We had the good fortune of connecting with Annette Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Annette, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
Hands down, the most significant impact with my kids is sharing the gifts and values of travel.

In the summer of 1998 we headed on our first family of three adventure to the land of the midnight sun.  One of the fondest memories I have is my son’s disbelief, “Mom, we are really going to play at the park at bedtime?”   They were four and six and giddy with excitement.  I was too.  There we were, 8:30 pm playing in a park in Anchorage Alaska. I thought I was going to see Reed launch himself over the handlebars of the spring toy; he was so full of energy.   We slept so well that night after playtime and with the help of trash bags that were our makeshift blackout curtains.
The following spring, serendipity took the three of us to wander around Monet’s Garden in France.  An invitation to fundraise and run for Leukemia Society for a second year in a row, this was special being only offered to Team in Training Alumni.
That year the Paris Marathon fell on Easter Sunday and on Evan’s spring break.  The stars aligning in an uncanny way so we went.  The invitation came within a week of our visit to a Monet exhibit in Balboa Park after we had returned from Alaska.
Travel has had a significant impact on our life and when you add opportunities to be of service and playing sport it has been a magical alchemy for all of us.  I sometimes wonder how we fit so much into those years, working full time, sports, travel, and Team in Training.  At the heart of it was purpose, perspective, in service for others and travel being a mechanism to deliver all those benefits.
To travel the world has broadened our perspective both near and far and continues to this day, although differently in 2020.  We have friends that are like family that span the world.  All three of us have lived abroad independent of one another in multiple countries.  Travel informs our world view as we discuss social issues, election choices, and how we make a difference whether in business and career or making choices of what we buy and how we dispose of things.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
2020 has been a lot of things.  It is a rare being or business that has gotten out of 2020 unscathed by the events.  The pandemic, the social injustices, the ensuing economic backlash, all of it has brought repercussions.

In 2020 Trilogy Design Works, my leadership development practice, was preparing launch immersive travel journeys to enhance life skills (communication, connection, transitions) for busy executives and develop life skills in students in at risk circumstances.  My business pivot has been working on my first book to help people adapt and adjust with all the uncertainty and chaos 2020 has presented us.

In 2021 the book and Trilogy Design Works are prepared to help people do some sense making of their 2020 experiences.  Further we will act as a guide to introduce resources to help people with their present and plan for their future no matter what comes our way.  The book will share tools, frameworks, and practices with readers.   The readers will choose what makes sense for them.  This is an opportunity to tailor how these resources will work for them, their life, circumstances, and environment.   As the designer the reader decides what actions to take to create their future.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am going to tailor this itinerary with an R&R emphasis.  Rest and renewal along with safety and wellbeing is my focus for their visit. We can always adapt as the desires and circumstances warrant.  My proposed itinerary for the week is based on many opportunities for outdoor recreation and delicious, unique, local dining options.

First we head north to my small town of Solana Beach, CA.  Located in North County Coastal San Diego – Solana Beach, CA – is a quiet little town – a coastal gem – yes, I am biased and I was lucky enough to raise my kids here.   It is a great place to take in the beach, trails, and tide pools.
On the coast, we will take many morning beach walks in Solana Beach, which has 1.7 miles of coastline, Del Mar to the south, and Cardiff State Beach to the north.
Solana Beach is about 25 miles north of San Diego and the beaches are accessible year round because of the inviting climate.  We will check the tide charts to ensure accessibility to walk the beach.  Swimming is possible year round, the winter water is especially chilly and most people wear wetsuits.  Low tides and negative tides produce some wonderful access to the tide pools between Solana Beach and Cardiff State Beach.  The Coastal Rail Trail on Highway 101 provides an alternative on mornings when the tide might be too high to stay dry on a beach walk.
We’d definitely do a couple of day trips down to San Diego.  One of my favorite is sailing and whale watching on the tall ship, America.  Recently we were fon the America yet again, this time to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Captain Troy and his crew are welcoming and have adapted to provide everyone a safe venture compliant with the latest health safety protocols for the well being and happiness of all onboard.  I’d combine that sailing trip with an early dinner, enjoying the outdoor ambiance of Solare at historic Liberty Station.  The food and wine offerings at Solare are first rate, great for friends, family, and vegetarians, pescatarians, and meat eaters.  Solare’s vibe is enjoyable for all though not necessarily where you’d take little ones.  It’s located super close to the airport making it convenient for inbound guests yet sometimes a little noisy.
With relaxation in mind I would space out the day trips down to San Diego.  The next downtown jaunt includes visit to two world famous attractions.  The B-C combo would include Balboa Park and Coronado Island.  Animal lovers and those curious about biomimicry may enjoy a trip to San Diego Zoo.  If arts, history, nature or aeronautics are more desirable, Balboa Park boasts 17 museums.  The  park trails there are also beautiful to walk or run.  Then a short drive over the beautiful Coronado Bridge to enjoy the legendary Hotel Del Coronado and other local sights.
If the visit is in the fall, a trip out to Julian, would be one more scenic excursion to consider.  Julian is about a 90 minute drive from San Diego.  It is a historic gold mining town now famous for its apples and amazing apple pie bakeries.  Julian is also far enough away from the city lights to make an excellent nighttime viewing area for meteor showers.  We enjoyed the Leonids meteor shower from there in November.
On days when we stay local to Solana Beach, it is quite relaxing since it is a fairly walkable town.  There are great options for food and drinks.  Located across from the Amtrak train station is Claire’s on Cedros, it’s outdoors and very popular for both breakfast and lunch.  I also love the French cafe, Madeleine’s, and their scrumptious crepes further south on Cedros.
There’s so much to see, do, and experience that we’d also be making a list for options for the next trip.  The list begins with a repeat hike of Torrey Pines State Park, adding next time the labyrinth walk with a view of the famous Torrey Pines Golf course, lunch at the Glider Port overlooking La Jolla Shores…

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutouts to people at two specific organizations blazing trails for accessibility.  Erik Weihenmayer, Dave Shurna, and Cindy Bean at No Barriers USA, helping people with visible and invisible disabilities discover, “What’s in you is stronger than what’s in your way.”

And shoutout to Gretchen Evans and Team Unbroken as they head into their second competition in the World’s Toughest Race, the Eco-Challenge Patagonia.  Team Unbroken was the first team of people, all with disabilities, to have a seat at this adventure racing table during Eco-Challenge Fiji.
Instagram: @annettemason1
Twitter: @annettemason
Image Credits
Annette Mason
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