I studied philosophy in the University of Sheffield and it was always philosophy of religion that fascinated me most, despite the fact that I am a non-believer. I have gone through my (so-called) ‘militant atheist’ phase, and now consider myself a humanist; I strive to let reason and kindness guide my decisions.
After graduating, I took a CELTA teaching qualification and moved to Hanoi. During my two years in Vietnam I set up my own ethical recruitment company to combat discrimination in the teaching sector and give back to local educational charities. It was here that the idea for the project was born. After Vietnam, I moved back to the UK where every summer I work in some of the most prestigious colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, teaching English, Global Issues, and Philosophy to students from over 100 nationalities. Each year, it’s a welcome antidote to the news; a reminder that we have more in common than differences.
In 2015/2016 I lived in Amman, Jordan where I worked for the British Council as well as an educational publishing house that housed employees from nearly every faith. Jordan is a country that acts as a paradigm example of geographical misrepresentation. My determination to make Pilgrimage of the Faithless a reality was renewed with fresh vigour.
Since then I have been teaching, writing, and preparing for the project.
I believe my character makes me a good fit for the project. I am open-minded, critical but tolerant, and determined to live my life in a way that maximises the positive difference I can make to the world.
I write most of the year round on a diverse range of topics: technology, philosophy, religion, travel, education, culture, and politics.
I am a keen photographer. I have been shortlisted for photography prizes, sell my photographs regularly, and hosted my own photography exhibit on Jordanian Street Art to raise money for art-based refugee charity AptArt.
I have been lucky enough to have visited almost fifty countries. I would like to continue traveling, but I am determined from here-on-out to travel with purpose.
Social media will also pay a key role in the project, and this is also an area that I have experience in. I manage various twitter and facebook pages and work as as a social media manager.
The project will be no walk in the park: I will be visiting volatile areas and taking risks in places where atheists are persecuted; I will be putting my whole life on film for eighteen months, through highs and lows; my personality and views will be open to the wrath of the internet; I will be questioning my beliefs and living strictly by moral and behavioural codes that differ from my own. Not to mention the individual challenges of the locations, be it fasting for Ramadan, silent retreats in Buddhist monasteries or navigating the slums of Varanasi where the dead are burnt openly on the street. But it’s a challenge that I face with eagerness and willing.