In the course of my travels, I’ve met a lot of really amazing people. In the course of my life, I’ve met a lot of really amazing people. I’ve met famous actors, musicians, singers, and acrobats. I’ve met millionaires, a couple of billionaires, some presidents, and a couple of porn stars. The thing is – I’m not going to be writing about any of those people here.
I’m writing about someone who has really inspired me, made me want to be more than I am, showed me how to become more than I am, and done all of this with such humility and utter coolness that he probably is going to be surprised when he reads this little article about him. You might even know him, or his voice, or maybe not…regardless, let me tell you about this guy who I’m glad to be able to claim as one of my best friends in the world.
I’ll set the scene. 1995 – I’d gotten out of the Marine Corps after fulfilling my 4 year contract and then I’d spent a year bar tending, dating, and drinking myself silly in Raleigh, North Carolina. I drove my truck across country with my dog to the state where I was born and pulled into Bellingham, Washington listening to Rusted Root on the radio as the DJ said ”You’re in Bellingham, Washington – the coolest place in the world – go out and enjoy it.” He was right, Bellingham just might be the coolest place in the world (Wait until you see tomorrow’s article by Linda Kissam about how Bellingham has become a foodie paradise!). Over the next year, I worked in a saw mill, got a job painting houses, and definitely got out and enjoyed the hiking, the biking, the swimming, the skiing and the boating in Bellingham. Accompanying me the whole way was my favorite radio station and that DJ who kept telling me how lucky I was to be there.
The radio station was doing a promotion for a fake concert on Placebo Island and doing a lot of promo for a Blues Festival that was coming up. My painter co-worker told me I could get a free ticket to the festival if I helped him and his uncle set up the stage and scaffolding. I was all over it. At the festival, I met the programming director of my favorite station and told him I wanted to work at his radio station – I’d do anything even clean toilets.
About a week later he called and said he’d like me to come up and meet Dave Walker, that same DJ who had been the first to welcome me home to Bellingham. We hit it off immediately and I got the job as his producer on the morning show “The Morning Deal” – I can’t even begin to explain how getting that job changed my life. Here are just a few things: I got my first VW bus from that morning show during ‘Tradio” (I traded my TV and VCR for it!), I got opportunities to work in film and entertainment, I was able to do all kinds of things I never would have considered, but most importantly, I had the chance to become friends with Dave Walker.
Dave is one of those humble seekers who manages to touch the lives of tens of thousands of people without ever becoming prideful or arrogant. In the time we’ve been friends, Dave has helped me weather deaths, the ends of relationships, personal stumblling blocks, and career decisions. I hope that I’ve been there for him a time or two, but the truth is that Dave’s wisdom, humility, and compassion are an inspiration for me. His warmth comes through in his voice on the air, but it’s only when he’s offering advice or understanding that you really begin to understand.
Dave’s travels in Russia, Costa Rica, the USA and beyond have been inspiring to me. His stability and kindness have been a rock in a life that swirls from storm to storm. I have no doubt that Dave could have been bigger than Howard Stern if that had been his desire – it’s another thing I love about the guy. He found the coolest place in the world and he stayed there despite the lower salary and the lower opportunities for fame and fortune. In the process, Dave has made a huge difference. Not just in my life, not just picking me up at the border after I hitchhiked across Canada with no money, not just storing my possessions in his basement while I vagabonded across Asia, and not just offering me good advice – he’s worked with charities, supported survivors of abuse and natural disasters, given those listeners who need hope, charity, or understanding a way to empower themselves, and on top of that – he serves as an example that it is okay to be a good, nice guy and you don’t have to finish last if you are.
Dave, I just want to thank you for welcoming me to Bellingham back on January 1, 1996 and for continuing to be one hell of a good guy. I look forward to barbecuing and drinking some beers with you again sometime in the hopefully not too distant future.
If you’d like to learn why I consider Dave to be one of the best human beings around you can follow him on Facebook or Twitter and you are sure to get it:
This is a project of Awesomeness that a few friends and I decided to embark on together. If you’d like to read about more amazing people – check these out!
Now, if you’d like to tell us about an amazing person you’ve met in your travels, come join us at our new Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/vagobondtravel or better yet, get out there and BE THE MOST AMAZING PERSON THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS MET IN THEIR TRAVELS!!!!