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About Zero

Zero Dean is a writer, humorist, photographer & artist. But not necessarily in that order (but not necessarily not in that order, either).

Zero strives to live and lead by example while using real-life experience as a foundation for learning and sharing life’s lessons.

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My story in brief:

In 2009, I quit a decent paying job (as a computer graphics artist) during the height of the global financial crisis.

I felt my life, although comfortable, had gotten off track and I was no longer fulfilling my potential or taking advantage of my unique combination of talents.

I wanted to get back in touch with the things I was most passionate about in life as well intentionally push myself beyond my comfort zone.

I’d read somewhere that “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (Neale Donald Walsch) and wanted to explore that as a means for personal growth.

And thus began the journey of my lifetime.

A journey that turned into the most difficult thing I’d ever committed to. It forced me to face challenges I never expected and it completely turned my world on its side.

It changed my life, my relationships, and my view of the world.

In short, it changed everything.

Today, my continuing journey bears little resemblance to what it once was, but I am now a wholehearted advocate of the path less traveled.

I use my past and present day experiences as a way to share what I’ve learned with the world. And when I’m not doing that, I share humor & comics and art & photography

About my blogs: This is my motivational blog where I write about integrity, non-conformity, fear management, kindness, authenticity, and pushing beyond one’s comfort zone as a means for personal growth. My entertainment blog where I share the weird thoughts & awkward moments I have along with other (often humorous) real-life experiences. This is a blog devoted to my art, photography, and videos.

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What it should probably say on my business card:

  • Mistake maker
  • Lesson learner
  • Wisdom sharer
  • Smile generator

And if I had any more room:

Status quo bucker. Passion pursuer. Motivational doer. Camera button pusher. Content creator. Gym worker-outer. And Mexican food lover.

Claims to fame: None yet.

Although, I’m the guy that wrote this popular meme (which is sometimes often shared with my name cropped off)…

Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”

That quote is actually a result of the unique journey beyond my comfort zone that I’ve been on since 2009. (Although I didn’t really get “under way” until 2010 — that’s when I started my blog).

More about each of these things below…


My history:

Formerly a 2D/3D computer graphics artist, I used to create 3D architecture & environment assets for Rise of Nations (art examples) at Big Huge Games (2001-2004) and Red Dead Redemption (art examples) at Rockstar Games (2007-2009).

My departure from the games industry is documented in the ZDXP Backstory.

In 2004, I jumped into full-time professional photography, working in the Maryland & Washington DC area before relocating to southern California in 2005 to provide portraits & portfolios for models, actors, and entertainers (2004-2007).

In 2010, I turned my focus from portraits to landscape and nature photography.

(See also: Vimeo or Photo Gallery @ ZeroDean.Photography)

That crazy thing I did:

In 2010, after quitting my job, terminating my lease, and selling (or donating) everything that wouldn’t fit in my 4Runner, I adopted a sort of minimalist lifestyle — whilst also embarking on a nationwide tour of the United States — with a twist

“Choose-your-own-adventure Guy!”

I became the protagonist in a real-life choose-your-own adventure.

Simply put, I let people tell me where to go, what to do, and who to meet.

This project was designed in a way that allowed followers to become an integral part of the adventure, and by doing so, provided people with a meaningful & sometimes deeply personal experience not often found through social media.

This eventually became known as ZDXP (“The Zero Dean Experience”) and attracted some press as well as landed me on television a few times.

Before it had a name, ZDXP was conceived as a way to intentionally push me beyond my comfort zone, while also allowing me to pursue a handful of things I’m most passionate about:

Chance encounters

My adventure led me from coast to coast and featured meetings with celebrities such as Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters (photo), Mark Zuckerberg (photo) (founder of Facebook), Ethan Nicolle (creator of Axe Cop), Doug TenNapel (creator of Earthworm Jim), and Jeff Evans (Expedition Impossible).

My (ongoing) story has been compared to Into the Wild (without Alaska) and sometimes referred to as “the male version of Eat, Pray, Love”.

Why I started blogging

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t start blogging until my adventure began in May 2010. Since then, my blog has evolved considerably — from what was once more of a travel journal, to a source of quotes I found meaningful, to encouraging articles, to humorous real-life stories.

Current status

While my travels are currently on hiatus, I continue to use my growing platform to post photography and write about my daily experiences as well as share wisdom, and inspire & motivate people to truly live life and push to improve themselves.

What do you desire? – Alan Watts

What to read next:

See also:

The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind...

( Post featuring above quote and image )

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About Zero