Knowing why you want to do something is half the way to achieving that something. Understanding and developing your passion is the drive a person needs to becoming who they truly want to be. Taylor Zajonc, a writer, father, maritime historian, Explorers Club member, and shipwreck explorer who has literally been to the bottom of the ocean and back again, has endless pearls of wisdom just like these. He knows that approaching your own life with an “open heart, a lack of cynicism, and as little ego as you can” will lead to amazing places. What would you be willing to suffer through for an experience? Have you discovered your life’s true passion? What would you find if you played soccer in Kenya? Taylor wants to help you find the answers.
Taylor was involved in a deep sea shipwreck company years ago and took a trip to Africa. On the way back, he and his team stopped in Kenya, residing for the duration of their stay in a small rural camp, in a village where young warriors once trained. Due to this being an authentic slice of rural village life, there was a lot of downtime for Taylor to just sit down and think about what he wanted from himself, from his life, from his own future. There was also time to play soccer with the same little boy who showed up every day at the same time with a soccer ball. This, combined with the feeling of flying down a dirt road in a Land Rover, made Taylor want to be a father, and a writer. He wanted to capture that free feeling, and to make his life all about experiences like that. He decided to try harder to write, to get published, and to be a father. He now has two books out and a fifteen-month-old son, Sammy, all of which he can trace back to that little boy he played soccer with in Kenya.
Taylor, a native of the Pacific Northwest, is a firm believer in appreciating where you grew up and where you currently are. However, this has not once stopped him from diving to the deepest depths on Earth, a fascination which began at the age of nineteen. His father aided him in boarding a Soviet-era submersible on its trip to the ocean’s floor in the Bermuda Triangle, investigating an old wooden target. This target turned out to be an unexpected historical artifact, over sixteen thousand feet deep, and so, at the age of nineteen, Taylor was able to explore the bottom of the ocean with his own eyes. He had the sudden knowledge that no other human being had experienced what he was experiencing in that moment. He had a realization that changed the trajectory of his life, because he discovered his passion, and was able to understand, develop, and focus on this. When you come back from a journey like his, your overthinking, doubts, and second thoughts no longer matters. What matters is your transformation, and your realization of what is truly important to your travels and to you. Taylor thinks that it is both important to take a moment or two to reflect on your decisions, to make sure you’re safe and getting the most you can out of life, and to let the bad wash out of your memories, leaving only the good, the funny, and the passionate. It’ll help you realize how big the world truly is.
Traveling somewhere with a goal in mind, any goal, is important - it will advance your own understanding of what is in this world, and support your passion. Having a goal means learning what you would be willing to suffer through for a travel experience. For Taylor, it’s writing. What is it for you? Taylor believes writing has to come from an experiential place, that there has to be honesty and knowledge of a subject to make a piece more real, because authenticity cannot be faked. The need to overcome our own thoughts and fears to go through a transformational experience is vital. For example, anything and everything Taylor has done in his life scared the crap out of him before he did it. What something looks like in your head versus its reality can be two completely different things, and Taylor has learned that over and over again. Themes like these are obvious in his books - The Wrecking Crew, Red Sun Rogue, and an unnamed third book that will be arriving in 2018. His novels explore the trials and tribulations of a deep sea salvage diver and his unusual ragtag team as they battle pirates, mysteries, and something larger than all of them. His newest novel visits a Georgetown history professor who gets mysteriously summoned on an expedition out of Tanzania. Taylor doesn’t want to write what’s already out there, he wants something that’s got depth, and breadth, and really reaches the reader. He knows what’s important in life, and makes his writing reflect that.