Born outside of Akron, Ohio, Smee was raised in a middle-class family. Son to teachers and small business owners, he understood the value of hard work and the beauty of innovating for fun. He played a lot of sports, built things with his hands, read books, worked on cars, played music and lived a pretty happy upbringing in suburbia. With some of his neighbors up the street, he became part of a rock ‘n’ roll group called the Andy Johnson Explosion. They played music together for a long time and almost became really good.
In 1998, he received a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Spanish and Education. After completing his studies, he recalls the distinct memory of asking himself, This is it? And now I’m enlightened? The lyrics of an Indigo Girls song rang in his head, “I spent four years prospering to the higher mind, got my paper and I was free.” Although he had learned enough to stop eating meat, the next month he promptly rid himself of his possessions, with the exception of a few boxes stashed at his parent's house, and headed off to South America. He traveled, visited his brother in Paraguay, and eventually ended up in Santiago, Chile where he taught English. There, he also met his future wife, Paulita. This turned out pretty well.
Though he returned to Ohio for a time to teach tennis, play rock music with the band and pay money to the man, he eventually returned to Chile to make a life. He received a M.A. in Political Philosophy from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile, finally understanding that politics is fascinating except for the fact that people lie, steal and cheat too much to make it worth a damn.
For the past 20 years, he has taught internationally--living in Chile, China and Nepal. He currently resides in Venezuela where he works and writes. He likes to think he’s lived a pretty punk life so far and hopes that it doesn’t end any time soon.