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Two years to the day since my last post. Here’s what’s new

I no longer work for the Uniting Church

Journey covers April - September 2015

Journey covers April – September 2015

In March this year, I handed in my notice, used up the remainder of my annual leave and walked out of the office for the last time. Logically, this means I’m no longer editor of Journeywhich is sad because now nobody cares what I think about em dashes.

I loved working for Journey and I’m so, so proud of the work the team and I produced. In 2015 in particular we explored a lot of exciting topics: pacifism, postmodern theology, same-sex marriage, domestic violence, the drought in western Queensland, the effects of porn, women in ministry, cafe churches and church planting. I’m so pleased! It felt good to end on a strong note.

I can’t even begin to explain how much I learned while I was there. Comparing my 2013 editions to the work I did in 2015 shows a world of difference—as you’d hope. But after three years I started to feel like there was no room left to grow at a print publication with an audience reluctant to adopt digital content.

Still, working on Journey has given me the bug. I’m curious and want to report stories. I want to try my hand at a few new projects—whether that’s with a new employer or on my own in my spare time. Perhaps a podcast? A new YouTube series? I have some ideas buzzing around.

So why haven’t I started on any of them?

London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, Sitges, Madrid, Lisbon, Basel, Rome, Naples, Florence, Budapest, Prague, Krakow, Vienna, Friedrichshafen and Lindau, Munich, Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Berlin, Copenhagen and then to the United States.Well, because I’ve been out fulfilling a few dreams of mine first. Not long after I finished up at the Uniting Church I packed up all my stuff, put a few things in a backpack and jumped on a plane bound for London. I’ve been travelling ever since. My destinations, in order:

In the US I’ve been to Placerville and Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Chicago and Washington DC, where I’m typing this now. Tomorrow I leave for Atlanta. A week later I’m going to Orlando and New Orleans after that. I still have a week or two spare before I fly back to Brisbane on 23 August, so maybe I’ll go to San Francisco or Denver on my way. I don’t know. Who knows. Who knows anything, really.

It feels so good to go on this trip. Partly for the trip itself, but also because this multi–month long journey has been years in the making and it just feels good to see things come to fruition. In the words of the queen, “I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it.” Three years isn’t that long to stay in a place, but I worked really hard and I’ve earned this.

But now, as July is drawing to a close, I am beginning to sniff around for jobs

I can’t be a travelling vagabond forever just causing mischief on Twitter for a living. A boy’s gotta eat. I’ve got my ~freshly updated~ resume to send, so please send any freelance opportunities and job openings across my desk. Employers that pay for content about religion, politics, queer stuff and general internet bants preferred.

Choosing What’s Important

For many people, family are the ones they grew up with: their brothers and sisters, parents and extended family. I grew up with both my parents, but I am nine years younger than my next closest sibling. They were all moved out by the time I was 10, so for most of my childhood I grew up separately to the rest of my family.

Getting to know my brother and my sisters now as an adult has been truly wonderful.

I visit my sister Ceara and her family about once a year. Ceara is the oldest out of us and looked after me pretty often when I was younger. She’s married and has four kids of her own now. I never do much during my visits, just hang out with her, my brother-in-law and the kids. They live up in the north of California, near Sacramento.

It would be pretty easy to lose touch with them, staying friendly but never really seeing them. But now that I’m an adult I’ve learned you get to choose what’s important to you. My sister and her family live a long way away from me, but I choose to make them important.

I’m staying with them now. Today we went shopping and I bought some new clothes for my new job in Brisbane. This evening we ate soft tacos, chatted (“Is there a boyfriend on the scene or..?” “Nah.”) and after putting the kids to bed we sat and watched The Voice.

It’s not something you’d take photos of and brag about on Twitter, but in many ways this is still the most important part of my trip. Because they are important, because I love them.

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Re/Discovering New York

All good things must come to an end, and tonight is my last in New York City. My friend Amanda (who co-runs an amazing, but little-known news blog, Wonkistan) has generously let me stay in her apartment and eat all her granola. I’ve just come from a YouTube convention in Orlando too, but I’ll have to blog about that another day.

Manhattan SkylineWhen I was living on Iona I would see people get off the ferry with their mouths agape; they wanted to visit the island so badly all their lives and finally they had arrived! A ruined nunnery, swarthy little cottages, an oddly-shaped mountain and a looming stone abbey — it was all there, just like they’d seen in pictures and documentaries for years and years.

Isle of Iona

Wikimedia Commons

My island — that of Manhattan — is a little more urban than Iona, but I couldn’t help but compare myself to those pilgrims as I saw the misty skyline of East Harlem through the window of my cab driving over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Not that this is a spiritual pilgrimage for me by any means, but I’ve spent my whole life watching movies and TV shows set in this city, and more recently reading books with stories so rooted here, that to pluck them from their New York setting would obliterate their meaning.

The Empire State BuildingIt means New York is simultaneously alien and eerily familiar to me. I haven’t dealt with these kinds of crowds or this volume of traffic in a long time, but the streets and the buildings and the parks and the bagels are exactly like I know from TV, and haven’t I seen those benches somewhere before? New York feels familiar, but there’s a profound sense of discovery as I walk the streets. It’s kind of addictive: what could there be around that corner? I’ll turn around after just one more block. No, just another block more. Actually, what’s that over there? Better check it out now or I might forget where it is and lose it forever.

I have wanted to visit New York all my life, and this week I finally made it.

Staying with Amanda has been wonderful, and as a New York City native, she has never experienced that sense of re/discovery like I have this week. She was highly amused by my borderline obsession with the squirrels in the park and did not quite grasp the trepidation I felt before using the subway for the first time. Whenever I find something in real life that I saw first on a screen I always try and remember so I can tell her about it, thereby helping her re/discover her city too.

Iona friends and I in New York

Iona comes to Manhattan

Tomorrow I leave for sunny San Francisco, but I’ve had a wonderful time in New York and I hope to return sooner rather than later. Amanda and I went to a Watsky show, rode the Staten Island Ferry, discovered an AMAZING vegan Chinese restaurant on the Lower East Side with our friend Kassie and had brunch in the West Village with friends.

I also met up with four friends I originally met on Iona. Iona and Manhattan certainly felt close that day.

If you want to check it out, Amanda and I made a video about my squirrel obsession affection.

Until tomorrow!

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