I grew up in a small village in Upstate New York. From an early age, my parents encouraged me to obtain education through travel, perhaps not fully aware of the roving monster they would spawn. When my twenties had passed, I had worked, traveled, volunteered, and studied around the world in over 60 countries, for more than eight years, before moving to Downtown Los Angeles in late 2006. I have lived there for the past five years, and until December 2011 operated a civil litigation practice located in an office a daily bicycle ride away.
Reflections on some of these experiences, and most pertinently those within Africa, have led me to place my law practice into hibernation and embark on a pan-African journey with a purpose of experiencing the continent’s humanity and environmental riches. I first visited Africa, choosing Morocco in 2002, during winter break from a Masters course in International Relations in London. Three years later, I worked on a team defending an alleged war criminal on trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, a United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal in the capital city of Freetown. I spent many hours conversing with the people of Freetown, many of which remain vivid memories. While in Sierra Leone and other West African countries, I shot video footage, which I eventually turned into a pair of amateur documentaries.
During my time in Africa, I saw both the vast potential for adventure on the continent, and the myriad problems that its countries collectively face. While in Mali, along with one of the co-venturers on this trip, Lee Gordon, we began to think about what it would like to travel through Africa with our own vehicle. We thought about how we could explore, and therefore enrich our own lives, while raising awareness with those who are in a position to help, which hopefully could benefit the lives of those with whom we came into contact. For almost seven years, these thoughts have never been far from an impassioned discussion. I now return to Africa ready to explore, to observe, to share, to effect positive change in whatever small way possible.