Steven K. Roberts is a person I might have been. We even look kind of alike. He grew up a nomad; I grew up a bureaucrat….
Compuserve’s forums had little rooms off in the corner where folks could scribble down profiles of who they were and what interested them. (Perhaps they still do; it’s been a long time since I checked.) I was wandering around the Model 100 Special Interest Group one day and found a note in the member profiles inquiring whether anyone had any experience with or interest in carrying a Model 100 on a bicycle. Since my laptop rode my bike to work every morning, and regularly travelled between Lansing and Kalamazoo, I figured I was the target audience and dropped the member a line.
That was my original encounter with Steve Roberts. Steve replied with a chatty and enthusiastic note explaining what he was up to. It was immediately apparent that we were really talking about different things, but Steve’s ambition to live a connected life on a bicycle was and remains one of my life’s roads not taken. We traded a few notes, even after he hit the road, but this was essentially a casual contact.
Over the next few years it was pretty hard for me not to notice Steve’s project. He supported himself partly by writing articles about the trip, so friends would discover him in whatever magazine they read and bring him to my attention–and I’d say “Yeah, I knew Steve when….”
Looked Steve up on a whim last night. He now writes blog-like notes (with photos) daily, and a real blog as well. Steve’s still the same guy–tinkerer, promoter, enthusiast–I remember from twenty years ago, but now he’s building a Microship and planning a long cruise. (But first a shakedown voyage.)
Actually, he’s building two. It takes a really odd sort of confidence to build a boat for a woman who hasn’t yet arrived. Looks like she has. Steve’s life works for him. As does mine for me.