When Adam Shepard contacted me about his book, I was cautious. After all, here he was contacting me out of the blue. We had no connections - that I know of then, anyway.
So, I did what any cautious writer would do, I researched him. What a surprise! I learned that Adam is a young man, who has taken life seriously enough to live his dreams without apology, risking comfort, the familiar and security to learn about the world around him as well as to discover who he is.
I, also, learned that we did have some common ground. Adam Shepard attended Merrimac College in Andover, Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. (OK, I can claim this as a slight connection - I have relatives that attended Merrimac and I was on campus, once.) He was also a basketball player, which I must confess is the one sport I enjoyed in my high school/college days. (Another connection!) Shortly after graduation, he set off with literally $25 in his pocket to see if he could make a living for himself - in other words, get a job, apartment, car, savings - within a year. He left home and after a year had the makings for his first book, Scratch Beginnings.
I was impressed, to say the least, but I wondered, what had he learned from this adventure? From what I could see, he learned that life isn't always easy, the some people can't get out of the hole they find themselves in and that perhaps there was more for him to learn out there in the world. Something kept coming back to him - an incident that happened at school.
Back on a snowy day at Merrimac, when everything came to a halt, he sat down and created a list of things he would do in his life if he ever got a chance. Over the years, he refined the list until the day he read about an old man that had such a list and actually did the things on it. (Morgan Freeman, one of my favorite actors, actually starred in a movie, a few years back, about just such a list called, Bucket List.)
Adam, however, thought why wait until I get older to do these things, why not do them now?! So, he took his savings, got a map and headed to the countries around the world that were on his list. The result was a book, One Year Lived, which is part memoir, part travelogue, and part ethnography.
Check out Adam's video trailer to see what I mean.
One of the best parts of Adam's book, for me, was his realizing that he had met the woman of his dreams. I can only imagine the adventure they will have together.
Thanks for sharing your year, Adam! May we all learn to take that leap of faith into the world, hopefully leaving it better than when we first arrived.