I remember sitting in my grade six classroom staring out the window dreaming of basketball, star wars, and my grade six crush. I looked around the classroom and wondered if any of the other kids were actually paying attention to what the teacher was saying. My wandering imagination has always been more fascinating to me then what most others had to teach. I would dream and fantasize constantly; paying little attention to the boring or mundane moments in life. Later on, I would learn this is the blessed curse of writers; a never ending imagination of possible wonders. I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer till very late in life. The first piece of literature that broke open a little crack in the doorway was the poem Ulysses by Lord Alfred Tennyson. It was my grade twelve English class where I heard that inspiring piece for the first time. Incredibly, it was the first time that any piece of writing had any sort of affect on me. That moment inspired me to travel to Europe that summer for the first time; and that was simply the best decision I have ever made. I grew more in character that summer then I ever had before. I realized the world was a grand and vast place that I had yet to make my mark upon. As I traveled, my imagination seemed to stand still while I marveled at all Europe had to offer. Everything was so fresh and alive to me; I was seeing new things and different horizons. I took my first little step closer towards experiencing a few fleeting moments of enlightened that summer. I would return to Europe three years later to find my true self. I was in Corfu Greece sitting on a rock enjoying the splendor of the brilliant pink sunset. I made a list of everything I loved and hated about myself. I looked at it for a long time- and then threw it into the ocean. Then this absolutely overwhelming feeling of joy invaded my soul, and I wept with tears of joy for the first time in my life. I was happy to be who I was; and proud of the accomplishments that I had made. That cry was the best cry of my life: I was forever a changed man. Nothing could hold me back from returning to Europe that next summer. I needed to go back and sit on that very same rock to figure out what I want to do with my life. The question I put to myself was simple. If I could do anything at all, what would make me the happiest? The answer didn’t come to me at that moment sitting on my rock once again, but when I left Greece on a ferry ride to Italy; the answer came while gazing out at the never ending horizon and sunset before me. I was listening to Ben Harpers song ‘Give a man a home’ and I finally figure it out. I wanted to travel the entire world and write about my journey. That would make me the happiest man I could be. I knew that was the answer I was looking for more then I knew anything else on earth. I traveled up along the coast to arrive in Barcelona a couple of days later; there I received my first meeting with fate. I arrived in Barcelona very late at night and there wasn’t a bed to be found anywhere. I stored my backpack in a locker at the train station and headed to the beach to crash. I awoke miserably that morning, I searched everywhere for 5 hours to find a place to stay; the hot sun was pouring down on me and my heavy backpack was digging deeper and deeper into my shoulder. I had no luck at all. I was ready to give up and get back on the train, I decided to give it one more try and go back to a hostel that had put me on a waiting list. Finally, the hostel L’Auberge Palau had only one bed available; I quickly snatched it up. On my bed was a copy of The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho: a story about a sacred journey to Santiago Compostela in Northern Spain to become a new man and leave all the past behind. I decided it would become part of my journey and I traveled to that majestic place. In the cathedral of Saint James of Compostela; I felt the undeniable presence of god with me at the moment, and I knew that there was a higher source of power at work here on earth. When I returned home I quickly picked up a copy of Paulo Coelho’s famous book The Alchemist. I realized everything I would ever need to know about listening to my heart and chasing my dreams. I was the Shepard boy who loved to travel and was seeking his personal treasure by following his dreams. From that moment on, I dedicated my life to becoming a writer. It’s my greatest dream and personal legend. I had finally found what I was looking for; my destiny. Ulysses is still my favorite poem and The Alchemist my favorite book by my favorite writer. So there it is; the story behind my journey to become a travel writer.