I wrote this story for my bio page years ago, and I was shocked by how many people actually believed it was true. I thought it was finally time to update my bio with some real information about who I am and what I do. But I didn’t want to delete this old bio. So here it sits, for nostalgia and posterity:
The Saga of Justin Jones.
The story of my birth is an interesting one. I have to start by telling the tale of my lumberjack father and my beautiful farm-girl mother, and their covert meetings in the Balkan National Forests…because you see, he wasn’t really a lumberjack, and she wasn’t really a farm girl, but they were both working as spies against the USSR. Eventually, their professional exchange of information blossomed into an exchange of love and soon, I was born. But because of their cover and because of their dedication to their work as spies, they had to hide me in a burlap sack full of radishes for export and smuggle me across the borders into Western Europe.
I was found by an elderly vegetable merchant who handed me off to a gypsy fortune teller who claimed that I was destined for great things. I was raised by the Mystic and her band of gypsies who traveled between France, Belgium, and Germany peddling their wares and performing music and feats of mysticism in the street. I took well to this nomadic lifestyle, using my youthful charm to sell packets of myrrh and beaded good-luck charms to locals as we traveled across the continent.
While my Gypsy family was always more than kind to me, I eventually had to leave them to find my real parents, who I heard had booked passage back to the United States and had bought a bakery in Iowa where they lived a quiet life on the frontier.
During a stint in England, working as a porter, I made the acquaintance of one Commodore Sloat who took me under his wing and together we set sail for Australia on a ship delivering English tea to the settlers there. Under the tutelage of The Commodore, I learned to sail, and with much free time between ports, I learned to appreciate the great writers: Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dryden, Pope, and Swift. We bounced from port to port, buying and selling various goods along the way to make a living. After years at sea, we finally made a stop in New York, where I said goodbye to my dear friend and father-figure, and I set off with a wagon train that had been swept up by dreams of manifest destiny.
I eventually found my parents, living in a small frontier town in Iowa. Our joy was great, but short-lived, as not weeks after my arrival, a band of natives swept through the small town, killing my parents and many others. Having no other options, I sold their small bakery (which, as their only heir, I had inherited) and set off for California.
When I reached the coast, I took a job at a local newspaper in Santa Barbara, where I honed my skills as a writer. I spent most of my evenings with a bottle of wine or whiskey, listening to the surf crash onto the shore and gazing at the stars, wondering what had come of my gypsy family, or if Commodore Sloat was still out there on the high seas, doing battle with mother nature.
I eventually made up my mind to return to my nomadic roots and began looking for work as a freelance travel writer. Not long thereafter, I started this blog…and here we are.