South Dakota International Bestselling Author of "Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive Dan "Tito" Davis wraps up his seven continent book signing tour in Antarctica. Davis has been promoting his book and his message of growth through adversity for the last 18 months after being released from prison. Before then Tito spent 13 years on the run from the US government as an international fugitive. Davis is one of the first, if not the only author, to do a book signing tour across all seven continents. Gringo will leave you on the edge of your seat.
You have traveled the world as a fugitive and now as a bestselling author promoting your book "Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive." I'm sure it's a very different experience traveling as a famous South Dakota writer. Did you learn anything new about yourself on this recent seven continent tour that surprised you?
I learned one thing, that it's a whole lot easier traveling around the planet using your own name, not looking over your shoulder, and not carrying a bag with an extra t-shirt in it.
Why would you have an extra shirt?
Good question! Back then if I was wearing a white t-shirt then I would make sure I had a red one in my bag. This way if some guy profiles me, goes to the cops and gives them a description of the guy in the white t-shirt I can change things up. Clearly, I fit the description so as soon as I go around the corner I put the red t-shirt on over the top of my white t-shirt so that I'm safe.
That's how you have to think!! There is no time to put your guard down. If you're using stolen passports, every time you go through immigration you're thinking, "Hey, it could come up hot." They put it underneath the black light, and the seals lining up in the passport are just a rudimentary problem, but if you go for a visa, wow, that's spooky. You start wondering if the cops are going to follow the courier from the Visa service and bust you.
You never, if at all possible, walk into a consulate or an embassy with a stolen passport. Because once you're in there, it is like walking into a police station and if your ID doesn't hold up it's all over.
There's no comparison, traveling these days is a real pleasure. I mean it's a vacation compared to what I had gone through traveling the world on stolen passports, traveling without a home, a job, or even a name. Now it's totally different. I'm seeking the limelight rather than trying to stay in the corner just listening and then trying to slide away so no one sees me. It's a night and day difference.
While on tour what is the most interesting question one of your readers asked you?
That's a good one. I can't believe how many times people actually ask me, "Are you still a fugitive?" In fact, I had one lady ask me that because she wanted to turn me in and get the reward. I guess that is probably one of my most interesting questions, "Hey, are you still a fugitive? I want to turn you in and get the reward." That tells you what you're up against when you're a fugitive.
It is not good to be a fugitive. It's not fun. It's very stressful. There are all types of things that can trip you up. Probably the easiest is that somebody just sees you on a most wanted poster or TV and turns you in, or just has a suspicion and drops a dime on you. As far as a question, that's probably the one; "Hey, are you still a fugitive?" I always tell them, if I was a fugitive, I wouldn't be out here seeking the limelight, promoting his book.
Your whole life lately seems to be traveling and book pimping as you call it, what do you do to keep your momentum going?
Book pimping! The reason I call it "book pimping" is because I'm a book promoter. I'm seeking publicity, in other words, I am a pimp. I'm trying to sell books. I'm a promoter, but there are a lot of book promoters in the world. There are probably a million books coming out on Amazon each month. There's some competition, but when I tell somebody I'm a book pimp that seems to grab their attention and moves me to the front of the line.
What do I do to keep my momentum going? I'm not normal. I've spent a lot of time in confined environments. For about 33 years I've been under some type of federal supervision. I've either been in prison, on parole, or I've been a fugitive looking over my shoulder literally on both sides. For the last 33 years, other than the last 18 months, there's always been tension.
My mother's going to be 90 years old this year. Bless her soul. Anyway, she asked me, "Why do you want to keep traveling?" I said, "Mom because I can." I guess what keeps my momentum going is that for so many years I couldn't travel, or when I traveled there was so much tension. It was a challenge every day traveling on stolen passports and trying to remember what name I was using, what sign of the Zodiac I was born under, what my mother's maiden name was, and where she was born.
What keeps me going now is that I can travel under my real name, make reservations in hotels without checking for escape avenues, and use credit cards in my own name. Now I'm just enjoying life. I just came out of a very long dark cave. That's what keeps me going. I travel because I can.
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