Winters the past few years have felt like a kind of stasis. A summer of adventure has wrapped up with the falling of leaves, and then I’m back in NYC, figuring out life again. Mostly it’s on how to pay the bills; It’s always been a challenge in mindfulness to bend myself back into the city’s high pace lifestyle. Summer this year will be flipping that script a bit as I remain here for the first time in four years, and become a little more focused on stability over adventure. Will I flourish or stagnate? It depends on how involved I manage to become in community, skills-building and career development, while still enjoying myself to the fullest.
I’ll explain how I came to this choice shortly, but this month you would have found me on my bike between NYC & DC. I made a conscious choice following the recent conclusion of my winter employment to be more reserved in this outing. This was planned as a mirror of my Feb 2017 ride around Eastern Pennsylvania, but then morphed into a visit to the urban centers of Philly, Baltimore (first visit!) and DC. From May on, I’ll be newly residing in Flatbush, my seventh distinct neighborhood here.
From there, I will be immediately busy with another near-full-time gig that suddenly dropped into my lap. If that doesn’t hoover up all my time, and even if it does, my stated goals otherwise are: write and photograph more consistently, fully revamp this website with focus, and get outside as oft as possible. My new building even has a garden that I hope to contribute to! Overall, I feel like opportunity is very high for me right now, and my financial stress very low, so I’m likely to have it good the remainder of the year.
I thought about things as grand as the Pacific Crest Trail or riding up from Florida before settling on traveling regionally. Ultimately, with this opportunity appearing suddenly, I’m glad that cycle is on pause. If I had done another serious trip, I’d be stuck at the end building up haphazardly once more. Though it hurts to not be doing something epic, I can put that untapped energy into my aforementioned goals and establish the infrastructure that will let me continue this lifestyle, if it’s what I want to do next year.
This summer will be a time to either rediscover what I love about living here or start planning a constructive move. Where may I go? A place with a good arts culture, that’s outdoorsy, pedestrian friendly, and cheaper rent. I need to establish a home-base that I control to plan any further journies. Perhaps the strongest impetus for me though really is having stronger political representation, so I’m looking at relocating in a swing state rather than residing where the outcome is already predetermined like New York or California. We simply can’t have Trump another four years and I believe every vote will matter in 2020. Thanks to the Electoral College, that adage comes with the caveat of needing to be in the right place.
With spring in bloom, it’s time make some life announcements. A few things were afoot under that layer of ice I need to reveal!
In January, I changed my legal name. Henceforth, I’m Harrison June! Before taking such a drastic action, I spent a long time ruminating on this, mostly in internal monologues on bicycle. Essentially though, I lost my sense of identity with my former given name, John, and have been solely going for years by my surname, Harrison. So, I essentially reversed them, and chose June as a new last name to mix things up a little. “June” just felt familiar and simple, while also conveying a sense of summer’s warmth.
I also went vegan at the dawn of this new year. That intent is still well four months later. Veganism is a harshly restricting diet, but it’s something I’ve been inching my way towards over the past year. I’d been vegetarian for seven years and for most of 2018, been wondering if I could iterate upon it. I’ve viewed my diet as a way of doing good for myself and the planet; Now, I’m really adding in a new facet for animal rights by abstaining from dairy and eggs. It’s not hard at all to live this way in NYC, but I am curious how much it will hinder me while traveling and am still sorting my feelings on if this diet has longevity for me. I will be back to write a longer treatise eventually for those interested in some deeper opinions on the subject.
I wrote about quitting social media in the waning days of 2018, and I’m still living in the void. I have found myself fortunate to keep my social life going through a dedicated group of tabletop gamers, climbing and juggling. I’m not sure what I’ve missed out on, but I feel a sense of acceptance in my choice. I will say, that unfortunately my photography has languished without an easy vessel (Instagram) to get a few hundred eyes on each of my uploads. But, this has always been just a quick fix for me.. what if I was able to instead really highlight my best work here on my website, as well as interact with and highlight my writing to people who want to discuss it with me? These are very much infrastructure goals.
With a full season’s worth of code consulting now behind me, I’ve filled my coffers nicely. It was a bit challenging to put forty hours a week into something I wasn’t very into for such a sustained pace. However, it was a good trial to prove that I have the capability to work in an office full time. However, unless I find a cause I’m really into, I’m going to continue structuring my life for maximum freedom and flexibility. My new gig kicking off next week will be mostly remote, which is something I’m stoked to try for the first time, and I leave this essay with a sense of optimism on the way forward.
Below are some of my photography updates in the last six months.