It’s a cliché magician story: shy kid finds a hobby that draws attention and makes people happy. A timid college freshman picks up a pack of cards for the first time and his comfort zones immediately develop stretch marks. He falls in love with magic and spends the next five years performing for friends and strangers at parties and bars.
One day a silly thought pops into his head:
“I wonder if I could do this for a living.”
It’s a cliché dream story: in the dream it is almost dusk and I am on a solitary dusty desert road situated between a sun set and a moon rise. The rocks are red and the sky is golden purple above the pavement stretched out before me.
Just desert, sky, and the road.
I am moving very fast, but when I look down I see no body, just the white lines of the road blurring beneath me. There is no sound or sensation of wind rushing past, but resonating through my being is an all-encompassing vibration. I don’t recognize it, but it sounds a lot like an engine.
When I opened my eyes the sound of the engine didn’t stop. I lifted my head from the pillow and it still didn’t stop. I got out of bed, walked to the living room, and the engine came with me. For several minutes I sat in a chair listening to the audio hallucination of a motorcycle in my head. I’d never rode one before, but that was when I knew.
It’s a cliché pursue-your-dream story. I’d never even had a real paid magic gig, but I’d seen street performing magicians before, so I knew that it could be done. Recently graduated and at the perfect point in life for taking risks, I quit my job managing a lounge and booked a flight to New Orleans, where I began putting those psych classes to use in a three month internship to the streets.
The Big Easy proved to be more than a little hard. Surrounded by so much intense stimulation, assembling and captivating an audience in such an environment is not a task for the faint of heart. After three of the most humbling and humiliating months of my life, I flew back to Seattle for a summer of busking experimentation.
That July I bought my first motorcycle, a 2004 Kawasaki KLR 650 Dual Sport with 4,100 miles. After two months of studying the machine I strapped a tent to it and took off on a spirit quest back to New Orleans.
As the clichè goes, the rest is history.
This is the story of a young street magician learning his craft while traveling the world on a motorcycle.
Moral of the story: Don’t quit your day dream.