How Bill Mason Changed My Thinking – Bicycle Touring Pro

How Bill Mason Changed My Thinking

It was my Uncle Tom who first introduced me to the artist, author, filmmaker, and world-renowned canoeist, Bill Mason.

Mason’s filmmaking struck such a chord with me that I wrote a paper about him for a film history class I took while in college.

When the professor was handing the graded papers back in class, she kept mine till last and told me she wanted to speak to me after class was over. Boy did I think I was in trouble! But as it turned out, she just wanted to praise me for such an inspirational piece of work.

“I’ve never read a paper filled with so much passion,” she told me. “You obviously have a great interest in this man and his work.”

And she was right. That paper on Bill Mason was one of my best pieces of college work… and the reason it was so good was because I cared about the subject I was writing about.

As time goes on and I learn more about myself, I realize that the things I do really well are the things I truly have a passion for. But unfortunately, society doesn’t always reward passion (at least not at first)… and for that reason, I’ve lately been worrying about bills and status, rather than pursuing the things that truly make me happy.

When times like this come around, the road calls to me and I know I need to get back out on my bike.

Over the years, I’ve come back to Mason time and time again… and his work reminds me that life isn’t all about the house you live in, the car you drive, or how much money you’ve got in the bank.

The reason I fell in love with traveling by bike was because it made me realize that you don’t need all those fancy things to make you happy. And it was Mason who first made me believe that I could do what I love, live the life I want to live, and be happy all at the same time.

Bill Mason died of cancer in 1988, but his films, books, and artwork live on today. The more I look back on his work, the more I realize that I would like to one day become the Bill Mason of bicycle touring and do for bicycle touring what he has done for the world of canoeing. He is truly the inspiration for my work now and in the future.

0 thoughts on “How Bill Mason Changed My Thinking

  1. Bob Wilson says:

    Wonderfully welcoming. Great example of the kind of attitude we all need in living in harmony with what God created.

  2. None says:

    Bill Mason’s film is wonderful, especially with his quotes from the Bible. Every person needs to find his/her means of inner peace that the Bills and Darrens of the world have found. We do not have to go far… physcially… to find that peace. I can bike from my driveway and return after a ride and feel more at home with the world and myself. I am about to purchase a kayak, and just the process of reasearching has taken me to places of peace.

  3. Doug Burns says:

    Very interesting video from Bill Mason. It reminded me of the many canoe, backpacking and bike trips I’ve been on. It is hard to convey to people how much you can see and feel when you slow down enough to see what is around you. Even as simple as bike touring and stopping to read all the historical road side markers. And then to see a patch a wild flowers. These things you can’t see at 65 miles an hour and not take the time to stop and enjoy.

    Great little video.

  4. Bob Jennett says:

    Bill Mason is a legend for canoeing in Canada. Every year there is a
    WATERWALKER Festival in all cities and towns throughout the country.
    I have met both his son and Daughter who continue to promote the message of
    canoeing. His son works for Madawaska canoe and kayak school I believe.
    My hometown in Peterborough Ontario is the capital of canoeing and the
    location of the canoe museum.

    Happy paddling.

  5. Paul Orsick says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this inspirational video.. Enjoyed his simple take on living and enjoying what you do..I can see how you could relate the passion for touring by bike like Bill did by canoeing..

  6. Chris Kmotorka says:

    The things you go through to do the things you love, eh? The painful struggles that somehow become perfect moments upon reflection. Finding beauty in the smallest things if you only take a moment to stop instead of rushing to the next destination. I remember a lazy canoe trip on Lake Superior when I was a kid. It was in June and we found ice and snow packed into the crevices of the rocks along the cliffs of the shoreline. That’s something I will always remember. The video brought to mind something about “hobbies” that entail journeys. You know where you’re going, where you should end up. But no matter how well you plan and prepare and think you have everything mapped out in your mind, the journey itself is always a surprise. There are always unexpected things to see and do. Unplanned mechanicals or weather or accidents, whatever, always change the landscape. You learn more traveling that way. You actually see the world and, rather than simply existing in a cocoon until you reach your destination (as in a car or plane), you actually experience the journey. And that’s what makes the destination worthwhile. Thanks for the link.

  7. Graham says:

    I enjoyed Bill’s video very much. The thought of being in the wilderness like that with just your thoughts. It did however concentrate on painting. Bill had a lot of gear that he doesn’t actually carry because he is propelled by the currents.

    I think his idea was more about stopping at a destination and spending time there.

    Thanks for the video.

  8. Roger Messman says:

    I just watched the video by Bill Mason, and I am ready to quit my job ( even though I am happy teaching math ) and buy a canoe and head for Lake Superior.

  9. Chris says:

    The things you go through to do the things you love, eh? The painful struggles that somehow become perfect moments upon reflection. Finding beauty in the smallest things if you only take a moment to stop instead of rushing to the next destination. I remember a lazy canoe trip on Lake Superior when I was a kid. It was in June and we found ice and snow packed into the crevices of the rocks along the cliffs of the shoreline. That’s something I will always remember. The video brought to mind something about “hobbies” that entail journeys. You know where you’re going, where you should end up. But no matter how well you plan and prepare and think you have everything mapped out in your mind, the journey itself is always a surprise. There are always unexpected things to see and do. Unplanned mechanicals or weather or accidents, whatever, always change the landscape. You learn more traveling that way. You actually see the world and, rather than simply existing in a cocoon until you reach your destination (as in a car or plane), you actually experience the journey. And that’s what makes the destination worthwhile.

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