Journey Story: Jan Basile

Feb 17, 2012

A traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution called “Journey Stories” is at Murray State’s Wrather West Kentucky Museum through March 10th.  So, we asked our listeners for their “Journey Stories.”  We received this one from Jan Basile  of Murray.

 Jan Basile of Murray offered her “Journey Story” for a limited series we’re producing to highlight the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition also called “Journey Stories.”  It’s at Wrather West Kentucky Museum at 16th and University Drive on the Murray State Campus


In her journey story, Jan Basile recounts her experience as a Peace corps volunteer in Brazil.  Another female volunteer, Jan and 2 male volunteers wanted to go up the Amazon River, but the women had no money to get there.  They had heard about the Brazilian Air Force allowing people to ride freight bearing flights.

Jan and her girlfriend Melodie went to the airport, and when they saw Brazilian Air Force pilots, they introduced themselves and talked their way (aka flirted) onto a flight. In the meantime, the guys took the commercial flight to Salvador de Bahia and met the women when they arrived on the Brazilian Air Force plan- much to the surprise of the pilots.

On the flight, Jan was strapped in like a piece of cargo.  There was a little hole in the window next to her and it attracted lots of little stuff that had been floating around the interior of the plane.

After they made this destination, Jan and Melodie talked to other pilots about the possibility of 4 passengers flying on a similar arrangement further up the coast.  Again, pilots were surprised when it turned out that 2 males were part of the party.  They made it to Recifie and caught another flight to Fortaleza.

By that time, waiting in an airport for the next free hop had grown too time-consuming so the foursome bought commercial tickets and made it to Belem, the embarkation point for the week-long Amazon trip by small boat.  It turns out that its fare demanded some economies, so the guys took a lower deck than the women – everyone thought that the better food on the upper deck could be shared.  Wrong.  The women couldn’t leave the upper deck once there, so the men had to put up with what they got, which was leftovers from the upper deck meals.  But that trip could have been the topic of yet another journey story.