Inspired by reading the Swiss Family Robinson, I left home in the Ohio rustbelt in 1978, at 15 years old, and flew to Hawaii, where I planned to live in a treehouse. I found work as a cook, and trained to become a chef. At the same time, I discovered Hawaii's big waves and surfing. Over the next few years, I learned American Red Cross lifesaving skills, became a County of Hawaii Water Safety Officer, and went on to start a surf school. I taught water safety and surf skills to hundreds of people including international celebrities, movie stars and astronauts from NASA.
My love for traveling, learning, and meeting new people led me to the University of Hawaii's Chinese culture summer program at Peking University. It was a great way to travel and earn a B.A. at the same time. This path led to study abroad in China, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Spain.
After graduating, I was fortunate enough to obtain a prestigious Taiwan Scholarship to study for a Master's degree. My research took me to the mountains of Taiwan to live among the world's last headhunters, the Formosan aborigines, and document their lives in ethnographic films.
Surfing remained my true passion, and after discovering perfect uncrowded waves on the Andaman Coast, I moved to Phuket, Thailand, to join the Faculty of International Studies at Prince of Songkla University. My ongoing research on surf tourism and the environment has led to an MBA, a PhD, and a growing list of publications.
I hope others can benefit from my story and find success in their own lives.