As a youngster growing up in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb, Global Nomad author Tom Haig ran wild with the neighborhood kids. By seventh grade, the thirst for adventure and fearlessness he learned from them led him to springboard diving. “When I was older and experienced, I would feel, deep in my soul, that I was a diver.”
After graduating from the University of Illinois, Tom flew to Luxembourg on his first international trip. Despite being broke, hungry, and far from a flight home, he and his brother Dan headed to Venice, Italy. “Without any warning, the greatest and most powerful epiphany of our lives unfolded. We looked back at the paths we’d chosen to get to this starving moment, and concluded that not only had we made the right choice to stretch things to the limit, we were committed to continue to make those same kinds of decisions the rest of our lives.” And so began The Bridge to Venice Rule.
Living by that pact, Tom started work as a performance high diver in Missouri. Several times a day, he climbed to a small platform, lit himself on fire, and dove seventy miles per hour into a lake. Soon he was traveling all over the world, including to the 1989 Acapulco Cliff Diving Contest. In France he fell in love with cycling and carried a new passion back to Portland, Oregon, until one Sunday morning in September 1996. He crashed headfirst into a truck and found himself living a very different life from a wheelchair. His recovery—mentally, physically, and emotionally—was excruciating. “I’d been in car accidents, fallen from water towers, and landed flat on my back from 70-foot multiple somersaulting dives. No crying. I used to swear, jump up and down, and tell jokes. Anything but cry. I was going to have to learn how to cry again, or I wasn’t going to survive. Then again, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to survive.”
In Global Nomad, Tom shares his early free-wheeling life with its exciting cities and colorful personalities, and his extraordinary post-accident return to The Bridge to Venice Rule—racing in marathons, traveling solo in some of the poorest countries in the world, meeting the Dalai Lama, jamming with jazz great Oscar Klein, holding disability seminars, and starting the International Rehabilitation Forum with his physician brother, Andy. In the process, he bares the unvarnished aftermath and heartbreaking vulnerabilities that follow permanent paralysis, and inspires us all to take risks and live remarkable, generous, lives.
After being interviewed on Milwaukee’s CBS 58, Tom launched his book with about 130 people in the audience at Glendale, Wisconsin’s North Shore Library, an event co-sponsored by Boswell Books. He was interviewed by Mary Schmitt Boyer, former president of the Pro Basketball Writers Association. Here’s the fabulous CBS feature story on Tom.
For the next part of his book tour, he stopped at Jack’s West End, in La Grange, Illinois, and is also planning book signings in Portland and Seattle. Watch his web page, tomhaig.com, for details.
Global Nomad is paperback, 6″ x 9″, 340 pages, and lists for $22.95. It is available through bookstores nationwide, direct from Basalt Books at 800-354-7360, or online at basaltbooks.wsu.edu. The trade imprint of nonprofit academic publisher Washington State University Press in Pullman, Washington, Basalt Books concentrates on general interest titles about cooking, nature, history, science, and more for young children to older readers—all with a connection to the Northwest.