Lance Mason

The Lessons of Drnc

travelers-tales

Lance Mason

Grand Prize Silver Winner in the Eighteenth Annual Solas Awards

Early August, 1970. Gearing down on the last hill, a quartz-white sun rising behind me, aiming the VW microbus onto the Bay of Kotor’s perimeter road. Last week I’d farewelled Istanbul’s Golden Horn and the Old City’s bazaars, swung west and north though Greece, motoring up through Macedonia and Skopje. In a week I’d load the bus on a ship from Bremerhaven to California, but was detouring now up the Adriatic coast because, weeks before, some German friends in Köln had praised its beauty. So, I’d crossed the Kosovan passes near Pech, encircled by the fists of igneous, snow-strewn crags, and then wheeled down through Montenegro to Kotor. Read full story
The Lessons of Drnc2024-06-17T13:06:34-07:00

The Physics of Regret

travelers-tales

By Lance Mason

A suicide memoir, disrupted.

While any high-speed “get-off” from a motorcycle is a brush with death, each one is unique. So here you are, zipping over the asphalt at sixty miles per, and the next moment your machine’s wheels depart the ground. Its normal exhaust note, a throaty, twin-cylinder rumble-and-thump, vanishes, immediately replaced by the alarming, metallic whine of a combustion engine freed from resistance.
The Physics of Regret2017-04-24T02:31:55-07:00

No Polish Jokes

travelers-tales

By Lance Mason

An unscripted chapter at sea.

I'd looked forward to this day since the previous New Zealand winter, when I bought the boat ticket in Dunedin. Now it was August again, and I found myself at the Antwerp dockyards about to board a small, rust-encrusted Polish Ocean Lines freighter, the Czaszki, for a two-week voyage to Venezuela, the fabled land of Simón Bolívar, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Wages of Fear” (starring Yves Montand), and, in years to come, several Miss Universe winners. It would be our first stop after crossing the Atlantic, and my blood stirred with the thrill and apprehension of the unknown.
No Polish Jokes2017-04-24T02:31:59-07:00

The Train to Harare

travelers-tales

By Lance Mason

A lesson in southern Africa, circa 1988.

In Africa, we are all children. Everything is new, and everything is old. The sapling sprouting among the creepers is new; the forest, old. Though the baby in the kaross sling is new, his tribe is old. The dawn’s breeze swirls the dust over the Magadigadi pans and is gone, but the ancient dust remains, the scorched powder of a continent’s bones.The heat of the Kalahari, thick and mighty across this sweep of gasping desert, has a life-force of its own. Like an animal, it waits, resting, through the African night. But with the day it stirs, and grows with the sun, gathering power like a sky-borne fist.
The Train to Harare2017-04-24T02:31:59-07:00