Kierkegaardian. Solitude advocate. Multilingual bookworm. Lover of storms, oceans, and rains. Psychology & history of religion researcher. Trekkie.
Scar: A Potted History
I spent my early childhood wandering, living in tents and caravans, until my mother joined a cult and we moved into a flat when I was eight.
For the following decade my mother followed an evangelical, highly restrictive religious way of life, and being a child and therefore bound by what my parent was doing, I did too. At seventeen I quit it all and ran away to London, leaving behind everyone I had known and loved. The religion practices shunning, but also sends its priests after you to try to get you back when you leave, so the next couple of years were spent essentially on the run, hiding from the religious authorities.
In 2001 I started working as a proofreader, translator, writer and poet. Gradually my client base built up, and eventually I realised there was enough work coming in to set up an agency and subcontract other freelancers into the mix. And so Bohemiacademia was born – a freelance agency specialising in writing, translation, proofreading and editing. We have over 50 freelancers on the books, available for a wide range of projects in 36 languages. We also do social media management.
In 2007 I joined a research group based at Oxford University, studying the motivations and experiences of people who go on pilgrimages. We spent a couple of years visiting sacred sites with groups of Catholics and groups of Pagans, talking to them about their beliefs and spiritualities. Since then, we’ve been writing up and sporadically publishing the findings from our research.
In 2010 I started working as a freelance investigator specialising in child protection, counter terror and digital forensics. My work in this field took me all over the world, having meetings in very exciting places and talking to some fascinating people. Highlights included working on an investigation that saved 200 children from a sex ring; feeding into a project that will make the internet a safer place for young people; and working on the initial stages of an algorithmic solution that means it is now much easier to identify and investigate instances of child abuse material. As of 2017, the UK government is bringing in legislation that will make it very hard for individual practitioners to continue working in these fields, so faced with a decision between no longer working for myself and joining a company or agency instead, or stopping the investigative work, I chose the latter.
This year (2017) has seen a shift in life patterns. I am focusing mainly on writing, and on running the freelance agency. In January I was approached by a publisher who asked me to write a book about digital forensics, which is set for publication in August. I am also working on a number of other projects, including a collection of philosophy essays and a couple of psychology research papers. In my spare time, I am renovating my flat.
I also write and perform music. I call my style “punk-folk”, because it’s a mixture of those two genres in terms of attitude, subject matter and vocal style. It’s quite echoey and melancholic, and mainly written either on the piano or a cappella, although from time to time I pick up a ukulele too. I have sung soprano in various choirs, most recently as part of Aves Cantantes in West London (the best part of London). Currently I am taking a break from performing.
At the moment I am spending most of my time at home due to health reasons. When I was a teenager, my internal organs rose up in a kind of painful angry rebellion and tried to kill me – and nearly succeeded – and now they are trying again. Luckily it’s looking like they’re not going to succeed this time either, but I am taking lots of precautions and am splitting my time between home and the hospital, and therefore being even more of an antisocial introvert than normal.
In summary, I have done lots of things with my life so far, some of which are on my reverse bucket list page, although this needs to be updated. I plan to continue to do things I find interesting, whilst also trying to be of some use to the world. I prefer to live deeply, rather than worrying about the number of years I spend alive. My main outstanding ambition is to one day walk around the coastline of Britain.
I love to listen to people’s stories, discover more about the experience of being human and existing in the world, and find out about people’s motivations, lifestyles and points of view. Feel free to get in touch, even if it’s just to send me your story – sometimes it’s good to rant into a void on the internet.