Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adventurer Discovers Strategies to Capitalize Triumphs & Misfortunes

Memoirist seeks to inspire his peers to get out and make nice with the world

Adam Shepard is my guest on the Passion Sense blog celebrating the release of his new book ONE YEAR LIVED
Adam has a passion for adventure, which you'll see by his bio. He's also a speaker and author empowering people by sharing what he has learned on his journeys to elevate people's performance. He creates strategies for success by capitalizing on both triumphs and misfortunes. Too many people are living the instant gratification life or have the entitlement attitude. By taking initiative and broadening their perspective, many people can enhance their lives and reach their goals.

His book ONE YEAR LIVED is an adventure story of his travels backpacking through 17 countries and the life lessons he learned that we can all use to enhance out lives.


Check out the end of this post for a chance to WIN a copy of Adam Shepard's new book ONE YEAR LIVED.

Attending Merrimack College in North Andover, MA on a basketball scholarship, Adam Shepard graduated with a degree in Business Management and Spanish. Serving as a Resident Advisor during his upperclassmen years, he began to take particular interest in the social issues of our nation. Shortly after graduation—with almost literally $25 to his name—Shepard departed his home state for Charleston, SC, embarking on the journey that has now become his successful first book, Scratch BeginningsScratch Beginnings tells the story of starting with $25, a sleeping bag, and the clothes on his back in a random city to test the values of hard work and discipline in today’s “me first, gotta have it right now” society.

After a whirlwind journey that took his self-published book to the Today Show, CNN, Fox News, and NPR, he sold Scratch Beginnings to HarperCollins and made appearances on the Dave Ramsey Show and 20/20. He has likewise been featured in the The New York Times, the New York Post, The Atlantic, and The Christian Science Monitor, and Scratch Beginnings has now been used on the curriculum or as a First Year Common Read at over 90 colleges and universities in the United States and translated across the world.

After a few years working as the world’s slowest bartender, Adam set out in the world to spend all of the money he had been saving. The narrative of this experience—a spirited blend of leisure, volunteerism, and enrichment—comprises his most recent book, One Year Lived. One Year Lived tells Shepard’s tales of travel and life lessons learned among seventeen countries, four continents, 42,134.6 miles, and one haunting encounter with a savage bull.

In his spare time, he reads, plays tennis, and travels the country empowering audiences to elevate performance by taking initiative. His keynote speech What Will You Do Next? details strategies for capitalizing on both triumph and misfortune.

Adam fights bulls here: 

(Raleigh, N.C.) – Do Americans—young Americans, especially—really know what’s going on in the world? Are we prepared to embrace globalization? Adam Shepard hopes his story will inspire young people to get out and arm themselves with a broader perspective.

By the time he was 30, the North Carolina man had already completed goals most people wait a lifetime to pursue.

From late 2011 to late 2012, spending just $19,420.68, less than it would have cost him to stay at home, Shepard visited seventeen countries on four continents and lived some amazing adventures. "It’s interesting to me," he says, "that in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe, it’s normal for people to pack a bag, buy a plane ticket, and get ‘Out There.’ In the U.S., though, we live with this very stiff paradigm—graduate college, work, find a spouse, make babies, work some more, retire—which can be a great existence, but we leave little room to load up a backpack and dip into various cultures, to see places, to really develop our own identity."

His journey began in "the other Antigua"—Antigua, Guatemala—where Shepard spent a month brushing up on his Spanish and traveling on the "chicken bus." During his two months in Honduras, he served with an organization that helps improve the lives of poor children; in Nicaragua, he dug wells to install pumps for clean water and then stepped into the ring to face a savage bull; in Thailand, he rode an elephant and cut his hair into a mullet; in Australia, he hugged a koala, contemplated the present-day treatment of the Aborigines, and mustered cattle; in Poland, he visited Auschwitz; in Slovakia, he bungee jumped off a bridge; and in the Philippines, he went wakeboarding among Boracay’s craggy inlets and then made love to Ivana on the second most beautiful beach in the world.

His yearlong journey, which took two years to save for, was a spirited blend of leisure, volunteerism, and enrichment. He read 71 books, including ten classics and one—slowly—in Spanish. "If you can lend a hand to someone, educate yourself about the world, and sandwich that around extraordinary moments that get your blood pumping, that’s a pretty full year," Shepard writes.
One Year Lived is the compelling and transparent account of his experiences abroad.

The trip comes just three years after he made national headlines for taking a year to test the viability of the American Dream. With just $25 in his pocket, he boarded a train and headed to Charleston, SC. He lived in a homeless shelter for 70 days and took odd jobs until finding a full-time job as a mover, eventually earning enough money to buy a pickup truck and a furnished apartment.

Can everybody take a year to get missing? "Maybe, maybe not," he says, "though that’s not really the point. I’m just concerned that some of us are too set on embracing certainty. We want life to be cushy and regimented, but that’s not how we can create a lasting impact on our lives or the lives around us. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom. Sometimes you have to get out there to experience it, to touch it, to feel it, to see it for yourself. It’s fascinating the perspective we can gain when we step out of our bubbles of comfort, even just a little bit."

Readers: Share a favorite place that you've traveled to where you learned something about yourself or the people there or the world we live in. (Not required to enter contest.)

I've learned many things from places I've traveled. I also visited Guatemala in the 90s when their civil war was still going on. The people were very poor and worked long, hard hours. They were kind, proud and happy. They lived very simply. A straw mat on the floor was their bed, wove cloth to sell for food, but they were always friendly and polite. One image I won't get out of my mind: A man with an automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, and in his other arm he carried a little girl of about three (his daughter?). She was smiling and giggling and so was he. How much we take for granted.

Adam's website:


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