Life is an incredible journey and learning curve. This may sound like a cliché to some, yet when it is experienced you’ll know it’s exactly how it is. As they say: ‘Those who taste, know’. Life is also an awakening to which each impact and encounter provides food and nutrition.
“The bird which knows not of sweet water has his beak in salt water all the year”
So how I got to be where I am is itself a tale.
I graduated university as a young man with a degree in English Literature & American Studies (BA, 2:1 Hons) I decided I wanted to pursue my ambition to be a writer of fiction. I took some minimum wage manual work (factories, postal, courier) in order to keep my mind untouched for writing in the evenings.
Several years of living in a cold one-bedroom flat and having several novels rejected I decided it was time to reach out for the search to questions on my mind. I took a TEFL language training course in the Czech Republic, and then went to Prague to teach English and experience life. I met with several spiritual seekers, and many serious drinkers. After one year of intellectual pursuits, I felt I needed a more ‘heart’ environment. I landed in Istanbul, Turkey.
I stayed for five years. I moved to a private university and began giving courses in English & American literature. I also plunged deeply into Turkish life & lore. I learnt the language, met several dervishes and strange characters, explored intimately, and travelled widely. I crossed pathways with many seekers as I travelled through the many regions of Turkey, then Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian territory, Tunisia, and other domains. Yet still my questions remained unanswered. I wrote reams of poetry, though. I sensed the world was going through rapid change.
After graduating university with a degree in English Literature & American Studies (BA, 2:1 Hons) I decided I wanted to pursue my ambition to be a writer of fiction. To do this, I took some minimum wage manual work (factories, postal, courier) to keep my mind untouched for writing in the evenings. After several years of living in a cold one-bedroom flat and having several novels rejected, I decided it was time to reach out for the wider world. I went to Prague in 1996 to teach English and to live freely. It was a wonderful year.
Then I decided to move on – to a more exotic location. I arrived in Istanbul, Turkey in late summer 1997. I taught at a private university, learnt to speak Turkish, explored intimately, and travelled widely. As well as extensive travel within Turkey I also travelled through Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian territory, Tunisia, and other domains. I sensed the world was rapidly changing and I knew I had to keep up.
I moved back to the UK in the summer of 2002 and gained an MA (Distinction) in ‘Globalization, Identity & Technology’ at Nottingham Trent University. My Masters thesis was on applying Ervin Laszlo’s ‘General Evolution Theory’ to new communications, specifically the Internet (‘An Evolutionary Paradigm of Social Systems’ – 2003). Immediately after this, I moved to Lancaster University to complete my doctorate in sociology. My research was on complexity theory and how it could be applied to new information communication networks, such as blogging and mobile phones (‘New Complexities: converging spaces of connectivity, communication, and collaboration’ – 2006). During this time, I also worked as a lecturer and seminar teacher in various sociology subject areas. After finishing my doctorate I moved to the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University as a Research Associate and began work on what would finally be published as After the Car (Polity, 2009). During this time, I was researching deeply into how several major processes were shaping the future, such as resource depletion; climatic changes; digital technologies, and geopolitical events. How did this all fit into my expanding worldview? My response was to take leave from the university and go my own way. I left behind everything and jumped into the void.
I arrived in Andalusia, southern Spain, in the last week of February 2009 with one bag of clothes and one hand-luggage full of books and a laptop. I had started a new life. I rented a lovely small apartment on the cliff top of an Andalusian white town (Arcos de la Frontera), with a little private courtyard.
Here I sat down to write. Within three months I had written the first draft of the book New Consciousness for a New World (2011), which was eventually published with a generous forward written by Ervin Laszlo – the very same person I had written my MA thesis on many years previously.
My research and writing intensified, so I decided it was time to move to a more permanent settlement. The Andalusian countryside had claimed me…and the books began to flow…
I entered a new learning curve – gardening and growing vegetables. I learned to grow, and appreciate, home-grown vegetables, alongside my fruit and olive trees. I lived off the water mains with a 30-metre water well, which also irrigated the land. In this settlement, I continued to write consistently.
In 2012 I decided to begin my own publishing and established the independent book imprint BEAUTIFUL TRAITOR BOOKS in order to release my own writings. Under this imprint I have published a range of fiction and non-fiction, as well as translations into Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
In the summer of 2021, I made the decision to leave Andalusia after 12 glorious years. I left my beloved home and moved back to the UK to continue with my work. Life is constantly in motion.
Once while St. Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, “What would you do it you were suddenly to learn that you were to die at sunset today”? He replied, “I would finish hoeing my garden.”