On the Name

Its a rare and blessed experience in life. If you are here, you probably know why. You are here to follow, well, me.

And, therefore, you might be surprised to see that there will be no mention of my real name on this website. I have done this for a couple of reasons:

  1. I value anonymity on the internet. I smile when I noticed that if you google search for my real name, no pictures of me pop-up. I am delighted that I have withstood the compulsion to create a social media account (more on this another time).
  2. By using a different name, I hope that it will change my mindset when I write here. I can be more analytical of my own feelings and behavior. When you get off an airplane, every Square People Pipe looks the same. Every airport looks like an airport. The first time you realize–and really appreciate–that you’ve actually traveled anywhere is when you see the name of wherever you are. Names manipulate distance.

Atticus Gallivant. Sure, it sounds like a name out of a John Green novel. But it was intentionally chosen.

Why Gallivant?

Gallivant means “to go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment.” And though there will be plenty of work and struggle throughout this journey I am on, I hope to find pleasure, entertainment, and joy in all that I do where ever I go. I have chosen for myself the curious search for beauty and humanity. I want to push myself to find people and experiences worth appreciating in all things I do. Therefore, gallivanting is part of my life’s ambition. And with something so core to my perception of Self, I might as well integrate into my identity somehow–and now it is, of sorts.

Atticus, however, is a bit more complicated.  For the past month, I have been in the process of de facto changing my first name to Atticus. No legal paperwork has been filed yet, though I probably will someday. I will use Atticus as my first name with all interactions on this journey. So, I would appreciate that if you leave a comment, you do not refer to me by my old name.

Why Atticus? 

I wanted a name to which I could aspire, a name I feel like I have to earn. I wanted the name to be refreshing and interesting. I did not want a common name nor a unique name.  And so I stumbled upon and selected Atticus to be the first part of my online pseudonym.

And if you have heard the name before, it is likely from one of three sources:

  1. Atticus the Lawyer. A brilliant and principled fictional character played by one of the most famous actors in history from one of the most important books in American history. Someone certainly worth aspiring to be.
    • (It is a happy coincidence that one of my favorite nicknames for my dog is “Scout.”)
  2. Atticus the Philosopher. Not much is known about him, but my recently discovered interest in philosophy made this name sexier.
  3. Atticus the Poet. A pseudonym of a brilliant poet who wrote a devastatingly beautiful book of poetry that I count as my favorite.

I will let you do the psychoanalyzing as to why I chose this name. My truth is: I like it. And it fits me for some or all of the reasons that popped in your head.

I have created a more mature and complete version of myself that I have named Atticus; it is he who I aspire to be.

For now, I will still ask people in person to call me by my parentally-given name. I have considered formally changing my name to Atticus, but that will have to wait for me to earn that honor. Perhaps I never will, but I at least want a clearly identified and named vision of who it is I want to be.

On this Project



Thank you for joining me on my adventure.  And as with any adventure, no one knows exactly what they are getting themselves into as they take their first step.

The purpose of this blog is for me to track and for you, dear readers, to follow the notable and interesting steps I take on my journey.  I hope to post about the milestones and maladies along the way. I hope to introduce you to people I meet and the experiences we share. I hope to use this as a place to explore my thoughts and feelings, seek and find advice, and, maybe on occasion, vent my frustrations. I hope to post pictures, videos, essays, and stories.  In other words, just as I do not know where my journey will take me, I do not yet know where my journal will go.

I will go into greater detail about what, exactly, my journey will be in a later post. I have some expectations and dreams for what my journey will be, but those aren’t particularly interesting to write about until they are either betrayed or confirmed by reality. But here are a few expectations I have of what this space is and will be:

  1. I want this to be interactive. I will allow comments on all of my posts and have set up a Contact Me page. If you have anything you’d like to say, please say so! I will certainly respond to questions and suggestions.
  2. I expect to update this blog at least once-a-week from here until I decide to close this project. Updates may be much more common than weekly.

So I hope you will find this as a useful and interesting place. The only audiences for whom I have ever written were my poor teachers and friends who were contractually obligated to read my thoughts. So I must say, I feel a bit nervous about posting here publically. For all to read. But I hope I have the courage throughout my travels to be honest and complete in my experiences.

But, to begin this honesty, I am doing this project for me.  I will continue to post here even if no one reads. I want this to be a record for me to return to; a perch from which I can oversee my progress and changes. I will probably continue to keep a private journal for all of the daily tedium, but this place is an opportunity for both you and me to track and follow the experiences that are worth remembering and sharing.

I have found myself hoping for a lot of things over the course of thinking about and writing this post.  Hope, for all of its virtues, is never surprising. We hope for a great many things when we travel: safety, novelty, the sublime.

There can be no adventure without hope; hope is what turns a pedestrian walk down the street into a quest for insights and novelty.

Here is to hope.

Here is to adventure.

Here is to the first step.