The Dan Project – around the world with a 5 string

dan_projectRetirement can be a confounding concept for those of a certain age. Some, fraught with uncertainty as the life change draws near, are apprehensive or even a bit disconcerted by the prospect. Others run towards it with wild abandon, and others still push the very idea out of their minds.

Will I finally create a formal English cottage garden… train and run a marathon… take up embroidery… study French cuisine? These and a thousand other questions can drift through the mind when considering retirement, but I haven’t heard many quite like Dan Monte Calvo’s ambitious scheme, “to play my banjo in as many different countries as possible, meet as many people as I can and spread the love of bluegraass music and the banjo around the world.”

So after 22 years as a firefighter in Washington state, Dan flew to London in December 2013 and began his banjo pilgrimage, writing and playing songs along the way. His two daughters are taking turns traveling along, and one, Emma, a film school grad, is helping him chronicle this adventure.

Emma described the experience thus far…

Dan Monte Calvo crosses Abbey Road with his banjo“On December 13, 2013 my father, Dan Monte Calvo, retired from the Woodinville Fire Department after 22 years of service. He had also served as a South Whidbey District 3 volunteer. He had the best job in the world until he injured his shoulder at work and was forced to retire.

He decided to venture to Europe for 6 months and travel to as many countries as possible with his banjo during this time frame. In his first month, he had been hosted on a popular radio station in Montpellier, France; played with a local bluegrass band called, The Apple Trees and is now playing with, The Transatlantic Bluegrass Band, while at the same time embracing and immersing himself in new cultures, learning new languages, and sharing his passion of bluegrass with the world through his original songs.

He’s bringing his supporters along with him through his inspiring blog, Youtube and Facebook. He will also be venturing to Portugal, Morocco and Spain. I am currently traveling with him managing and documenting this project.”

If the concept intrigues you, follow Dan’s travelogue online, complete with photos, videos and remembrances from each stage of his journey.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.