“So, what’s up with the mask??”
I’ve gotten that one often, so I’ll explain.
I grew up a huge fan of pro wrestling and martial arts. My Saturday mornings as a kid were dedicated to WWF and Kung Fu Theater. I also became very entertained with Mexican “lucha libre” wrestling, where the combatants all wore colorful masks.
I got myself a “luchador” mask in Mexico back in the day, one that had the Green Bay Packers “G” logo on it (as I am a proud native “cheesehead” of Wisconsin). Once I started the Gringo With A Green Bag brand, I began to incorporate the mask into my travels, just for fun. It was a no brainer, as I traveled often through Mexico and Latin America, was an avid wrestling fan, and the mask had a “G” on it (which represented “Gringo” and was an opportunity to represent my team as well).
The “conquistador” concept that I playfully integrate comes from my time living in Spain, where my travel interest initially took root. It was the first country I had ever traveled to. The very first independent (solo) trip I ever did was to a remote region of Spain called Extremadura. It is a semi-barren and sort of “off the radar” part of the country, sharing a border with Portugal. For some reason, that really enticed me. I wanted to go where others weren’t going. The Spanish and Portuguese were arguably among the greatest explorers and navigators the world has ever known, so I knew there was some compelling history there. Extremadura is significant because it was the home and breeding ground of Spain’s infamous “New World” Conquistadors (Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, etc.). This is where the travel bug really bit me for the first time. I remember looking at the statues of these figures and meandering through Old World corridors and ancient Roman ruins. I started thinking about the history and significance of these lands, and how the native voyagers from this little corner of the world changed and shaped the course of history through their “conquests”.
For me, the “conquistador” label, as I like to utilize it, is not a tribute to the brutality of their pursuits, nor to the men themselves. Rather, it is to the idea of voyaging to distant, unknown lands…not knowing what to expect. To discovering new places, people and unfamiliar cultures. To interacting with people of different backgrounds and languages, and to sharing such “discoveries” with the world. I treat each voyage as a personal “conquest”. A conquest of gaining experience and familiarity with a new, often foreign, part of the world…and to properly telling its story. A conquest of a different type of riches. A conquest to enrich the soul. The “conquistador” label is a tribute to that same storied land I visited at a very young and curious age, the one where the inspiration of my “conquests” first began.
I can’t really explain as to how the disco ball in this photo ties into it all. I just thought it might look cool and compliment the new mask. 🙂
#FutureRetro #GringoWithAGreenBag #GWAGB