28 December 2010

Enjoy discovering some of Pepper's Adventures today

As I said in my interview yesterday, I’m an adrenalin junkie. Even as a child, I’ve always had the urge to move on and see what’s around the next bend in the river or down a lonely country road. I blame that on my nomad Cherokee ancestors. Thankfully, I also have the luck of my Irish ancestors, so not only have I had to opportunity to have adventures, few of them have cost me much financially.

Before I got my doctorate in education, I was working as a paralegal and unhappy with the boring nine-to-five lifestyle. One night I was standing in the checkout counter at the grocery store, and I overheard the man ahead of me bemoaning the fact that he’d spent almost two weeks looking for a writer for a position he was trying to fill for an educational resource company—a cooperative US/Spanish (Spain, not Mexico) firm based out of Mexico City. Almost before I realized what I was doing, since I’m normally a little shy, I’d tapped this guy on the shoulder and offered my services. I went for an interview the next day and landed the job of a lifetime.

Three weeks later, I’d quit my job, put most of my stuff in storage, purchased a camera and two duffel bags (I wasn’t allowed any hard-sided luggage), and I was on my way to a boat in the Virgin Islands. 
Why weren't you allowed hard-sided

The company I worked for made documentaries and designed education programs for third world countries. They had a fleet of boats that sailed the waters off the east coast of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean, as well as a number of inland teams operating in rural Mexico. During the years I worked for them, I was exposed to fascinating cultures and traveled to exotic places.

 I learned to scuba dive in tropical lagoons, explored ancient ruins, became an Able-Bodied Seaman (it’s not really as impressive as it sounds), and best of all, I made some wonderful and interesting friends. 

The company also paid for me to get my doctorate, which was an adventure in itself.

Of course, I also had some experiences I hadn’t really counted on. I nearly got mugged in St. Thomas, spent a night in an abandoned motel in the middle of nowhere in southern Mexico, cowered in a hotel bathroom during a fierce tropical storm in St. Martin, broke my leg in Cozumel and my ribs in Tecamachalco, had to climb a mast—at sea in the middle of a hurricane—to repair the misen boom on a boat, took more than one shower with cockroaches the size of a Pekingese, and was medevac’d by helicopter during a gale on the Pacific Ocean after being creamed in the head by flying debris.  


As a friend once told me, if most people knew what was in store for them when they set off on an adventure, they’d never have the courage to start out on one. 

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll give you some tips on how to take your own adventures on a shoestring—and survive them.

All photos copyright of Pepper O'Neal and friends

Pepper's website: http://www.pepperoneal.com


Pepper O'Neal said...

You asked why you couldn't have hard-sided luggage. The reason is that boats, no matter how big, are cramped for space. There's simply no room for suitcases that don't collapse. A duffel bag can be folded or rolled into a very small package whereas a regular suitcase can't. Something to remember if you ever take a cruise.


Miss Mae said...

WOWWW! Of course, none of that stuff probably seemed adventurous at the time, but now you have such fantastic memoirs!

VERY interesting tales, indeed!

Sherry Gloag said...

Thanks for explaining, so simple when you think about it :-).
Best wishes with your books and Valentine story.

Sherry Gloag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Borenstadt said...

Wow! What adventures! :)

Pepper O'Neal said...

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate you stopping by. And you're right, Mae. At the time it seemed like a lot of work and a lot of fun. But looking back on it I seriously wonder how I survived parts of it.


StrugglingToMakeIt said...

What fascinating adventures! Way better than office life. And you also have plenty of fodder for your writing. Congrats on your upcoming releases!

Fiona said...

Fortune favours the brave. Good for you for getting out there and "living" your life! I'm jealous. Maybe 2011 I'll chase those dreams a little harder and have my own adventures to blog about. ;-)