I relaunched my Youtube Channel in July 2021. I’ll be spending the next few months traveling across the United States in a minivan and sharing the experience.
I will also be restarting my FTPLT project and interviewing interesting people. Read more about this project at FromThePathLessTraveled.com (FTPLT.com)
In 2010, after quitting my job, terminating my lease, and selling everything that wouldn’t fit in my car, I began an unconventional journey beyond my comfort zone. An aspect of that journey became known as The Zero Dean Experience — promptly abbreviated to “ZDXP”.
Initially branded as “A 24/7 Internet Reality Experience”, ZDXP was a social media experiment in which I invited people from all over the world to be directly involved with decision-making aspects of my adventures as I crisscrossed the United States on an epic road trip covering over 60,000 miles.
ZDXP was many things: A travel documentary, a photo journal, a real-life interactive adventure, and an opportunity to pursue my passions while intentionally living beyond comfort. With an emphasis on real-life situations and interaction with followers via social media, ZDXP was touted as an “Internet Reality Experience”.
ZDXP allowed people from all over the world to be directly involved in my adventures by having them suggest places for me to go, things to do, foods to eat, and people to meet. I also accepted invitations, challenges, and requests as I traveled.
At its core, ZDXP was simply one man’s passionate journey beyond his comfort zone in search of love, adventure, and stories to tell.
This journey beyond my comfort zone spawned countless learning experiences that I then shared with others. These lessons would eventually be edited and compiled into my first book, Lessons Learned From The Path Less Traveled.
The Choose-My-Adventure Aspect
One aspect of ZDXP was the Choose-My-Adventure Project. This project encouraged followers to play an active role in my adventure — deciding where I would go, what I would do, and who I would meet.
Giving people the opportunity to make decisions for me pushed me to do things and go places that I wouldn’t necessarily choose on my own — this ensured that I had new and unusual experience and didn’t just stay in my comfort zone.
Additionally, it allowed me to connect with people by providing them with a meaningful experience and letting them live vicariously through my actions. All the while, I relayed the experience in writing, photography, and videos.
I fulfilled dozens of requests and challenges (see “some of the challenges & requests I fulfilled” below) while traveling through dozens of states coast-to-coast. It was a truly amazing experience.
- Live interactive video broadcasts while on location (well ahead of its time in 2010).
- Followers could track me in real-time on a map (also well ahead of its time).
- Prizes & giveaways while at various locations – including souvenirs and travel mascots.
- Live “quick polls” — which are choose-my-adventure/decision making done while on location (long before it was popular or easy).
- Audience participation challenges (photo contests, caption contests, etc).
- ZDXP group meet-ups in various cities.
- Photo scavenger hunts.
- Dozens of challenges fulfilled across the country.
- Tours of Facebook, Pixar, Industrial Light + Magic, Dreamworks, and more.
Map of my travels (ZDXP 2010-2012)
Note: this map doesn’t represent all stops, just major ones. Also, you can view some of my photography from my journey in on 500px.
July 2019 to March 2020 travels (for comparison)
- Visit Old Tuscon Movie Studios – Tuscon, AZ
- Visit the International Wildlife Museum – Tuscon, AZ
- Be in Yuma at 3:10 – Yuma, AZ
- Visit Petrified Forest National Park
- Visit the Grand Canyon National Park
- Visit Sedona – Sedona, AZ
- Visit Tombstone – Tombstone, AZ
- Visit the Tombstone Graveyard
- Visit Barrios Brewing – Tucson, AZ
- Top a glass of beer with whipped cream
- Visit Sunset Crater National Monument – Flagstaff, AZ
- Take a ride along Route 66
- Go through Portal – Portal, AZ
- Meet a Mythbuster challenge – San Francisco, CA
- Rice-a-Roni on a trolley challenge – San Francisco, CA
- Tour Pixar Animation Studios
- Tour Industrial Light & Magic
- Tour Tippett Studio
- Tour Dreamworks Animation
- Tour Facebook HQ
- Golden Monkey challenge – Redding, CA
- Hug a giant redwood challenge – Redwood National Park, CA
- Eat at The Hamburger Factory – Poway, CA
- Visit Yosemite National Park – Yosemite National Park, CA
- Visit Sequoia National Park – Sequoia National Park, CA
- Visit the Mojave Air & Spaceport – Mojave, CA
- Visit the Rhyolite ghost town – Rhyolite, CA
- Visit Death Valley National Park – Death Valley, CA
- Find jade in Jade Cove – Big Sur, CA
- Eat fried pickles at Hooters – San Diego, CA
- Visit Mojave National Preserve
- Do Zero vs. Food at Lucha Libre Taco Shop – San Diego, CA
- Eat a Hearst burger at Linn’s Easy as Pie Cafe – Cambria, CA
- Visit Jon & Bon’s Yogurt Shoppe – Chico, CA
- Visit Bidwell Park – Chico, CA
- Visit the birds at Luzonica.org – Ojai, CA
- Visit a town with a population of 18 – Harmony, CA
- Pay respects at the Donner Pass Memorial – Donner Pass, CA
- Tour Rhythm & Hues – Los Angeles, CA
- Tour Zoic – Los Angeles, CA
- Corn Dog Challenge – Huntington Beach, CA
- Eat at Pete’s Kitchen – Denver, CO
- Volunteer at Denkai Sanctuary with kids from Reflections for Youth
- Visit the Real Pirates exhibit – Denver, CO
- Visit the Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs, CO
- Visit Boulder
- Visit Outside Adventure Film School – Boulder, CO
- Summit a Flat Iron – Boulder, CO
- Talk to the “creepy guy” in Panera Bread last seen 5 months in Las Vegas – Boulder, CO
- Attend a presentation by Ryan Van Duzer & Jeff Evans at REI – Boulder, CO
- Get a Golden ticket – Golden, CO
- Take LOVE to the Four Corners – AZ, CO, NM, UT
- Visit Mesa Verde National Park – Mesa Verde, CO
- Visit Key West – Key West, FL
- Visit the Butterfly Conservatory – Key West, FL
- Take a photo with the giant lobster at Rain Barrel – Islamorada, FL
- Think about Georgia in Georgia
- Visit Metropolis – Metropolis, IL
- Visit the Super Museum – Metropolis, I’LL
- Eat authentic Chicago deep dish pizza
- Eat an authentic Chicago hot dog
- Visit Lincoln Park Zoo
- Visit the Field of Dreams – Dyersville, IA
- Walk across the RAGBRAI finish line – Dubuque, IA
- Reverse engineer a Happy Joe’s taco pizza – Davenport, IA
- Visit Louisville – Louisville, KY
- Visit Lexington – Lexington, KY
- Attend the “world’s largest picnic” – Fancy Farm, KY
- Take a pirate ship cruise with Urban Pirates – Baltimore, MD
- Visit Butte – Butte, MT
- Visit Little Bighorn National Monument
- Visit Reno – Reno, NV
- Attend the Reno Trashion Show – Reno, NV
- Visit the Hoover Dam – Boulder City, NV
- Visit the world’s tallest thermometer – Baker, NV
- Eat something mesquite flavored in Mesquite – Mesquite, NV
- Visit Petroglyph National Monument – Albuquerque, NM
- Take a left turn in Albuquerque – Albuquerque, NM
- Eat a Disaster Burrito at Hurricane’s Restaurant & Drive-In – Albuquerque, NM
- Visit Page One Too – Albuquerque, NM
- Eat at Route 66 Diner – Albuquerque, NM
- Play Truth or Dare in Truth or Consequences – Truth or Consequences, NM
- Visit the New Mexico Spaceport – Obscure location, New Mexico
- Visit Roswell, New Mexico – Roswell, NM
- Visit the UFO Museum – Roswell, NM
- Visit Las Vegas, NM – Las Vegas, NM
- Visit the set of a movie – Las Vegas, NM
- Visit Dulce, NM – Dulce, NM
- Visit White Sands National Monument
- Go sledding in White Sands National Monument
- Eat at world famous Sparky’s Barbeque – Hatch, NM
- Visit Cuba – Cuba, NM
- Relax & make it a movie night – Las Cruces, NM
- Visit the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge – Taos, NM
- Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial – Outer Banks, NC
- Visit the Field of Corn
- Take a stroll down “Memory Lane” (literally)
- Take a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory – Tillamook, OR
- Eat Tillamook Beef Jerky – Tillamook, OR
- Visit the Tillamook Air Museum
- Visit Cannon Beach – Cannon Beach, OR
- Eat a Baby Ruth bar on the Goonies beach
- Visit Astoria – Astoria, OR
- Climb the Astoria Column – Astoria, OR
- Visit the Oregon Caves National Monument
- Visit the It’s a Burl Gallery
- Visit the Jeff Gogue Gallery – Grants Pass, OR
- Visit the Caveman statue – Grants Pass, OR
- Visit South of the Border – Dillon, SC
- Visit Rapid City – Rapid City, SD
- Visit Dinosaur Park – Rapid City, SD
- Visit Wall Drug – Wall, SD
- Visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Visit the Corn Palace – Mitchell, SD
- Visit Moab – Moab, UT
- Visit Arches National Park – Moab, UT
- Visit Canyonlands National Park – Moab, UT
- Visit Bryce Canyon National Park – Bryce Canyon, UT
- Hike Bryce Canyon – Bryce Canyon, UT
- Visit Zion National Park – Zion National Park, UT
- Visit Eccles Dinosaur Park – Ogden, UT
- Drive the 0Runner on the Salt Flats – Bonneville, UT
- Drink Seattle’s Best in Seattle – Seattle, WA
- Visit the center of the universe – Fremont, Seattle
- Visit Dusty Strings – Fremont, Seattle
- Visit Olympic National Park
- Visit Hoh Rainforest
- Visit Ruby Beach
- Visit Forks – Forks, WA
- Get a photo of Bella Italia in Port Angeles – Port Angeles, WA
- Visit Jackson – Jackson, WY
- Visit Yellowstone National Park
- Watch Old Faithful erupt
- Swim in the Firehole River
- Visit Devil’s Tower National Monument
- Visit Grand Teton National Park
- Eat at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet – Gillette, WY
- Sneak into a water park – Gillette, WY
ZDXP Press (2010-2012)
- NBC 9 News: Denver, Colorado: Live 5 minute segment on NBC 9News. “Sell everything you own and follow your passion” segment (no longer available).
- News 10: : Sacramento & Co. Morning Show, Sacramento, California: Live 5 minute segment
- WQAD News: Moline, Illinois
- ezROCK 99.7: Interview with Renee Madden “I Have a Dream” Listen here.
- Spirituality & Health Magazine: : “Getting Unstuck” by Peggy LaCerra (online article here)
- TravellersPoint: Talking Travel Series Interview with
- Eye-Fi: Eye-Fi Blog Interview
- Chicago Reader: Culture Vultures: Zero Dean’s travel blog, a Steppenwolf play, Achatz’s memoir, and more
- AxeCop: promotional photos
- FinanceDad feature