About From The Path Less Traveled

From the Path Less Traveled was founded to create, unite, and help provide motivation, support, and useful information to those on or considering taking unconventional & challenging paths in life. We aim to highlight the stories of those who have struggled on their journey & share the valuable lessons learned they’ve learned as a result.

About Zero Dean

First, yes. That’s my real name. You can read more about it on my website.

I’ve been called a jack-of-all-trades. And I certainly haven’t taken the most conventional path in life.

The journey that got me here...

In 2010, I began an intentional journey beyond my comfort zone. One aspect of my journey involved taking internet followers on an interactive nationwide journey where I played the protagonist in a real-life choose your own adventure. It was called ZDXP (The Zero Dean Experience).

Here’s an introduction to that journey in a video I posted in May 2010 — well before I began shaving my head or dared to live with facial hair!

The Zero Dean Experience

For nearly two years, I criss-crossed the United States on an epic road trip covering over 60,000 miles while also pursuing things I was most passionate about (writing, photography, travel, adventure, and connecting with people in a meaningful way).

My adventure was many things: A social media experiment, 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. You can read more about on my site here.

It is a result of this journey that I wrote a book of lessons learned from my experience along the path less traveled. And it is a result of that book and my journey that I founded this site.


My first book is called Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled Volume 1.

I started sharing excerpts of lessons online as far back as 2010. The internet is littered with quotes from my book. So much so, that I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve come across some of my work online and not realized I wrote it (it’s often unattributed).

The most popular quote I’m known for is:

"Not everyone will understand your journey. That's fine. It's not their journey to make sense of. It's yours." ~ Zero Dean

In 2013, it was shared with a combined audience of over 30 million people on Facebook alone.

It wasn’t until around 2015 that I decided to compile my lessons into a book. And it wasn’t until December 2018 that it was finally published. One reason is that I took an unplanned year-long break from book-writing to help a friend with his general contracting business.

What can I say, doing hard labor sounded like fun! He asked and I said yes (here’s what happened).

Beyond compiling books of lessons, I also have a fair bit of experience writing comedy in the form of a webcomic — although it’s all actually real-life experiences written in a funny way.

Professional photographer

I began my professional portraits career in 2004 — but I should note that I have sometimes taken years-long breaks from portrait photography to juggle other careers. But even with breaks, I have several years of experience with portrait and landscape & nature photography — which hopefully shows in my work.

In 2006, I compiled what I’d learned about headshots and modeling and posted it online at modeling-advice.com and headshotsadvice.com. This content has been stolen and posted without proper credit countless times since it was published (so you may have already seen it — or something that looks very similar to it — somewhere else).

To break up the big block of text on this page, here’s a video featuring some of my landscape photography that you might like:

Computer graphics artist

I’m formerly a computer graphics artist. I’ve worked for AAA gaming companies like Rockstar Games and Big Huge Games making art for top-rated video games. I worked on Red Dead Redemption as well as the Rise of Nations series.

In my career, I’ve designed websites, coded HTML, created logos, designed user interfaces, shot & edited videos, and more. And I still do, but mainly for myself now.


Before I began sharing lessons in written form, creating & teaching computer graphics pipelines, providing guidance to portrait subjects, mentoring models, and giving photography & photoshop lessons to budding photographers, I was sponsored as an undergrad to design and teach a college level course at my University (Intro to Computer Animation).

And before that, I was hired by my University to teach multimedia software and web/graphic design to students and faculty. So I have a fair bit of experience providing guidance as well as using the software and tools necessary to create content.

Oh, and at one point, I spent a semester in Australia studying Screenwriting and Film Production.

This just goes to show you I’ve been pursuing related interests for years.


In 1998, I founded a private network for computer graphics, animation, and FX professionals in the film industry.

20 years later it is the longest-running community of its kind and is still a thriving communication network composed of all the major players in the Animation and FX industry around the globe — including major studios like Disney, Pixar and Industrial Light+Magic as well as Academy Award winners, directors, and more.

In 2006, I founded the SoCal Mountain Bike Club and Funbuddy Social Activities Clubs. Both became highly active and thriving communities before disbanding after I moved south to San Diego.

So besides creating content and teaching people, I also have experience building communities.