Every idea has an origin story. There are multiple interwoven threads that ultimately led me to develop the concept for Radioactive RoadTrippin’. But everything came together for me during a conversation with a good friend on Monday, October 11. I can still remember the exact moment when I said: “That’s it! I know what I should do. I’ll produce a travelogue show for YouTube and spend a year on the road, visiting past and current sites of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.” Yeah. I’m not normal.
I know what I should do. I’ll produce a travelogue show for YouTube and spend a year on the road, visiting past and current sites of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.
The timing of the conversation is important to the story. It took place on the Monday after the first week of October 2020. All I can remember about that day is that I felt depressed and more restless than ever. I’d just taken my first time off for the entire year and felt extremely uncomfortable doing nothing. The space gave me way too much time to think about troubling things I’d buried under the surface of a busy work life. Since we were still in the thralls of the global pandemic, it was obviously a staycation. I spent a week hanging out at my home in Rockport, Texas, fooling around with my pack of three dogs–Malachi, Charlie, and Luna. As the highlight of the week, the dogs and I took a day trip to the “big beach” in Port Aransas, Texas–only an hour drive from my house.
During my week off, I was also supposed to take some time to reflect on my life and figure out the next steps for my career. But that was much easier said than done. How was I supposed to start or plan anything during a global pandemic–let along determine the next steps for a major transition from a career as a nuclear weapons expert to my dream of becoming a writer/producer of TV and film? After several days of pondering, I’d come up with zilch, nada, nothing. I felt completely lost. What was I thinking when I quit my job and left Washington D.C. for Hollywood? Spoiler: I haven’t made it to Hollywood yet, except to visit a friend for a few days.
How was I supposed to start or plan anything during a global pandemic?
To top off a rather disappointing week, I had just learned that my best friend–my almost 6-year old Doberman Pinscher–was going to die of heart disease (dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM) within a few months. Before Christmas, the vet had said. Part of me didn’t believe her; the other part filled up with dread. I’d known that my buddy would leave me much earlier than expected since March of 2019 when he was first diagnosed. Back then, the vet had said six months. I was devastated at the terrible news and cried a lot about it. But then he stuck around–for many months and then more than a year. I constantly worried that his time was coming soon. But when the vet finally told me his heart had severely deteriorated, I’d already started to believe he might not leave me after all. Oh how I was wrong. He started having breathing difficulties on November 2, and I made the incredibly diffcult decision to put him down on November 9. My buddy, Malachi Loki Bajema, is terribly missed. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of him.
For years, owning an RV and traveling around the United States had been on my bucket list.
For years, owning an RV and traveling across the United States had been on my bucket list. But an extended road trip in a small camper was not feasible as long as I had my Doberman. He was a big guy, 110 pounds, full of energy, and quite picky about how he hung out with–both people and dogs. His impending departure opened up a new opportunity in my mind in October 2020. When my friend suggested I consider doing a book tour for my fiction novels as a way to cope with my restlessness, my heart sprang at the idea of a year-long adventure. Then the neurons in my brain started firing on all cylinders, and several threads came together all at once, forming the concept behing R&R.
I hope you’ll join me on this crazy adventure, which is set to begin in December 2021. If you want to support the show, for only a few dollars a month, you can become a patron and get behind-the-scenes access.