Paradise 2 Pavement | About
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My name is Derek and I’m 30 years old.  I was at the end of a six month job contract pulling communication cable at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida when I was offered an internal position downrange in Antigua, West Indies.  The job was basically the same, communications; pulling cable, SATCOM, communication security, telecommunications, television system, and fiber optics.  In short, Antigua Air Station was a U.S. Air Force Station that collected telemetry, radar, and command/destruct data from rocket launches out of Florida and Virginia.

So in March, 2009 I canceled my lease, dumped the girlfriend, sold everything but my clothes and surfboards and I was off to the Caribbean.  Everything happened so fast!  I was offered the job and in a week I was on the plane heading for a country that the only knowledge I had of was the orientation VHS my work gave me that was recorded in the 80’s.  The free room and board sounded great to me, even if it was on base.  Plus who wouldn’t want to go live in the Caribbean and get paid for it.  My plan was to take advantage of the living conditions and try to save all my money for a year or two.  I was hoping that would be good enough for a down payment on a house back in Florida and I’d try to find a permanent job back at the space center.

I went to Antigua with the mindset of planning to go home before I even got there.  Thankfully I befriended a group of locals that changed my mindset.  The breaks had no crowds, the weather was constantly flawless, the job was secure and offered tuition assistance so I settled in.  I learned how to kiteboard, earned two degrees, met a bunch of friends I’ll have for a lifetime, and opened my mind up to traveling and experiencing what the world has to offer.  6 years later I received the news that they were closing down the base.

So I had to make a decision on what I’m going to do next with my life.  Even though I just finished my masters, I wasn’t in a huge rush to go back to working for the weekends.  I have always wanted to go on a road trip around America and got tons of inspiration from expedition portal forums.  I figured that if going to move back to the states why not take the money I had saved for a house and do that trip I’ve always wanted to do while I’m still young.  I fell in love with 4×4 vans, so I started my research and the plan pieced itself together.

The Dog “Tigua”

This guy snuck on base and showed up on my doorstep in March 2015.  He was just skin and bones so I threw him some food and had the vet check him out.  He would follow me everywhere on base and no one was really kicking up a fuss, just yet.  Animals weren’t allowed on the base, but there were tons of cats that people fed.  It wasn’t until his brother and sister showed up a week later that the chatter started.  So the dogs were going to have to be taken to the human society unless they found homes.  So I sent him to live with my parents in Florida until I moved back to the states.  They always say, the right dog will find you.  I’m so glad he did.

The Van “Dawn Patrol”

My van is a 2003 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel.  It has a 6″ lift and 4×4 conversion done by UJoint Off Road.  I sprayed bed liner inside and out, as well as underneath.  I converted it into a Class B, full with a bed and all the other amenities to make it as comfortable as possible.