Act One of Don’s life lasted 30 years and represented the period when he Did As He Was Told. He went to school, then, though unmotivated, to college and as a result flunked out. The Air Force during the Vietnam War (stationed in Thailand and Japan) taught him the value of education, however, and once discharged, he returned to school and graduated with a degree in photojournalism.
Act Two began when he discovered cycling, specifically cycle-touring. He basically dropped out and, despite the misgivings of family and friends, jumped off a figurative cliff and embarked with his girlfriend (still a close friend) on a 14-month bicycle tour of Europe and North Africa. It was the best thing he ever did, and eventually led to a solo tour of Asia, which in turn landed him in Tokyo. He intended to say for six months, and that was 1982. But all the while, perhaps subconsciously, he has considered Tokyo a stopover. His dreams have somehow always had to do with roads. He is still curious and wants–no, needs–to know what’s around the next bend, over the next hill. Tokyo is without a doubt the most exciting city in the world, but it’s not everything.
So now he is poised once more on that cliff edge and ready again to hit the road. Admittedly, this is not a blind jump. He has arranged to continue his film criticism from the truck, and is taking leaves of absence from his other employers. And anyway, this is only a semi-retirement. The plan is to spend summers and winters in North America, traveling between Canada and Cancun, and spring and fall in Japan, when the weather is best for cycling. Still, anything can happen, and probably will. And doing this, figures Don, is better than not doing it.
Mark Twain said it like this:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
The open road beckons…