As a youngster growing up in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, suburb, Tom Haig ran wild with the neighborhood’s 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 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 shallow 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.
“Tom Haig has led an amazing life, and he is still living it. This ‘Global Nomad’ meets interesting people as he overcomes challenges that might frighten an Olympian. Tom and his life are an inspiration!”—John Naber, Olympic swimming champion, network broadcaster, author and speaker
“I couldn’t get the story out of my head and found myself telling anyone who’d listen about this amazing guy from Portland and his fascinating, tragic, and ultimately inspirational life.”—Bob Wodnik, award-winning journalist, author of Back on Track and Captured Honor
Illustrations / maps / 320 pages