Like many other young people, Dotan Negrin felt unsure of his path after college. He jumped around from job to job, but something was missing. In his words, “I wanted to figure out a way to make a living doing the things I am most passionate about: music, traveling the world, and meeting people.” So in 2010, he quit his day job, packed his belongings and upright piano into a used moving van, and left New York City for a life on the road. Since then, he has traveled to over 300 cities in 21 countries, spreading the joy of music around the world by playing his piano on the street for passersby to enjoy.
“I would be in a new city every week,” Negrin told Instagram Blog. “I would push my piano out to the street and play. Every day I was meeting at least 30 people and would have conversations and people would invite me over to their houses and I would have dinner with their families. It was such a gratifying experience. I wasn’t making any money. But it showed me the world. It showed me there were other ways to live rather than how people tell you.”
Accompanied by his little dog Brando, Negrin has endured his share of ups and downs on his journey. While bonding with a diverse variety of people over music has been wonderful, the piano player has also suffered thefts and injuries as a result of his independent lifestyle. In addition to those hardships, he’s also worried over his future: “I can’t even count how many times I thought, What am I doing with my life? Or how many times I thought, Oh I need to quit this and get a real job.” No matter how many times he’s tried to pursue another path, however, he’s always ended up back where he belongs–combining his love of traveling, playing music, and meeting people.
Now, Negrin has returned to New York, where he spends a few days a week working to pay the bills. The rest of the time, he can be found wheeling his piano around the city and playing happily for the new friends he meets wherever he goes.