Shaun Donovan was born in Cardiff, South Wales, on 9th August 1959. The son of a carpenter, he joined his father in the building trade after leaving school at the age of 15, but was soon disillusioned and so he changed careers, working first as an office clerk, before moving into the lucrative world of sales and marketing. Being a keen motor-cyclist and also a travel enthusiast, Shaun spent numerous holidays riding his bike around Europe and North Africa, spanning a distance of 10,000 miles, and visiting 13 countries and several islands between 1981 and 1983. In 1984, he married and became the father of three children, but after being made redundant in 1991 due to the recession, and with little hope of re-employment in the near future his marriage collapsed the following year. Whilst on the dole, Shaun read the best-selling paperback ‘Jupiter’s Travels’ by Ted Simon, and he decided to transpose the book into a movie called ‘Freedom Run’. Shaun spent a week with Ted at his various homes in California, where after lengthy discussions, they decided on promoting the idea to film and television companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Because of the cost involved the BBC suggested a six-part documentary series for television instead, entitled “Steps of Jupiter – 20 years on” in which Shaun would re-create the journey himself and Ted would meet him at strategic points along the way, but unfortunately sponsorship was not forthcoming and so inevitably the project was shelved.
In 1998 Shaun moved to Tenerife and in 2000 he took his three children, Liam, Carl, and Hayley, around the whole of America, and across into Canada on a Greyhound Bus. Apart from giving them the holiday of a lifetime, he also kept the promise he had made to them two years earlier.