Summer 2021: Adventure Season Bleeds Into Fall (aka San Diego, Part Four)

I’m distracted by fun-loving airport staff whipping their luggage vehicles across the tarmac every few seconds, a sight I’m enjoying through a floor-to-ceiling window in Denver International Airport. Currently drinking a 2-for-1 caribou coffee (my ordered latte was mistakenly switched by a patron for theirs), and taking advantage of my normal layover writing time to post a quick update.

Last I wrote, I was flying back to Chicago from Montana. I spent just under two weeks at the ole’ homestead with my family before C, my youngest brother, and I set out in his little Honda hatchback for a new life in LA. We made the drive from Chicagoland to Culver City, California in good form. We stayed with a couple friends in Denver and then near Hollywood on the way. Our A/C went out just as we entered Utah, but we managed to make it through without casualty and having gained a greater appreciation for how stinking hot the desert can be.

It was an honor to accompany him on such a big step. I loved getting to see his new place and office, meet his landlords and coworkers, and be present for a huge transition. We enjoyed some time together for a day and change, and then I made my way down to San Diego to spend more time with good friends – a family that has very much adopted me into their brood.

My friend R and her wonderful parents and siblings let me stay with them for the past three weeks. When I spend time at the Woo house, I get to be one of the bunch. I get teased, do the dishes, ride the up’s and down’s of family life, and walk the dogs like a local. It’s an incredible privilege and never one I want to take for granted. I’m so thankful for them.

While in San Diego, besides working on my own remote work during the days and doing normal everyday SD life (including the occasional beach or boba run), R and I squeezed in an impressive number of adventures. We went backpacking, made the world’s quickest and most impromptu trip to Tijuana (Mexico), spent several days in a recording studio where I recorded some original songs (something I’ve been meaning to do for a while) and R experienced recording as well by laying a cajon track for one of them, and had my brother C down to visit on two different weekends.

Those big excursions were cushioned by plenty of smaller but equally memorable experiences – walks, runs, learning to cook Asian cuisine, hanging with the staggering network of people that also consider the Woo house a second home, practicing English and Spanish and Japanese, having jam sessions, playing mahjong, swimming in the ocean, walking the dogs, eating out at Korean BBQ, enjoying birthday parties and dinner gatherings, drinking in good conversations, and more.

It was a hard parting this morning when I was dropped off at the airport. I love the Woos like my own family. And they put up with me for extended periods of time. I’m thankful.

I’ll arrive in Chicago late tonight. The schedule becomes less solidified from here on out – I have a few large items on the calendar (a road trip to TX with my dad for a conference as well as two weddings, one in Chicagoland and one in Nashville) in October, and then after that the rest of the year is a mystery. The determining factor will be how long it takes for my visa renewal application to be approved and my passport returned to me, a prerequisite for returning to Belfast. That’s the next step for me – but the process could take just a few weeks, which would allow me to fly back to the UK in early November, or it could take many weeks, which would delay me until mid-December or longer. That and the ambiguity of travel restrictions and what life will look like once there mean lots of unknowns coming up. Not too different than normal.

Until then, I look forward to the special things I get to be a part of and celebrate this coming month, and am asking God to lead me forward into whatever He’d like this fall and next steps to look like for me.

Until next,


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