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More About Michael

More About Michael

(in a shell of a nut, as well)

When given the task to write up a bio, I had no idea where to begin! I know it makes sense to start at the beginning, but my life was pretty boring until 5 years ago when I made the jump to Asia with Sarah, and so this bio might be a little short. Which isn’t a bad thing really since that means I won’t be boring you too much.

Right, so let’s begin. I was born in Toronto, Ontario to a couple of hard-working and loving Italian immigrants. I never went to a “great” school or participated in many extracurricular activities like my brothers, who were quite active in sports.   I was always reading as a kid, and my uncle would often joke around and call me a “dreamer”. As I got older, I became a bit of shit disturber, especially in high school, which I rarely attended, instead preferring to hop on the TTC and explore the city.

Enter the Great Outdoors!

Growing up, I loved spending summers and weekends at the Family cottage. My grandfather built the place before I was born, and unfortunately, he ended up selling it before I was old enough to really enjoy it with my friends much like my older siblings and cousins had done. Basically, drunken parties and whatnot. But it was the great outdoors that I fell in love with and I took a liking to canoeing, fishing and camping. In fact, I would end up portaging through some of Ontario’s most beautiful parks, lakes and streams, which made for some memorable, albeit drunken, moments with friends and loved ones.

And so, my love for adventure was born!

When it comes to work, I won’t get into all the boring stuff about how many jobs I had, but I will say that I started working when I was 14 and have always worked since. In the past, I was a dishwasher, a cook, a barista, a cashier, a labourer in residential construction and a bunch of other little jobs in between. But the one job that changed my life was in the funeral industry and as morbid as it sounds, I loved that job.   My official title was Funeral Directors Assistant, but basically, I specialized in the removal of human remains. Yes, it was sad and depressing, but it opened up my mind to MANY things. One of those things was life itself. Never did I once hear of someone on his or her deathbed wish that they had worked a little more in life. It was always the opposite. And that is something I will never forget.  It’s what my mentor, Max Strom, calls “A near life experience”.  Life is short and you only get one of them, so make the best of it.

Why did I have to find a “career” and work in an office/factory/warehouse and not get to enjoy my life? Who said I had to be like everyone else; find a job buy a house and start a family? How boring is that? Is that why I was put on this earth? To work as a slave for someone else? I decided to move out of the big city, and do what I wanted to do. I quit my job, packed up my car and headed to a small beach village on the coast of Lake Huron called Grand Bend. That summer I made a choice to take control of my life, to change it and take it in the direction that I wanted. I was 28 years old.

Enter Sarah.

At the same time, I met Sarah. Literally, I was still in the process of moving to Grand Bend. This woman came into my life and threw it upside down. She wasn’t at all like any other woman I had met before. She loves adventure, she loves to travel and she’s already been to over 50 countries!!! She was able to travel because she believed she could do it and she never gave up. She believed that things happen for a reason and sure enough, a couple weeks after we started dating, I stopped by her place in London, Ontario on my way to Grand Bend with the last load of my stuff.   That’s the when the fire department came knocking.

I opened the door to them hosing down my car, which was full of family photos, clothes, camping and fishing gear, and my backpack with my laptop in it.   Someone broke into my car, stole my backpack and set my car on fire. No Joke. They caught the guys who did it, and I got my backpack back, but I lost my car and almost everything I owned. I felt like I was truly starting from scratch, as I literally had no clothes or anything to my name. I quickly found a job, and Sarah cleaned out a drawer for me. When the rental car I received through the insurance company had to be returned, I officially moved into Sarah’s place and we officially began a new life together. Thankfully, I found work through that very same car rental agency and I began working 9-5.

But I soon realized I was back in the same spot as before, in a job I didn’t like.   In fact, I HATED IT! One of the WORST jobs I ever had. So, I quit and began working in the countertop business. Stone countertops to be exact. Just installations, but it was a job that paid more and offered A LOT of exploring. You see, I was installing granite and quartz countertops ALL OVER Ontario. I drove to places I would have never have gone to if it wasn’t for that job.   In a way, I was exploring new territory and I loved it. But I wanted more. MUCH more. Almost a year after I moved in, Sarah and I sat down and began to plan out a way for us to escape the life of a slave, to free ourselves, experience new cultures and EXPLORE! We found a way to do what WE wanted.  We figured out how we could be perpetual travellers.

Enter CHINA!