You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. But few people are willing to give up a high-profile career in digital marketing in search of the perfect pint. But Daniel did just that, ending his travels working at an ice cream shop in rural Maine. Now he’s back in Los Angeles, looking for work, armed with the knowledge of the power of pursuing your passions above all else.
What prompted your 50-state adventure in search of the world’s best ice cream?
It was the perfect storm, really. I had the dream, a little money saved up, no mortgage, no kids, no debt. I’ve always been able to eat a lot without gaining weight. I loved my job, but I got a yen to travel and experience some soul fulfillment. Part of me just wanted to see if I could do it without quitting.
What was the best part of your journey?
The people, without question. I knew what to expect in terms of geography and even ice cream. But my interactions with people blew me away. I met amazing people with fascinating life stories. It’s not an understatement to say that this journey restored my faith in humanity. I forged new, lifelong friendships. I would never have had the opportunity to do that if I had just stayed in my comfort zone.
How did your professional skill-set help you along the way?
Three aspects of my career helped me along my journey: content creation, analytics, and social media management. While traveling, I updated my personal blog, The King of Ice Cream, talking about fun ice cream flavors and whatnot. I also curated a little following on Instagram (@_kingoficecream). These had the unintended consequence of ice cream businesses reaching out to me and requesting I stop by when I was in town to try their ice creams. With a little bit of traffic analysis from my following, I managed to create proposals for sponsored content, and the funds from said content helped prolong my journey even further. I was now able to try more ice creams and travel to more places than what I initially had planned in the outset.
Why ice cream?
Ice cream has always had a special place in my heart. From ages 4 to 14 I probably ate ice cream every single day of my life, rain or shine. All throughout and after college, during national ice cream month (July), I made it my mission to try a different flavor of ice cream during every single day of the month. Over the years, my ice creams flavors became more daring and intense, until one year, I ended National Ice Cream Month in an Ice Cream Cleanse — a three-day dietary cleanse where you eat no solid foods aside from five pints of ice cream each day for three days straight. It was a special vegan ice cream found in Venice, CA, and the whole experience was more difficult than I’d thought. At that point, people started sending me recommendations of other crazy ice cream challenges all around the country that seemed pretty interesting, and ones that I hoped to attempt one day.
What motivated you to take such a big chance?
While I’d like to say it was purely love of dessert, if I’m being honest, there’s a part of me that says it was definitely out of fear too. Fear of regret later on in life if I didn’t go out and do this. All the what if’s and what could’ve been moments were terrifying to me. Even more so than playing it safe and staying within my comfort zone. And as I said before, a quick metabolism will only last for so long, so it was best to do this in my youth as opposed to in my retirement.
Can you share some info on your book?
It’s still in the works, but I do have the title picked out already. It’ll be called The Cream of the Couch, and it’s about the people I met during my journey. These people were complete strangers to me, and we only met through happenstance. But they willingly let me sleep on their couches, free of charge while I tried ice cream in their city, and I learned a lot about myself and other ways of living through these strange encounters.
What advice would you share with anyone thinking of taking a sabbatical or pursuing a life-long dream?
It’s hard for me to tell others what to do when I don’t know their circumstances or goals. If you have medical bills, loan debts, or other responsibilities, it would be pretty foolish for me to say drop all of that to pursue a passing desire.
However, what I can say for me though is that I have no regrets. Even as my bank accounts have dropped, or I now am back on the grind to look for steady employment again, I’m still extremely glad I went. There’s a special kind of pride and peace of mind that comes from not only accomplishing what I set out to do but from growing in new ways I hadn’t conceived of before. Leaving is a feeling that can hardly be put into so few words.
At Artisan Creative we work with some amazing creatives, artists and creators. We love featuring their stories when we can and hope you’ve enjoyed our 512th a.blog and Daniel’s Ice Cream Adventure.