ENCINITAS — Jake Ducey was a typical Encinitas kid — a surfer and championship basketball player who later found it difficult to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol.“I started partying hard in high school,” he explained. “Then I could go out the next night and score 30 points.”In his junior year at La Costa Canyon High School he nearly killed himself in a drunk driving accident. Ducey was driving west on Rancho Santa Fe Road near Calle Barcelona when he hit the center median, rolled across the center divide, flipped four times across the eastbound lane breaking through a safety barrier and falling into a ravine.
He was taken to the hospital and charged with an underage DUI.
“When I realized that any moment I could be dead it created a shift where all of my focus turned to basketball,” he recalled. “I had a real successful senior year — no partying or drinking. I was MVP of the Palomar League and captain of my team which was first Team All League.”
After graduating in 2009, Ducey attended California Lutheran University on a basketball scholarship and studied business.
He remembers being in a freshman economics class when his thoughts drifted to the bank bailout and the fact that 22,000 children die each day of poverty-related illness. He was overcome with feelings of powerlessness and unhappiness.
Ducey said he began studying “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Jack Canfield, also author of the bestseller “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
“I learned that we can do anything if we direct our mind into ways that are positive rather than negative,” he said, adding that the epiphany led to a decision to drop out of college so he would no longer “postpone living.”
“My dad supported me; my mom thought I was crazy,” he recalled.
Ducey took money he saved since childhood and embarked on a global adventure beginning with a visit to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
“It was a powerful experience because literally nobody had a change of clothes,” he remembered. “Even though children had holes in their shoes, every day when I woke up they were smiling at me.”
Later, he had another life-altering experience when he met a local shaman.
“He told me everything about my life, including my car accident, and did it with such accuracy that I found myself sitting on the ground, shaking,” he recalled. “He said that I would travel around the world, and that I would write a book and become a voice of my generation.”
Ducey left Guatemala and traveled to Australia, Indonesia and Thailand where he spent 14 days meditating in a monastery.
“What I realized is that all the things we are looking for are right in front of us all the time,” he explained. “We don’t have to go anywhere, or do anything, in order to feel joy in our life.”
In May 2011 he returned to San Diego and began writing his book.
His message resonated with locals, young and old, including agent Bill Gladstone, founder of Waterside Productions, who decided to sign him.
“As the literary agent for many New York Times bestselling authors, including Eckhart Tolle, Neale Donald Walsh, Jean Houston and other inspirational writers, I am always looking for powerful, fresh new voices,” he said. “Jake Ducey has the potential to make a major impact as a writer and motivational speaker. I am delighted to be both agenting and publishing Jake’s first book “Into The Wind.” This book will encourage those who read it to follow their dreams.”
Ducey received another boost when his mentor, author Jack Canfield, endorsed the book.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, wrote: “Decades ago there were visionaries at Apple Inc. who changed the world; Steve Jobs and me. Now Jake is here to transform the world in his own right.”
Last Friday night an enthusiastic hometown crowd turned out for the official launch of the book at SoulScape in Encinitas. Afterward, Ducey embarked on a national book tour of high schools and colleges.
“I want to inspire youth to create their dreams and make a difference in the world,” he said.
For more information, visit jakeducey.com.