When I was 9 years old, my family made a long driving tip from our home in New Jersey to Florida. This was long before I-95, and so, my first journey into the South was for the most part down Hwy 17.
Many images remain from that trip. Inevitably we entered the lowcountry of South Carolina. I can still recall seeing for the first time the endless marshes and palmetto trees, the Spanish moss veiling all the secrets that still lurk in the shadows of the old south. That trip made an impression way too big for me to have comprehended then or in the years to come.
Some people and places call to you in language you hopefully can understand, and it is wise to pay attention.
Many years later, as I was considering colleges, I abruptly said no to several other schools and inexplicably decided to attend the University of South Carolina.
College turned out to have been a lot easier to get into than to graduate from. When I enrolled for the first time, I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted to do with my life other than to have as much fun as possible, at which I excelled. I dropped out of school several times, vowing to never return. But then I had an epiphany; for the first time in my life, it seemed, a very clear vision emerged and I instantly and enthusiastically returned to school, changing my major to Broadcast Journalism while I was also working fulltime for SCETV. This was a remarkably interesting and productive time in my life as the world of television, film and radio opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I continued to work at ETV for several years after graduation, but then I veered sharply away from the vision my epiphany laid out for me. I decided to attempt to make some money. I sold real estate for several years before another enigmatic event happened: I began a career as a stockbroker which even more inexplicably lasted for several decades.
Along the way, I eventually yielded to the siren call of Charleston, SC and moved here in April of 1983. It has been my home ever since.
Charleston is in the heart of the South Carolina lowcountry. It is a wondrous old seaport with a dazzling beauty and amazing history, incredibly beautiful homes and gardens, and a relaxed yet vibrant soul. It's special magic calls to people from all over the world and they bring with them new ideas and industry that continues to transform the diverse assortment of opportunities and lifestyles here. Charleston is a place where dreams can become real in a heartbeat.
Eventually, I yielded to the inner voices screaming at me to leave the financial services industry in 2006. Since then, I have worked some as a business broker but primarily as a business development director for a talented digital media and video production company, which in turn has introduced me to a diverse array of gifted people and businesses that now make Charleston their home base. I have also been a licensed tour guide in Charleston, which has enabled me to meet and share much of the history and stories of Charleston with many thousands of visitors.
Over all of these years, I have been blessed to have been presented with remarkable challenges and opportunities. My daughter and two sons have grown up in Charleston. There have been many community groups that I have been able to play a significant role in. I was able to run in and finish the Boston Marathon one year. I found a spiritual home I wasn't looking for until the day I walked through the doors of Circular Church for the first time and instantly knew right where I was.
And of course, I have been especially lucky to have gotten to know very well a huge number of extraordinary people who have each made an amazing difference in my life.
Special people and places do call to us and we better be paying attention when they do.
I began to finally start actually writing books a few years ago. For now, they are about ordinary people who have found themselves in an extraordinarily difficult situation. What the main characters have each discovered is also true for each of us: that their life has perfectly prepared them for the great challenges and opportunities that are next. Like you, they found that they already have everything that they need.