His respite from the academic grind wound up taking him him from pre-med to Deadhead. “For a few years, I travelled and followed the Grateful Dead,” said Olson.
“I lived out of my Volkswagen van most of the time, but there’d always be a pretty bustling parking lot scene. So I could sell grilled cheese sandwiches or beer out of a cooler. You’d actually make enough money that you could buy a ticket and get gas money to the next city.
“Then Jerry Garcia died, so I went and lived in Austria for a couple years,” said Olson. “I was involved in a lot of service projects…Building houses, and things like that.”
Next Olson returned to the United States, and was met with another stroke of luck.
“My brother and some of his friends went to Olympia, Washington and started an internet service provider,” said Olson.
“As part of the dot-com boom, we got bought out by a big [telecommunications] company out of California, so I kind of went into semi-retirement for three or four years with my stock options and severance pay.