Mark D. Jones
Life, Love and the Human Condition https://livelovethinkexist.com/
The Adventures of Sam the Tugboat http://samthetugboat.com/
Writing has always been my passion over the years, but it has always taken a back seat to the rest of life. I was discussing with a friend back in 2009 how little we both knew about blogs and she said to me, “Mark, you should write a blog!” You always know when an idea hits you across the forehead or the little cartoon light bulb goes on above your head – this was just such a moment for me – serendipity we call it. That night I struggled with the software to set this blog up, which is actually very easy for anyone with half a clue and wrote my first entry – “Welcome To My World!” It was an exciting moment for me, and an opportunity to write down my thoughts and perhaps have someone actually read them.
Since I was in the 6th grade I had always wanted to be a Veterinarian and after a challenging year and a half of Preveterinary Medicine studies at Michigan State University, it became clear that Veterinary Medicine wasn’t in my future. I had never really traveled much from my home state of Michigan, so I decided to go on a great adventure. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien were always my favorite books and I yearned to wander off down a winding path into a distant forest like Bilbo or Frodo Baggins. So I decided to take a journey and go on a great adventure…
Since I didn’t have much money, didn’t own a car, motorcycle or a horse and walking would take much too long to get anywhere – I decided to bicycle around the United States. Everyone thought I was foolish for dropping out of college, but I didn’t care – and I set about planning my trip. I had maps everywhere in my dorm room as I pondered my upcoming quest – not quite the search for the Holy Grail but it was to be my own great adventure regardless. I talked Bruce, a friend of mine, into going on the trip with me and in the Fall of 1976 – America’s Bi-Centennial Year – we rode on down the highway to start our great adventure.
After almost a year and 8,000 miles of pure adventure, no accidents or major injuries and most of our wits still about us, we ended our trip in Seattle. We had traveled from Michigan to the east coast; down to Key West, Florida; along the Gulf coast to Texas; on to Colorado and up to Seattle, Washington. Bruce returned to Michigan to continue his life, but I never really stopped living my adventure…it only took on many different aspects and filled many journals and yellow legal pads of my assorted ponderings and writings.
Before my bicycle trip I had written some poetry and had tried without success to write some song lyrics and music. I knew that I enjoyed writing and during our bike trip I kept a journal of our travels. After a few years in Seattle and various adventures in the northwest, including co-piloting a hot air balloon – I left on a Pan Am 747 bound for London, England, on a solo bicycle adventure through England, Scotland, Wales and France. After a few months I flew home to Seattle, but my adventures continued on. I later decided to return to college to study Business and earned my diploma in Business Administration from Michigan State University in 1981. Pondering what my future life in an office cubicle would be like, I decided instead to choose adventure once again. I had always wanted to be a fighter pilot and fly jets, so I joined the Air Force and spent 20 years as a Navigator (Weapon Systems Officer) in the fighter world – I couldn’t qualify as a fighter pilot because I wore glasses.
My Air Force adventure took me to Europe again for 16 more years. I lived eight years in Germany – where I met and married my wife of 27+ years – and eight years in the quaint English countryside of Oxfordshire and Suffolk Counties. I flew jets and lived my dream. I deployed to the Persian Gulf War, so I really did become a Vet – just a different kind of Vet than I had imagined back in 6th grade – a military Veteran of the United States Armed Forces. While overseas I was able to experience much of Europe, Africa and the Middle East – and what an adventure and experience it turned out to be!
Over all those years I continued to write. I kept a logbook of my bicycle adventure through England, Scotland, Wales and France, started writing Jonathan’s Dream (An Adventure Novel) around 1984, created the character of Sam the Tugboat through the bedtime stories I used to tell our son around 1990, wrote 200+ copyrighted songs (music and lyrics) from 1991-1993, began writing my autobiography in 1994 and another novel called The Many Portraits of Life around 2009. I know my life has been unique and that I have experienced and seen many places in this world – however, I have never stopped thinking or viewing life as a great adventure. If any of my writings prove to be of assistance to you as you contemplate your own adventures in life, then the entire process will have been worthwhile!
I’m staying close to home these days, but my adventures still continue – only now they’re more philosophical in nature – instead of on a bicycle or strapped into a jet. I’m content with that…after all, adventures are hard work! Now I can just sit down at the computer!
As for other interests of mine, my favorite music is Contemporary Christian as well as the Progressive Rock I loved growing up: Genesis; Yes; Rush; Pink Floyd; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; King Crimson; etc. My favorite books are the Bible, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. My favorite movies are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings series and any good Romantic Comedy. My favorite colors are soft pastels of any shade. My favorite holiday is Christmas along with the entire Advent Season!
Thanks for stopping by – enjoy your day and come around for another visit sometime! You can also contact me directly at: