Michael’s Story

Michael in Black HatMichael Jason Sherman, MA is a writer, life coach and trainer. He is a practitioner and student of arts such as Zen Buddhism, Aikido, Kung Fu and Tai Chi,  and a man devoted to walking the earth and meeting its amazing people.

Michael formed The Solo Travel Solution in October of 2012, just weeks after a Solo Journey to Washington, D.C. After a profound moment at the Thomas Jefferson memorial, meditating about the meaning of freedom and the the idea of leaving a legacy behind in words, his mission became clear to him.

Having already experimented with the program of Solo Travel with numerous counseling clients, he returned from the nation’s capital with a fervor to bring this work to the public. He gathered together a number of client graduates of the program into an advisory board, and the group developed a strategy to transform the Solo Travel counseling experience into an educational system that anyone could learn and execute for themselves on their own.jefferson memorial

The seed for this program came through the writing of his philosophical memoir, The Zen of Solo Travel: A Journey from Anxiety to Enlightenment. (More about the book – CLICK: HERE). Over the course of writing the manuscript, themes from the book began to manifest again and again in his work with counseling clients. It seemed like the material from each chapter was mirrored back to him in the person sitting in the chair across from him in his office.

Finally, he invited some of these clients to feel what it was like to “leave everything behind.” Each one came back having had a profound, if not, spiritual experience, and each trip seemed to follow a similar patterns and similar narrative threads. The success of his clients and the completion of the manuscript lead him to step forward and share this work with the world.

The origins of Michael’s love for Solo Travel come from his childhood. After developing a youthful fascination for science fiction in films such as Star Wars and Alien, Michael endured a devastating period of early adolescence. His father, a Jew born in Poland only months after the Holocaust ended, had developed a severe case of paranoid schizophrenia during Michael’s earl adolescence. Teddy Sherman succumbed to numerous hospital visits, suicide attempts and intense depression, finally taking his life in 2001.

moonbeach at nightMichael escaped this pain and the difficult expectations of being a grandchild of Holocaust survivors into the fantasy of movies and heroes. Feeling hypnotized and paralyzed by the negativity he experienced on the inside and out, he began to take to local roads of Brooklyn, New York on his bicycle, including escaping in the middle of the night to the beaches of far Rockaway, where he watched the waves alone in the darkness.

After summer journeys to Israel and England, the bug for travel was bitten. Upon the encouragement of a college friend, he fled to Europe as a backpacker. The next summer, he bought a one-way Greyhound ticket that headed west.

Journeys to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Mexico followed. But the lingering emotional issues of his childhood lingered, evolving into a case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While living in Seattle during and after the Kurt Cobain led grunge era of music and culture, he went for a Masters Degree in Teaching. He started working in middle schools there until he met Amy, the woman he followed back to the New York area and later married.

Now settling down into couplehood, prolonged conflict followed him into marriage. Michael had yet to master the inner world of his emotions, becoming an angry and reactive partner to Amy. Her desire to have children was thwarted by issues of infertility, and the young couple fell into a deep funk.

transportationMichael was plagued by the fear of creating the kind of environment for a child that he had to suffer through himself. He was faced with a last-ditch dilemma:  adopt a child with Amy or divorce. At that point, the lure for travel came back. Michael flew to Japan, seeking inner peace and answers to the conundrum of his marriage.

The 10 day sprint through Japan led to a powerful awakening. Not only did Michael step cleanly into fatherhood, having released so much dark personal energy through his Solo Cherry Blossoms in TokyoTravel experience, but his return inspired a revolution in his life.

Michael immediately gave notice to his middle school administrators that he was surrendering his tenure.  He became a life coach and partnered with Amy to develop Courageous Loving, their counseling company that was focused on the teaching of Imago Relationship Dialogue and the repair of marriages.

He scribbled the events of the entire trip to Japan into a manuscript, that sat and collected dust for five years.

After adopting their first child from China, the seeds of conflict returned to Michael and Amy once again. The couple became aware that they were originally drawn to each other as survivors of difficult childhoods. In spite of their desire to help others heal, their work as counselors together was a symptom of co-dependency. It became clear that the relationship problems couldn’t be ignored anymore.

It was during this time that Michael returned to the manuscript about his trip to Japan. He moved it forward in multiple rewrites, finding his voice as a writer. In completing the book and re-igniting his yearning to see the world, it became clear that the person he was becoming a new man.whitehouse pic of mj

Guided with the knowledge that so many people were quietly suffering, Michael felt compelled to share this model of spiritual awakening with the world that he developed through writing the book. A vision came to him that was anchored in his early discovery of Solo Travel, and his immersion in the work of the Beat Generation of writers, including Jack Kerouac. He felt compelled to teach people how to leave everything behind that they may start a revolution in their lives back home.

In this way, The Solo Travel Solution came into being.

A global revolution, one candle lighting another, teaching the world to Keep It Moving.

And the story continues…..

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