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 fifteen 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 motorcyclist and also a travel enthusiast, Shaun spent numerous holidays riding his bike around Europe and North Africa, spanning a distance of ten thousand miles and visiting thirteen 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 reemployment in the near future, his marriage collapsed the following year.
While on the dole, Shaun read the best-selling paperback “Jupiter’s Travels” by Ted Simon and decided to transpose the book into a movie called “Freedom Run.” He 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 recreate 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 had to be 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. In 2001, Shaun met Sally on the island, and in 2007, they took off on another great Greyhound bus ride—only this time, around Australia. Three years later, Shaun returned home to Wales, and the following year he and his daughter, Hayley, set off on a sixty-thousand-kilometer jaunt around Asia and Africa. Shaun is currently working on his next travel extravaganza, which includes visiting a dozen countries in South America, before traversing the length of Central America—and then ending up somewhere in Mexico!