Directions from a Blind Guy: I got shotgun

Hey, my name is John Samuel and I’m the Cofounder and CEO of Ablr and the author of the book Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions: a 30,000 mile journey for love, confidence, and a sense of belonging. 

The book is about my journey to hell and back, and I share stories and lessons that I learned along the way as I traveled the globe, all the while losing my sight.  

My journey started off in Cary, North Carolina, which is a suburb of Raleigh, the capital of the state. I was born and raised here, but as I was going through my teenage years, my sight was starting to change. I really didn’t know what was wrong.  

When I was playing basketball, and I missed a pass or basket, it wasn’t that big of a deal – I knew I was never going to make it to the NBA (even though as a 12-year old, I thought I was going to be the first Indian kid in the pros!) And when I couldn’t see what was on the chalkboard in class, I just chalked it up to being a bad student.  

When it came to driving, I really didn’t know what was going on. In the dark, I was a terrible driver, bumping in to so many things, and often taking up two parking spots. Part of me just thought I might have feared driving, but I had no idea why. As an upperclassman in high school, driving was so important, it was almost this passage into adulthood, which I was struggling at. I had a white jeep Cherokee, which often would be the car that my friends would pile in to, but I wouldn’t be the one driving it – my friends would offer to drive instead, and I would happily take them up on it! 

So, after I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, and was told I was going blind, one of the first things that went through my mind was where could I live if I couldn’t drive? Not Cary, my hometown, where there was no real public transportation or walkable destinations. 

So, in many ways, driving, or lack of, was the Kickstarter that caused me to begin my journey around the world. 

If you want to learn more about my book Don’t Ask the Blind Guy for Directions: A 30,000 mile journey for love, Confidence, and a Sense of Belonging, please visit and stay tuned for the preorder. 

Thanks so much!


Directions from a Blind Guy: I got shotgun

by | Oct 25, 2022


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