Since I was a child, I had always thought that I would become a painter, but I was a dreamer and had a penchant for sky gazing. My father was a software engineer, so I became an aerospace engineer (UCLA, 1990).
After a brief stint as an aircraft engineer, I realized that I was inherently unfit for cubicle work. I quit my job to pursue an M.B.A. and an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering; however, graduate schools could not dispel my restlessness. At last, I abandoned my studies, and, saddled with debts, I tried my hand at writing for a living. I dabbled in technical writing and editing and spent several wonderful years as a starving artist while working as a restaurant critic for a local newspaper.
It has been a long arduous road, filled with dark abysses, marvelous heights, gut-rotting doubts, exquisite joys, heartbreaks, memorable feasts, and long stretches of hunger.
The view ahead seems to promise more of the same.
But I have enjoyed the journey immensely. There is some truth in the old proverb: The rewarding path is never easy, the easy path never rewarding.
Along the way, I’ve held a dozen different jobs and lived in eight cities scattered across four states. I have been traveling and living abroad since 2002.
In a way, I have become a painter of sort. Medium: words on paper. Subject: life as I see it.
Along the way, I’ve managed to do a few interesting things …
- owned, sailed, and lived on a sailboat for two years, dreaming of circumnavigation (a dream never realized)
- taught myself to fly ultralights and hang gliders
- designed, built, flew, and crashed my own ultralight
- pedalled around Cuba solo for a month on a $65 Chinese bicycle at the turn of the millenium
- lived alone in a hut on an isolated tropical island and wrote a book using a laptop powered by a car battery
- owned and rode a motorcycle and a bicycle as my only means of transportation for a decade
- kept a month-long vow of silence
- joined villagers chasing wild elephants from cornfields
- spent a year touring on a bicyle and sleeping on the ground
- helped two women fight sexual harrashment in the workplace
- created an architectural design for the WTC–A Vision 9/11 and rendered it into verse (read it on NPR to 20 millionlisteners and inspired two winning designs, 17 Oct 2001)
- connected with hundreds of wonderful people through my books
- learned how to calculate trajectories of rocketship to the far reaches of the solar system
- invented a cost-effective reinforcement system to build my own cantilever staircase
- opened jungle land, built a road, created a small farm, and built a traditional wooden bungalow from trees harvested my land on the Mekong River
- spent the last decade touring and living in Southeast Asia
- wrote, cooked, plated, co-photographed, and self-published a cookbook
- launched a successful Kickstarter campaign
- founding an internet company to reinvent publishing: Spoonwiz.com