The son of an Amish-Mennonite pastor from Pennsylvania in the United States, I was born in Washington, DC. I grew up shifting cultures between the low-income black neighborhood of Kenilworth in DC, where my parents had established a small church, and the rural Amish country of Pennsylvania.
I studied aviation for two years at a university in Texas before completing an undergraduate degree in English at Calvin College in Michigan. After college I volunteered for a year with AmeriCorps in San Francisco, then moved back to Kenilworth to work on a community history and family memoir project.
Along the way I labored in a lumber yard, looked after a church building on Capitol Hill, served food and drinks to DC’s elite, dabbled in performance art, learned photography, wrote poetry, coached volleyball, drove both packages and authors around the nation’s capital, and tried to be a good neighbor. Oh, and I spent three months biking across the US, from Pennsylvania to California via Winnipeg and Seattle.
Since the mid-2000’s I have been living mostly overseas with my wife, who is an international humanitarian development professional. During time in Pakistan, Burundi, and Ghana I blogged, worked on a memoir, published essays, completed communications consultancies, wrote for an international school, and did a fair amount of exploring by bike.
Before landing in Hanoi in 2016, I spent two years as a communications specialist at the University of California, Davis, where the best part of my job was writing major marketing pieces for the undergraduate admissions office. I am a dad to two sons.