as a California spec R100 GS. They call it the bumble bee, I know collectors are gonna be pretty angry at me after they hear what happened about the bike. But I had it for half a year, put it in a crate at Marty’s BMW which I think is no longer there, I think it was down in the South Bay down in the California area, and shipped it to Edinburgh, literally shipped it three months later. There was a knock at my flat, and there was this crate, the guy had a crowbar, he cracked it open and then there was some paperwork, and then he took off. And there was this California registered motorcycle. The first summer I was heading down to Croatia, like I said I went down to New Castle, took the ferry across to Hamburg and one of my buddies down there, of course he’s a BMW freak as well, air head freak, that was the bike back then, they were airheads. I got over to his house and he said, “What’s all this stuff here?” And he was referring to some of the ignition stuff that’s on the bike and I said, “Well you know I got it in California and it had smaller carburetors and all sorts of other stuff” and he said, “Man, we gotta get in the car.” So we drove down to the main dealership in Hamburg, and literally, with the micropeesh, working with the parts guy, we got all the parts that should be on it for the PD. So, at that time it wasn’t like you had to get on Ebay, or you know a guy who knows a guy, but you buy it at the dealership. The tank was unpainted, it was gray, you know just primered, all the little fairing parts, air box, you name it. Then it came to the smog parts, which was perplexing, just like any kind of vacuum system on some FJ40 or something like that. So something was leaking and it was going to run terribly and we couldn’t figure  out the best approach, it wasn’t running that well when we started snipping things on our own. So we made a few phone calls and talked with the BMW mechanic down at the factory, you can’t make this up. Down in Munich. And he explained to us, “Okay, somewhere under the seat I think has the spaghetti that we add on for our California model.” And also the Swiss model had that stuff too. He said, “You see everything there? Remove it all. Don't try and connect this with that and try and bypass all of this.” So we spent, I don’t know, it must’ve been four or five days working on this bike and then it was transformed into this R100PD although it didn’t start out life as that.

 

Scott Brady: So cool that you still have it. And recently you bought another airhead, right? 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, it is a PD, although I did some research on it’s original title and it didn’t start out as a PD either, it started out as a R100GS, somebody picked out the PD parts, still has some smog stuff on it. So yeah we’re making that a project bike for the journal, so it’s gonna, we’re gonna do some interesting stuff to it.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah that sounds fun. 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah it’s a very under stressed motor, and so I like to leave things original, but you can do stuff to that motor to get better performance out of it, higher horsepower, and still keep it super reliable.

 

Scott Brady: And in North America that actually becomes a consideration, obviously when you’re riding a motorcycle like that in Slovenia, or you’re riding it in Guatemala, you don’t really need the extra horsepower, but the North American roads, I mean we’re dealing with 75+ mile and hour speed limits and crazy drivers driving at high speeds, so it does really help to have somebody who understands that.

 

Bryon Bass: People who have, like some of my European friends who get on the ottoman and screw around, if you’re just kinda zipping down to Spain for two weeks or something, things might be quite proximal. And then here, sometimes you’re on the road for two days before you get to 75 mph, before you get to the spot where you’re going 3 mph or less. For the next week and a half on your GS Adventure. It’s definitely something we take into account here that many people don’t overseas, depending on the application. 

 

Scott Brady: And with all your time in riding motorcycles, what’re some of the key takeaways from riding motorcycles?

 

Bryon Bass: One of the things I think, is that you have to have an open mind. This is with a carbureted, air-cooled, bike. I think it’s different with modern bikes where you can pull into a dealership and they can just fix it or they have more creature comforts. But I appreciate the fact that with the original manual and the Haynes manual, as long as you have the right tools and you follow the instructions, you can do anything! I ripped that thing apart, and I’m not saying I’m super mechanical but I’m not tearing apart the FJ40 motor in my driveway. But with that bike, I’ve pretty much done most of the repairs. Speaking of Slovenia by the way, one time I was tinkering with the carburetor because I thought I could optimize it, I was riding in the Alps. I thought I could tinker with it, I wouldn’t rejet it or anything, and they were synced but it wasn’t working optimally. I was in Lubiana and Slovenia and a colleague of mine, he’s now at the head of archeology at the university, he said, “We have a similar model as the RS that our police force uses as patrol I know somebody at the motor pool.” So I rode the bike with all the gear and everything over to this motor pool and one of the police mechanics dialed it back in, of course he had the low carb sync tool, and of course I was using my ear. But back to your point of things I’ve learned riding a motorcycle, it forces you to be minimalist, it forces you to interrogate every item. Maybe at first you don’t, you kinda load things on. And you learn your lesson you’re like, “Well wait a second I packed three pairs of shoes. I got my boots, maybe I want something that’s more upscale, I wanna have a pair of shoes for that, and a pair of tennis shoes for this, or whatever.” I’m not saying you shouldn’t bring another pair of shoes with you, but you really have to interrogate the bulk, the necessity, the weight. But it definitely parlays into your thinking with four-wheels as well. Four or more wheels I should say. And I think it also keeps you with your understanding when you travel like, “What do I really need?” Obviously you want to be warm, you want to be fed reasonably well, you wanna be hydrated, you wanna be safe from the elements. But then after that, do you need like three different colored beanies?

 

Scott Brady: It’s amazing the stuff we bring along. I think about now, when I’m getting ready to leave for Africa in a few days, I’m gonna ride a train down to swaziland, and the boots that I’m going to use to get on the plane are the same ones I’m using on the bike. And how I deal with some protection is I have these D3O knee pads and shin guards that I use to augment the boots that I get to wear every day, otherwise, or drive a vehicle otherwise. Then I have these new barefoot style shoes, these aren’t the ones that have the individual toes, but they’re very simple, barefoot style shoes that you can take to the gym, take to a hotel, air bnb or on the campground that make it a lot more comfortable to get out of your motorcycle boots and have a second pair of shoes. But they pack down to nothing. Because the top of the shoe itself has very little structure, so it’s really just the foot bed that you’ve gotta compress down with, and it ends up being very minimalist that way. Whereas I’ve done trips in the past where I’ve brought big, heavy motorcycle boots and I tried figuring out where I 'm gonna put these things, how am I gonna get them on the plane? Wearing the same boots, and I know that Lois Price and others that do a lot of long distance and international travel, they just wear heavy duty boots everyday, they don’t wear motorcycle boots. Because then they can walk in them, they can hike in them, they can walk around town without looking like a stormtrooper.

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, my favorite in that regard, I mean I stopped wearing motorcycle boots unless it was just for the day, that’s the only thing I was doing. My favorite’s are Danners, because you can hike in them. Maybe I’m not a fatalist or anything like that, but I think, “What if the bike broke down and I had to walk somewhere? What if I had to walk in these moto-cross esc ADV boots for a mile or two, even five miles?” I’ve had to do that before and learn the lesson like, “Okay, that sucked.” You know, I have blisters, and it’s just uncomfortable. And then the space, when you just have the one and only pair, or a pair of collapsible tennis, sneaks, or something like that, and there’s not looking like a stormtrooper. Part of it is not so much the look, the fashion, but it’s blending in with the locals and having equipment that’s multi-functional, that just doesn’t serve one function. I mean your helmet is pretty unifunctional, and of course jackets and pants. There’s stuff now that, really if you’re hard pressed tell that it’s actually made for motorcycle travel.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, no question. And they’re getting more and more mindful of the fact that, “Oh we can separate the armour from the jacket itself.” And then you end up being able to wear the jacket as a hard shell when you’re off the bike. And it doesn’t mean that heavy duty ADV style boots aren’t appropriate in certain scenarios, we’re not suggesting that people be unsafe, but I just find that the more the motorcycle trip is related to travel, the more I want to hike back into that waterfall, or I can walk around a colonial village and experience the history of it without damaging my feet trying to walk around in those ADV boots. But if I'm doing the translate-american trail or I’m walking across Southern Utah in a technical train, I’ve got gnarly motocross style boots, because you’re trying to protect yourself from the inevitable drops that happen on the dirt. I think it is so important to consider, even if you don’t have a motorcycle, how minimal you can go when you pack your vehicle. Even if you have a sportsmobile that has a ton of payload, how minimal can you travel? Because then the sportsmobile performs better. It does better off-road, it gets better gas-mileage, there’s less stuff to distract you, if the vehicle gets stolen you’ve lost less stuff than if you just pack everything to the gills. 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah definitely. And that all comes from my perspective traveling on a motorcycle.

 

Scott Brady: And I love how disarming motorcycles are, I think it’s because it relates to everybody in the world. It’s usually the first vehicle they see, even in remote parts of the world. Motorcycles and motorcyclists are very disarming, they don’t come across as something official or tactical or whatever.

 

Bryon Bass: Many people have not just seen one, many people have been on one, or they know that that person riding that bike, that it requires skill, it requires that they pay attention to what they’re doing and, “Wow, he has a backpack! And woah, that’s crazy too!” And it’s immediately engaging, and you don’t have to be in some remote location, you could just be in some other town in your own state. And there’s a connection there.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah there certainly is. And it leads me to another thing that I know you are passionate about  which is edged tools, And that obviously comes from our story earlier about the hand-axe , but what knife do you typically carry every day, what knife do you Typically carry when you travel, what should somebody be looking for Like that as a traveler?

 

Bryon Bass:Personally, I mean there are a couple Of aspects you need to take into account, one being that You can't always travel with it, you might not be allowed to.And obviously there are different aspects of that too,Is this illegal? Or you cannot show it . and there are plenty of people that are well-versed than I am That talk about that topic. And you can always pick up something When you get to your location, and it doesn't have to be something Uber cool with a clip-on or anything like that, you can go into a hardware store Or even some vendors of fruit and you can pick up a knife that depending on what you're needing it for, if it's for anything really it doesn't have to be just for self-protection, if you're just looking for a camp knife, a paring knife, you can get something for under five bucks maybe even less unless you use something by all the locals. Something you can pick up at the local supermarket, I mean everyone has one. That's what they use to cut their fruit, or to prepare their food, and you're good to go. And the other thing is that it is also what everyone else has, so it doesn't, if you get to some checkpoint and they say, “Hey take out the contents of your pockets.” And then you have  the same knife that they have, the same knife that their parents have and their kids have at home, well you know you're fitting in with that too. 

 

Scott Brady: I think there's a lot that I remember when you and I were trying to deal with the police after we Got caught by the militiaIn Kenya, but they dumped out the contents of the bags, And there were a lot more tactical looking components. And this guy was convinced that you and I were spooks, and you and I were supposed to disclose, remember. She kept saying that you have to disclose your mission. 

 

Bryon Bass: And meanwhile there was A titanium spork. And some paracord that were in some non-standard color, some 123 batteries, what else was in there. I remember my little shortwave radio. It was in a bag that's shaped like a football.  they went through that. 

 

Scott Brady: They just happened to go through the one with all the paracord. It was really funny, but it is important to think about how common you know of how often we have access to these very cool tactical minded pieces of equipment, but if we travel with those things how is not going to look to someone that has to go through our stuff? And is it going to create an uncomfortable conversation, we are going to have to justify what we are doing, just you and I being military-aged males in that part of Kenya already raises suspicion. 

 

Bryon Bass: And the mat covered G-Wagon did not help at all.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, three of them in a line did not look like a convoy, they were not convinced of our intentions although they finally let us go. 

 

Bryon Bass: It was the spork that let it go.

 

Scott Brady: What's your favorite folder right now that you carry?

 

Bryon Bass: I would say that it's a newer knife maker, it's a friend of mine, he just retired from the Navy Seals and the name of the company that he started for his knife making is called gooseworx and it's very small production, and he has been putting some time in with noted makers like Ernie Emerson and Robert Truzola, and others, Bill Harsey, people like that who Have both a folder and a fixed blade aspect that they do. And he spent some time in those trenches just trying to help out, and sweeping their shops, and trying to see what they do, and getting tips and tricks and things that didn't work early on. And I really liked where he's coming from with the design, and also just the materials, the approach that he has. And the fact that he puts a razor sharp edges on the knives before he mails them out. he spent a lot of time, when I was up there in his Workshop and he was showing me how he sharpens everything and I'm sure that if you look at the labor cost, which he's not doing it because of that, but he's spent so much time sharpening each knife and getting things right so that when you use it, it's doing what you needed to do. 

 

Scott Brady: It’s a tool that’s ready to go.

 

Bryon Bass:If it needs to slice, it's going to slice. You don't need to see it back and forth. but at the same time, you know I have to appreciate old school sayings like Swiss Army knives. 

 

Scott Brady: Right, that just goes into the pocket. 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah, and you know they're useful for various things around the camp. one of the things  about travel, is that it's very rare. I travel without checking something in. It kind of depends obviously, about whether it's work or play and what time is work, so I usually have a check-in bag, not always but I usually have a check-in bag. So obviously once you have a check-in bag you can check in plenty of your pocket knives or any other knives, anything with an edge. and so the fact that somebody might go through and take it out, then you have your stuff. But that's not always the case, sometimes when you get there you have to go track something down, and that's part of the deal.

 

Scott Brady: And oftentimes I’ll just go get a folderPocket knife or whatever. A mutual friend of ours, Patrick law from his design Works, he sells a little kind of folder that looks like a Boy Scout knife almost and it's just very nicely put together oh, it's very discreet in the pocket, and that's typically the one all toss in my checked bag, because it is totally unassuming. And if someone, again if you clear the contents of your pockets out it looks like a camp knife, very simple little tool, it's very understated but made in the United States and extremely high-quality, and a very sharp blade which is nice as well.

 

Bryon Bass: That’s important to have. You also have to take into account that things might disappear. You might need to give something over, it might be taken before you even get there, you might have that notification in your bag that says, “We found this and we kept it” Or it’s just not there. And so I always stress that with people when they talk about “Well I'm going to be working here oh, and going there, and what should I have?” And I always say “ Well, whatever you have it better not be super sentimental it can't be the one that your dad had, or something like that.” You have to be ready to give it over, lose it, not just mess it up. That's the other point, is that you should be able to sharpen a knife because  if it's not sharp then what's the point? Unless it is the point that you wanted, which is a different topic too. but you should have all those qualities, you should be able to get rid of it. 

 

Scott Brady: And when we were in Uganda and Kenya, I think we had some Winkler knives with some fixed blades, right? What should people be looking for around a fixed blade? One thing I really like about a fixed blade is the immediacy of it, and how it can be positioned on the Belt Etc. You don't need to be able to open anything up, you just grab the handle and the knife is ready to do work. Tell the listener is what you typically look for in a fixed blade.

 

Bron Bass:  For me oh, I have my own preferences for items. And the items we had there were the Blue Ridge Hunters by Daniel Winkler. He's a master smith, which even though it's only two knives, it's a water jet and it's the production style. But he put a lot of time in forging, and just has a one-person show to get to where he is now and so everything the  ergonomics, and I'm obviously talking about those knives we had in Kenya and Uganda, but I think it pertains to pretty much anything with the fixed blade oh, well the folder as well but since we're talking about fixed blades, it should have an ergonomic aspects where it just feels right. What you put in your hand might not be something that works for me. So it’s not just, “Well, Scott gave it to me, and I’m not supposed to have this, it’s not gonna work for me.”  Personally, I like to have fixed blades that have multiple capabilities. so I'm not necessarily Keen to carrying something that is only defensive in nature when I'm traveling, I want to be able to do other things with it . and that might just be to slice an apple, or when everyone says, “Hey! Breakfast is served!”  and you can slice a piece of butter off of the bar and put it on your one piece of toast that you are going to have for the day. 

 

Scott Brady: And it doesn't look like Rambo made the thing, those knives that we had, they looked very pedestrian.

 

Bryon Bass:  Yeah, and I like that too. As a matter of fact, if it had fallen on the ground it just looks like a simple Camp knife, it doesn't look necessarily like  there is a various reason for having it. And having said that, I think depending on your training and background it goes way back to prehistory, having something with an edge, and having something with a point oh, and you might have to defend yourself with it. That doesn't mean it's made for that purpose though, you can defend yourself with a butter knife and be fine with it.

 

Scott Brady:  But that requires a little bit more training.

 

Bryon Bass:  It does, but at the same time when you have a knife that can do various things immediately when you pull it out of the sheath, I prefer that.

 

Scott Brady:  I remember when we were again in that area of Kenya, we had some problems with one of the vehicles and there was this crowd that was forming around us, and there was that one guy who was clearly drunk and on drugs I suspect. Eyes completely bloodshot, and he picks me, the biggest guy out of the group. You could see he was a boxer and that he wanted to fight, and you could see from the condition of his hands that he did do that on a regular basis, they looked like anvils as opposed to human hands. Those points of tension, and those points of intensity when we're traveling, and fortunately nothing happened, fortunately through conversation we were able to, directing his attention otherwise , resolved the situation. Those things can accelerate very quickly and it is good to have training and awareness around that. 

 

Bryon Bass: Yeah definitely, and also improvisation of an edged tool, or something with a point. It doesn’t even have to be that, it could be anything really, a pen, something from your tool kit, a screwdriver. It’s endless really, when you think about it. And usually that stuff comes up.

 

Scott Brady: Years ago you gave me a pen that I travel with almost exclusively. Who makes that? That thing is amazing!

 

Bryon Bass: I shouldn’t give it away, but County Calm makes really great pens. They fall into the category of tactical, although it doesn’t look that tactical. Although I gave you the stainless steel one, it’s the Nerling and you use the fisher space pen refill.

 

Scott Brady: It’s really heavy and balanced in the hand, and it writes beautifully. 

 

Bryon Bass: It writes like the astronauts, you can be upside down with it, or whatever. But it also writes through, if your paper is wet it will still write through onto the paper. And this is sort of a field geek kind of thing like, “Oh who cares about that?” but actually I do care about that. Because if I’m working out in the field and it’s foggy or something like that, and I gotta write down on my clipboard that I left on the hood of the truck overnight. It does matter. I really like their pens, they’re fairly understated.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, what a neat piece of kit for sure. And speaking of that, what are some other recent additions to your kit that you’ve just fallen in love with?

 

Bryon Bass: This will sound a little bit bizarre, one of the pieces that, I don’t even know who makes it, it’s one of those cubes that you inflate, and it has a small solar panel on one side with LED lights. And it has I think three settings. There’s so many people that have copied it already, but it has 3 LED settings, plus like a flashing strobe. Plus, it packs completely flat, I use it on every trip now. It’s just like, putting it in the bathroom in a dark hotel room, and it’s pitch black because I needed to sleep when I landed, I left it in the dash somewhere during the day. You recharge it, and it’s so simple.

 

Scott Brady: It’s so clever, and I’ve thought often times about carrying a couple of them with me, because when you think about that family we encountered in Uganda, the woman who spoke some English and we helped get her kids to the school and everything, wouldn’t it have been amazing to give her one of those? That way those kids could read a little later into the night and maybe make some difference in her life, because I was so impressed with her as a human being. I’d like to have some of those along with me, they’re so compact it seems like they’d be really easy to give away in the ways that make sense once you’ve established some rapport with somebody, not just handouts. That would’ve been a great situation for that, too. And recently you and I both got some down jackets from Patrick from Prometheus Design.

 

Bryon Bass: That’s one of the coolest things.

 

Scott Brady: That’s a pretty bitchin’ jacket.

 

Bryon Bass: It is, and all Down is not created equal. The piece that I especially appreciate out of it is the inside kind of over your hip, there is a carrying case. At first I said you know, that’s cool, that’s a stuff sack when I opened it up. Then I realized that it’s a stuff sack that’s shaped like one of those neck rolls you use when you fly on an airplane. I’m not sure if that’s thinking outside the box, everyone knows those neck rolls, sometimes you see them in the shops, you see them next to the batteries and phone chargers. But with this one, you stuff your down jacket in it, and there you go. You actually showed me the whole thing can be turned, not that part, a little piece into a pillow.

 

Scott Brady: Yeah, the pocket that the neck pillow is in is reversible, and it’s also fleece-lined, and you can reverse the whole jacket into that and zip it closed, and then you have a camp pillow. Which, we talk about multi-use things, but it’s this kind of mid-weight, slightly heavier than the typical Down sweaters that are really popular from Patagonia and North Face.

 

Bryon Bass: And it’s not like something that you would take to the polar rides. 

 

Scott Brady: It’s just the right weight, especially if you layer. It’s got a great DAWR finish on it, I’ve been out in the rain in it and I was worried about it being Down, it repelled water for 20 or 30 minutes when I was out in those conditions hiking. It’s also hooded which is really nice.

 

Bryon Bass: And the material on the inside of the hood is the same as the pockets.

 

Scott Brady: Very comfortable. And it doesn’t make a lot of noise which is one of the things that I don’t like about those nylon finishes, that when your heads inside the hoodie, then it makes all this crackling and noise. And it doesn’t make any of that noise with that fleece lining that I really like. And it has that chest pocket that you can put an IPhone on, listen to music or a podcast or whatever. You have real quick access to wallets and stuff like that right there at the chest. So that’s actually a really great jacket, Prometheus Design wear, we’ll put that in the show notes. And Patrick’s a cool guy, follow knife, watch, overland guy, and made in the United States too. Try to find a jacket like that made in the U.S. it’s very difficult to find small batch companies, they may or may not be in stock by the time you check it out. It’s definitely worth the wait. Another thing that I got recently is a Hasselblad to Africa, which I’m excited to shoot. And you’ve been a long time, like a shooter, film like a still.

 

Bryon Bass: I also shoot digi with that Sony ELF7, and I have that nice little adapter so I can shoot my lights glass with that Sony body and I like it. I also like the fact that Sony’s pretty small body. And it’s familiar to me having used the small Leicas for so long, it just feels right.

 

Scott Brady: And you’ve taken some beautiful images, some of them have even been featured in Overland Journal in black and white, and I remember that was one of the other highlights of our trip. We were again in Kenya and we had camped down in this little lodge.

 

Bryon Bass: And we thought nobody would find us. 

 

Scott Brady: We thought we were in  the middle of nowhere. And that’s when the Corola comes by. But this little kid comes by, this kid was herding camel up this wash, and he sees us with all of our G Wagons and he’s trying to figure out if we’re from outer space. But he’s very curious, and very calm, and we had no way to communicate with him other than with basic human communication, hand signals and smiles. And you ended up handing him the Leica and showing him how to advance the film, and I think you stopped him down so his shots would be clearer, and that was such a neat moment. 

 

Bryon Bass: I have photos of him taking photos of me. And I had the digi camera, he’s shooting the film camera at me, and the framing was fine. That would be kinda cool to put together, I think. 

 

Scott Brady: That would be really cool to put together, and I think one of my most favorite photos I’ve ever taken, and I took it with my IPhone, it was of him holding that Leica, and he has this fantastic smile on his face, and I was smiling the same. And I think we all felt this connection with this kid. It’s those moments as travelers that are unforgettable and they’re so special and they remind me of why that’s the stuff that’s most important. Those are the ingredients of memories, we’ll long forget the knife that we brought, some gadget that we added to our vehicle. But we’ll never forget those moments because they were so definitive.

 

Bryon Bass: And It’s an interaction with fellow humans. Somebody who’s from a different culture, a different language, a different place. But, it’s a fellow human. And I think that’s one of the draws for me at least with travel.

 

Scott Brady: And he was just as stoked as we were, he thought it was the coolest thing that we were there. 

 

Bryon Bass: And when he goes back he’ll be like, “You guys won’t believe! They were camping, I don’t know why they were camping in these tents!”

 

Scott Brady: It was very cool.

 

Bryon Bass: But the interaction with somebody else, just to have a giggle, there was no commonality at all, other than that’s a fellow human.

 

Scott Brady: And that’s the theme of this whole podcast is, as we travel, as we consider travel more, that we begin to step beyond the stuff. We begin to step beyond the vehicle, and we identify with the truck that we drive or the motorcycle that we ride, and we start to become this accumulation of these experiences and the interactions with these human beings around the world. I think back on that trip, and certainly the G Wagon that we drive is cool but it was the time that I spent with you, and Stanley, and the locals, and the people that we interacted with that form the images that I took away and the experience. It had very little to do with the gadgets. And I really do appreciate your time, Bryon, on this stuff because it shows how far back humans have been traveling. As soon as we could find a way to bring enough material, a way to move across the land with some support, but we started to get outside of our very small zone we occupied, and we started to see what was over the next ridge. And that’s been for a lot of human history, and that’s us today as travelers, we interact with that history, respect the cultures we encounter. Let’s be mindful and minimalist in the way we travel so that they’re not poor experiences. That’s one of the great lessons, don’t you think?

 

Bryon Bass: Definitely. And also not opposing any of my standards, forms, or expectations upon anybody else. There is a reason for it. And upon the individual level, just hang with the locals and if they do something on a Friday, or Saturday or whatever, or dissipate in it, experience it. 

 

Scott Brady: That game of soccer might be one of the most cherished memories or you travels, or handing that kid a soccer ball, or whatever. Those kinds of interactions as humans are so valuable, and so important too. So, I really appreciate your time. There’s a thousand other things we could talk about, we didn’t even get into your watches, we didn’t get into your tacoma. Bryon and I both have an appreciation for unique watches, and one of the reasons for that- we’ll kind of end it on this- it’s one of the few types of currencies you can carry with you right on your wrist. Having a recognizable watch brand is a good “Get out of jail free’ card to buy a ticket home. They’re very portable, and I think we’ll schedule another podcast for you and we’ll dig into those other things. We’ll link all of this cool stuff in the show notes, so Bryon I’m so grateful for the time you’ve spent with us this morning, and telling us your amazing stories is such an inspiration.

 

Bryon Bass: Thank you Scott, and I look forward to doing this again soon.

 

Scott Brady: Absolutely, well thanks everybody again for listening!