The Long Road to the Rockies
Newsletter 1: Sept/Oct
My dear friends,
At long last, I’ve returned to the West. After two months of toiling away in Syracuse and back home in Connecticut, fundraising my salary and gathering up all my scattered possessions, I made the three-day, 33-hour drive to Denver to start this new chapter of life. How has it all felt? I suppose it’s both exactly what I expected, and strangely enough, somehow less dramatic than I thought it would be.
These past six months have brought more change than probably any other point in my entire life. I finished grad school, rebuilt a broken relationship, took on a mission on the other side of the country, ran home to be there as our family dog got put down, watched my childhood home go up for sale, waved all my college friends goodbye, moved out of my beloved Syracuse apartment, spent a month out west training for said mission, and then came back to gather up all my stuff, ask you all to financially support my work, and get my master’s project published by National Geographic. That is, to put it lightly, quite the rollercoaster, and yet for some reason, I feel as if I have had very little to say about it all. How unlike me.
But, of course, you all need an update on the adventure, so here it goes:
September felt like many things and almost nothing at the same time. Support raising was a challenge, but I made some initial progress. Finding a routine was tough while away from the rest of the Creatio team and living a transient life sleeping on friend’s couches and floors. It was a lovely month though, and as bittersweet as it may have been, I was blessed to have the time to say goodbye to the friends, university, and city with which I have spent the last six years of my life. I will miss you all very much, and I thank God every day for the years we spent together. To many more someday!
Things got a little more intense in October, as I packed up all my stuff that was still in Syracuse and headed home to Connecticut for the month. By then the pressure was really on, and I needed to make bigger strides in fundraising, while at the same time visiting family and friends before I moved to Denver not knowing when I’ll be back in CT. Once again, it was bittersweet to say goodbye, but it was made much easier by the enthusiasm you all have for this adventure I’ve set out on. I could not and have not done anything in my life without all of you, so once again, thank you.
October was also the month I achieved what was quite possibly my oldest dream: being published in National Geographic. Photos from my master’s project, my exploration of traditional Catholicism titled The Way, the Truth, and the Life, and pieces of my personal faith journey were published on National Geographic’s website on October 26th. You can check it out here. I’m truly blessed to do the work that I do and humbled that it speaks to others in the way that it does.
The work I began as a photographer now continues as a Creatio missionary.
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Thank God everything fit in my car. It would’ve been so annoying to have to rent a trailer or something like that. Honestly it’s possible I actually brought too much, considering the space I have here.
I made it out west in three days. My first day was 12 hours south to TN to stay with my dad for a night, the next leg was a 10-hour haul to Columbia, MO, and a night on my friend’s floor (thanks Gavin), before making a final 11-hour push through the Great Plains till I could see the Front Range rising in the sunset and I could finally rest in a bed that’s mine after months as a vagabond.
It’s time for me to settle into a new routine. I really haven’t had one in six months and it’ll be nice to rest in that, however busy it may turn out to be. It’s wonderful to be back with the Creatio team and no longer doing it alone, and in that same vein, to be living in a community called Mission House Denver with three other men committed to intentional community too. Hopefully I’ll have my time to write these next few months! I’ve been wanting to do more for you guys but haven’t been able to since I started this Substack. Stay tuned for more soon, as I settle into missionary life! And please keep me in your prayers. You can be assured of mine.
Excited, busy, and gratefully yours,