Spontaneously Self-Employed

By Atom Bergstrom

Atom’s Blog

My self-employment kick-started in El Paso.

I crossed from Juarez to El Paso with a few pesos in my jeans, barely recovered from a severe case of turista, supposedly to teach classes for a semester at a metaphysical school, but the whole shebang had moved to New York.

I stayed with my friend Andrea, asking if she had any friends who needed Reflexology sessions. (This was pre-Mind Hacking days!)

I offered her 50% of whatever I earned. She brought me so much business,

I became a self-proclaimed Vagabond Therapist then and there, tooling around on Greyhound buses, soliciting business while traveling coast-to-coast across the U.S.

Thereafter, I offered 25%, doing sessions and Solar Nutrition workshops out of private homes.

My advert was …

“If you go to a chiropractor or a naturopath, you get only ten or twenty minutes at the most. Provide me with a place to stay and work, and you can pick my brain the entire time, take 25% of everything I earn, and I’ll work on you and teach you to cook Solar as well.”


As an example, fast forward a decade or so, when a stranger referred to me phoned to ask about her roommate’s gall bladder issue.

“If you ever get to Fairhope, Alabama, please drop by to see us,” Sandy said.

On a round trip from Santa Barbara to Key West ($99 each way), I spontaneously jumped off the Big Grey Dog in Mobile, Alabama, announcing from a phone booth, “I’m here!”

Sandy said she couldn’t see me till the next day, so I rented a motel in Panama City, Florida, experiencing my first Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s (midday, of course!).

Five or six cable TV movies later, I returned to Mobile.

Sandy freaked out when she saw me debusing — long hair, headband, tank top, flowered walking shorts, carrying a dumbak Sufi drum.

After the initial shock, and the 19-mile drive to Fairhope, Sandy lined up lots of clients.

I blew town with two grand in my pocket two days later (and Fairhope became a semi-regular stopping place).


Note: Sandy was a massage therapist in Hollywood before she moved to Fairhope.

One of her clients was Michael Crichton (1942-2008).

She introduced him to the “spiritual path,” partly covered in his 1988 nonfiction book, Travels.


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