I used to think of myself as a desert rat.
I spent most of my college years trying to escape Charleston, South Carolina, where I was born, raised and schooled, trying to get the hell out of the South and move west. That is, The West — where the wilderness was vast, empty, bigger than a suburbanite’s imagination and, most importantly, real. I moved to New Mexico in 2001, and after several small-town stops along the way, I eventually ended up where I really wanted to be — red rock canyon country. That place was Grand Junction, Colorado, a small city with the perfect balance of civilization, wildness and proximity to the Colorado Plateau country of southeast Utah, keeping my penchant for restlessness satisfied with weekend treks into sandstone canyons and after-work expeditions into Colorado National Monument on searing-hot summer evenings. Grand Junction’s fatal flaw was that, spectacular as it was, it certainly wasn’t a place for a single gay man to find other single gay men of comparable age.
That place turned out to be Fort Collins, Colorado, where I met my partner and lived for five years, four of which were spent covering environment and the fracking phenomenon for the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper. By 2013, we were both getting tired of the blandness and wildfires of the serrated edge of the Great Plains (but not the beer!). Resumes were emailed, a job was offered, and now I’m working in the last place in the world a sworn transplanted westerner ever would want to end up: New York City. SoHo, to be exact. Two blocks off that broad tourist-choked strip bearing Bloomingdales and the throngs of MasterCard-tossing masses.
Now I’m a desert rat in exile writing about climate science and energy for a climate research and news organization based in New Jersey. (Jersey!)
My partner and I live in Westchester County about five miles south of the Appalachian Trail and some of the most surprising suburban mountain landscapes I never expected to find in New York.
It’s awesome. Read all about it here.
A few other points of interest:
• My favorite beers are New Belgium Brewing’s Rampant Imperial IPA; I love a bold in-your-face zinfandel washed down with a shot of tequila and black coffee.
• A handful of books have changed my life and have had great influence on how I think about the world: Edward Abbey’s “Desert Solitaire,” Terry and Renny Russell’s “On the Loose,” David Petersen’s “Heartsblood,” Stephen Bodio’s “Querencia,” Craig Childs’ “The Soul of Nowhere” and “Secret Knowledge of Water,” and Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet.”
• I learned to love grits and collard greens only after I moved away from the South.
• Procrastination is a drug, just like sex and good wine.
• I believe photography is one of the highest forms of modern art.
• I live with my partner of five years, Jacob Morgan, in Westchester County, New York.
Contact me here.