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Columbus, Ohio:
Inspiration for Long-distance Travel
Way back in 1983, I was doing what most struggling young freelancers do: taking on a succession of projects, destroying old passions by turning them into businesses, and trying to make enough money to stay afloat. My lifestyle had become suburban, and as I clattered around my boring acre in an itchy haze of midwestern pollen and lawnmower smoke I wondered what had gone wrong. "Freelancing" was an illusion; I was chained to my desk and deep in debt like everyone else. Stuck.
Worse, change, evolution, and growth had begun to sound like vague counterculture concepts instead of the basic objectives of daily living.Where had all my passions gone? One afternoon I listed them: writing, adventure, computer design, ham radio, bicycling, romance, learning, networking, publishing... each of these things had at one time or another kept me up all night in a delicious frenzy of fun and giddy intellectual growth. Yet my reality had become one of performing decreasingly interesting tasks for the sole purpose of paying bills, supporting a lifestyle I didn't like in a house I didn't like in a city I didn't like. I had forgotten how to play. Could it still be possible to construct a lifestyle entirely of passions, or was losing the spark a sadly inevitable part of growing up?

Combining the passions in my list and abandoning all "rational thought," the obvious solution was to simply equip a recumbent bicycle with ham radio and computer gear, establish a virtual home in the nascent online networks, and travel full-time while writing and consulting for a living.