• Shane Dillon

My Story

Do you know we have more neurons in our brain than there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy?

If that doesn’t blow your mind, think about this: there are more synapses in the human brain than stars in the whole universe.

So, based on my calculations. In this 12” x 6” inch space called my head, there is a universe. When you think about it this way, you realize what amazing creatures we are!

Our brains essentially house a universe. Which makes us quite powerful! But, somehow we can’t answer the simple question: What is the meaning of life? I have been searching for the answer to this question my whole life.

I grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois. It was a great place to grow up. There wasn’t any crime and as a kid, we pretty much had the run of the town. My friends and I spent our day's crisscrossing town on our bicycles in search of fun. Some days fun came in the form of a game of tackle football. Other days fun came in the form of hunting for crawdads in the creek out back.

When you are a kid, every day is so exciting. Each day is like a gift-wrapped present waiting to be opened.

Unfortunately, as I grew older I lost sight of the adventure in life. Playing football was replaced by paying bills. And my daily excitement turned into thinking about what was for dinner.

At the beginning of my career, I worked eight hours a day or forty hours a week. As I moved up the ladder, I started working longer days and even on the weekends. Forty hours a week turned into fifty hours a week. Fifty hours soon turned into sixty. I was a walking zombie and life was a bore. The little free time I had, I was too tired to enjoy. It was pathetic.

One day, I woke up!

After fifteen years of working entirely too much, I decided it was time to make a change. It was time to take my life back and to start living for the adventure again.

My awakening happened about three years ago when I read the book Moods of Future Joys by Alastair Humphreys. It changed my life. The book is about Alastair Humphreys’ bicycle journey around the world on $10,000. It took him four years to complete his journey and, amazingly his money lasted. The book made me realize just about anything was possible and that I was wasting my time sitting behind a desk.

From his inspiration, I immediately started planning my own bicycle journey. I knew I didn’t have it in me to cycle around the world. Instead, I decided to ride my bicycle across the United States.

In April of 2017, I began my bicycle journey. I had no plans, other than to ride west from Jacksonville, Florida to San Francisco, CA. Being that I had quit my job, I had no schedule to stick to. On my bicycle, I carried all of my things in two saddlebags or panniers, including camping gear, clothes, and food.

Living the minimalist life, I learned quickly that I didn’t need much to be happy. That happiness doesn’t come from “things”.

While cycling across the country, I began to randomly apply for jobs all around the world. I didn’t really expect to get any of them, but the thought of living abroad brought me happiness.

Then, one day it happened. Poof! Out of nowhere, I received an email for a job offer to teach in Garrucha, Spain. Which, turned out to be a beautiful, Mediterranean fishing village.

The timing was perfect. I rode my bike about across the US, realizing that my job in Spain would be starting in a little over two months. Everything went to plan and I cycled into San Francisco in late July.

In September of 2017, I landed in Barcelona Spain. I had just finished my bike ride across the United States. I decided I would continue riding my bike in Spain. From Barcelona, I rode for three-weeks along the Mediterranean coast to my little fishing village where I would be teaching. It was awesome having the sea to cool off in and a beach to sleep on each night.

Little did I know, but my next adventure would come in the form of being a teacher. I had never taught a day in my life and now I was teaching English to first graders through sixth graders! I was reminded real quick how special little kids are. They are pure happiness and a gift to humanity.

For the kiddos, every day is like a festival of learning and smiles.

Teaching immediately took me back to feeling like a kid again. I knew immediately I had made the right decision to leave my desk job behind, even with a significant reduction in pay.

Towards the end of the school year, I decided to cycle across Europe and to write a book along the way.

It was straight out of a movie. Throughout the summer, on my journey, I stopped in cafes all across Europe to write and enjoy the local pastries. After about two months on the road, I completed my first book. I was so motivated, I started my second novel and finished it two months later. It was an amazing summer! Not only did I cycle across twelve countries, but I also completed my first two novels.

After finishing my bike ride across Europe, I returned to Spain where I live today.

Life is an amazing journey!

Anytime I lose sight of this, I think about the idea of having more neurons in my brain than stars in the galaxy. What more proof do you need to justify your existence? We’re all capable of so much more than we know. If you are not happy, then make a change in your life. There is so much to be learned from reading books. Who knows, maybe someday my books will have the same effect on others.

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