A Brief Biography
The tagline to this site should tell you two very important things about me; I am a writer and I travel.
As with anyone and everyone, however, I am multi-faceted, full of contradictions and beliefs, brimming with interests — a list that only seems to grow as I get older. If you want to know more, read on as I share a few thoughts about me but, honestly, that tagline works on its own too.
I am Scottish. Technically, I was born in England, in a now dead and disappeared county, but my family moved to the far northern islands of Orkney when I was eight. I grew up there, surrounded by nature, ancient history and internationally-renowned prehistory, epic storms, ocean tides, and winds of awesome power.
Scotland remains the closest thing I have to a home.
I am not that young, but neither do I feel old. Born in 1977, I am one of the micro-generation of people who experienced an analogue childhood and a digital adulthood. Sometimes called Xennials, sometimes ‘The Star Wars Generation’, this had a definite dual impact on how I see the world.
I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember. Indeed, I still have some early school exercise books with my first tales, many simply entitled ‘The Adventure’. By the time I was a teenager I was handwriting hundreds of pages of novels, often somewhat cringeworthily crafted in the style of whoever I was reading at the time. We learn from these words, we grow through experience. I still write, lots. I still learn, lots.
Writing, for me, is travelling. Not in the travel = travail = work sense (well, that too), but in that when we create, whether fiction or otherwise, we are on a journey. This is a journey through words, yes, but it is also a journey through time. So often we use experience, whether directly, or indirectly, to influence our work, looking to the past to create a version of a tale. Then, once we let our words go (as difficult as it can be to release them into the world), we are also sending them on their own adventure through time and space.
I write a story and I do not know how many times it will be read, in what corners of the globe (or even, potentially, not on this world), or when. Writers are the holders of magic keys to the future and the past. This is a noble tradition.
In nations where the Protestant work ethic is strong (i.e. slave away for the machine and the boss until you retire and die — America and the UK, I’m looking at you), the idea of the writer as a slacker, as someone who does not contribute to society in a meaningful way, is still shockingly prevalent. Words are not valued as they should be. In other places, where I have sheepishly answered, ‘So, what do you do?’ with, ‘I’m a writer’ — expecting that derision or mild scorn, so common in my past — I have been surprised by the excitement, the warmth and the genuine interest in my work. This revelation, that there are many places where the writer is still admired, makes me very happy, and I love this tradition with all my heart and words.
In this piece, I begin a discussion of why I did not use this site as I had originally intended — as a place to share my travels throughout the world, share details and destinations, ideas, experience, and adventure — and why I am changing this (at the time of writing, October 2022, this is about to go live).
It has now been over twelve years since I left my last ‘proper’ job, to spend three months alone in the woods, and over five years since I left Scotland. I have not lived in an English-speaking country since. On my journey, I found love on a different continent (something which seems to happen surprisingly often to travellers), not just marrying Aurélie, but having a baby too. Ailsa is now nearly a year old, but she had her first passport within weeks of her birth. There’s a big world out there for us to share with her.
For now, these words will suffice to briefly discuss who I am, and what is important to me. There will also be a category which will add to this page, where I will discuss other things I see as crucial to who I am. Introspection is important to me, it aids my work and helps me feel calm, confident in my direction. There is much to discuss, as there is about every single one of you reading and the countless billions who also have their own stories.
Humankind is remarkable: we need to remember this.