Paul Townsend was born in Canterbury, England. Over the summer of 2004 he fell in love with an enchanting young lady who happened to live in Cincinnati, Ohio. He wrote a book about that experience which is now out and available at the link below. This book contains quotes from notepads he kept between the ages of 17 and 19 years old. The quotes are the thoughts and inspirations he had while maintaining a long distance relationship throughout his teenage years while traveling across vast oceans, transporting himself through mysterious unknown airports, and working his ass off on a journey that required him to leave behind everything he ever knew for a strange mysterious land and the obscure family that housed him during a decade of courting this young lady. I know this story intimately because the young lady he’s talking about is my oldest daughter.
I have a beautiful wife. So I knew when my children who were girls reached that dreadful age of puberty that I would be dealing with an onslaught of boys who would want to stick their whatevers into them as sexual conquests—and as a father it was my job to stop them—so to save my children’s innocence for as long as possible. For young girls innocence is extremely valuable, it is the kind of capital that can get them good mates later in life when they want to start families, so I made it my point to protect them from this corrosive element of human nature. And because of my wife—it was obvious that my kids wouldn’t grow up to look like an elephant’s ass. So I had to come up with something quick to help them help themselves.
On a trip through Spaceship Earth at the Epcot Center in Florida my oldest daughter noticed that intercontinental internet connectivity was just coming online in 2003 and she showed an interest in it. So for the following Christmas I bought both of my girls their very first computers. Of course everyone thought my wife and I were crazy because there was tremendous fear at the time of online predators, but for me I was more concerned about the boys in the nearby neighborhoods who were catting around near our home with increased frequency. So I had to try something radical.
Being an avid video game player I knew how much better those realities can sometimes be as opposed to real-life ones, so it was my hope that my kids would be so interested in that new computer environment that they would stay home and stay safe where I could lean over their shoulder and help explain things to them just a bit longer before the world cast its ugly claws into their virtue. To make sure of it I bought them both a new massive online game called Star Wars Galaxies, which was a world of its own. I knew that my girls would meet people on the game and that they’d play house with other players. But it was safer than the real life so I encouraged it.
It didn’t take long for a parade of young men to begin trying to have relationships with my daughter. In online games if a player just has a feminine name they’ll be hit on constantly. But it taught my kids how to deal with such things in the safety of their own home with their parents close by to advise, so it worked out. My kids learned how to say no to people who were unscrupulous, and how to be politely nice to those who they might have been interested in without over-committing themselves. Soon my daughter had a boyfriend who worked with her on the game to build entire cities, establish a vast economy, and to learn the first of firsts about puppy love.
I felt that such a relationship was harmless because the boy in question happened to live across the ocean so it wasn’t like my daughter was going to climb out of the window at night to jump into a car with him and run off to marry. Two times a year we’d arrange for the boy to come to the United States where we’d entertain him at first for a few weeks. And after a few years of dating, he came for the entire summer and Christmas break. Their relationship was quite pure and old-fashioned, which is exactly how I had hoped it would be. Being from England the young man had a lot of manners about himself, and he had good parents who taught him to be respectful, so I was happy with the kid.
He made it clear that he wasn’t just interested in my daughter, but her entire family and he made a point to learn all he could from me—which I was always happy to oblige. I always teach young people with a non-invasive manner of hands off so that they come to the answers often on their own with only gentle nudges by my hand. That is the best way for things to take when people invest in themselves instead of doing things through coercion and manipulation. And Paul was very receptive, so we had a nice experience with him, and he and my daughter eventually married and now have a nice home in Liberty Township—and are entirely a successful young couple.
As a couple they stepped over most of the pitfalls that most young people get snared in and they did it because both of them were deeply in love with philosophy at a very young age. Part of that was Star Wars allowed them to live that life. The world of Star Wars was far more important to them than their school day experiences. In fact, my daughter finished her high school early with online classes that she played while doing missions in Star Wars. Now as a couple in their mid to late twenties putting behind them their first decade of a relationship they are everything that a father could have wanted for his daughter way back on that amusement park ride at the Epcot Center. It was a good idea then, and it really in hindsight likely saved my kids from a terrible teenage existence. The kind of values that we taught them prior to that pivotal moment was in stark contrast to the outside world and it would have forced them to compromise themselves—as it does for most young people so that by the time young people become old people, they are only fractions of their hopes and dreams. Paul at the time knew that he was embarking on something very unique especially in a modern context—so he wrote down those thoughts along the way.
The result of this decade long adventure is this very fine little book called, Quotes from a Teenage Mind. It is deceptively simple, and short, but for the price it is a marvel of purity coming from a young man who literally put everything on the line to have the love of his life. Now, many years later, he is an American citizen. He has brought his entire family to the United States and they are also very successful and live in West Chester. He paved the way with sheer willpower and love to do something that is very unique—and he wrote it all down. His story is a remarkable one as he is the modern Atlas in every category. Even when he could have, he never, ever wavered from his goals and carried literally everything upon his back. He took the ultimate hero journey and has survived to share the experience with others. Every young person in the world should read his story for inspiration because it is hard to know such people as they are as rare as the most precious gem. Yet he shares that rarity with the world for the simple cost of a download on Amazon.com.
I am very proud of Paul and my daughter for doing something that many thought was impossible. There are many weddings that hope to capture the sincerity of the type of love that these two have for each other and who so young maintain such a mature relationship. But for them it started under unusual experimental conditions and bloomed into a beautiful thing largely because Paul Townsend was as genuine of a person who currently roams the earth as there is and I can only thank God that it took the vast reaches of the World Wide Web to find him in Canterbury, England living in the shadow of Orlando Bloom. Without the internet neither he nor my daughter would have found each other and all the wonderful things they have done since or in the future would have happened. This book because it captures the moment in time where the hard decisions were made and what types of thoughts lifted Paul from one place to another is important to anyone asking similar questions. Those words have immense value to those clinging for life in a confusing world starving for inspiration. For them—Paul Townsend is the man.