The Journey is Home

Notes from a life on the edge

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Pub Date 01 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 04 Jul 2022

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Description

In this clear and absorbing memoir, John Sam Jones writes of a life lived on the edge. It’s a story of journeys and realisation, of acceptance and joy. From a boyhood on the coast of Wales to a traumatic period as an undergraduate in Aberystwyth, and on to a scholarship at Berkley on the San Francisco Bay as the AIDS epidemic began to take hold, before returning to Liverpool and north Wales to work in chaplaincy, education, and sexual health. A journey of becoming a writer and chronicler of his experiences with award-winning books and the somewhat reluctant compulsion to become a campaigner for LGBT rights in Wales. The adventure of running a guest house in Barmouth where he eventually became Mayor with his husband, a German academic, whom he had married after a long partnership. Just days after European Referendum they put the business on the market... and then moved to Germany. John is still on that journey.

In this clear and absorbing memoir, John Sam Jones writes of a life lived on the edge. It’s a story of journeys and realisation, of acceptance and joy. From a boyhood on the coast of Wales to a...


Advance Praise

This beautifully constructed and moving book is a story of a life lived on the margins, and a search for home and belonging. Like a precious stone, the book’s multiple facets reflect different parts of the journey which glisten and dazzle. John Sam Jones vividly explores his sexuality, scarred by a homophobic culture and time, discovers family secrets, confronts shame and guilt, institutional abuse and sexual violence, explores his faith and friendships, and eventually finds deep and enduring love. And through and in that journey, lived always on the edges, he discovers joy and fulfilment, and finds his way home.

-Jeffrey Weeks OBE, author of Coming Out


This beautifully constructed and moving book is a story of a life lived on the margins, and a search for home and belonging. Like a precious stone, the book’s multiple facets reflect different parts...


Marketing Plan

Simultaneous publication of Welsh language version, Y Daith Ydi Adra, translated by Sian Northey.

Simultaneous publication of Welsh language version, Y Daith Ydi Adra, translated by Sian Northey.


Available Editions

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ISBN 9781912681747
PRICE $20.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 4 members


Featured Reviews

4.5 stars

A beautiful & meaningful memoir of identity, family, belonging, & community.

[What I liked:]

•I like the writing style. Easy to read, at points beautiful; it has a nice cadence & rhythm.

•I resonated with Jones’s pained feelings about the divisions & ugliness Brexit stirred up. There are a lot of parallels to what was happening simultaneously in the US under the Trump administration. I appreciate his thoughts on national identity—how it overlaps & conflicts with ethnic, linguistic, familial, & other identities, & perhaps is much more fluid than we to think it is.

•The chapter about Jones’s mother’s ordeal with dementia was very touching. I’m going through something similar with my grandma right now.

•I really, really appreciate Jones’s account of his spiritual journey as a gay Christian, & his time at a theological seminary & in ministry. A lot of his thoughts & experiences I can relate to in some way as a queer christian myself. Especially his reflections on communion/the Eucharist. (& heck, he even is/was a fan of the St. Louis Jesuits, whose music I was brought up on, & I still have records of!)

•Jones’s career in public health, health education, community work, etc. was very interesting to read about.

•Overall, there is such an openness & vulnerability & gratitude for life in Jones’s telling of his story. It feels authentic & deep but not self-obsessed, which I think can be a fine line to strike in memoir.


[What I didn’t like as much:]

•The organization of the story took awhile to get the hang of. It’s thematically arranged rather than chronologically. Sometimes when recounting the far past, he uses present tense grammar. It works, it just took getting used to.

CW: homophobia, sexual abuse/assault/rape, terminal illness, suicide

[I received an ARC ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you for the book!]

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I really enjoyed this book, thanks so much! It was written very well and had a good cadence and rhythm. The story was captivating and just made me want to read, read, read....
I really appreciate Jones’s account of his spiritual journey as a gay Christian, & his time at a theological seminary & in ministry. What an interesting story!

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“An activist life - from North Wales to Germany”

I was interested in this book because I too hail from North Wales. The author's experiences range far and wide. As he grows up in the small seaside resort of Barmouth, he realises that he is gay. This then involves some frankly barbaric treatment (similar to that received by Turing I believe) that is goes under the guise of gay conversion therapy . Amazingly, there is still a debate around if this should be banned...
University and his theology studying gives him an opportunity to study in San Francisco and gain a certain amount of acceptance and make lifelong friends . There he encounters the start of the AIDS epidemic and its impact on the gay community. This experience he takes back with him to UK and uses in his Liverpool community/church work in the hope of educating and informing all sectors of society about how best to protect themselves. He is later offered a post in public health back in North Wales, where one person tries to convince him there is no-one gay in the area. His work also then includes raising awareness of LGBT rights in Wales.

Alongside his activism there is the personal story of his relationship with his parents and his care for them through illness. Also there is the central core love and marriage to Jupp, (a German Acadenic) Some comedy ensues in his descriptions of running a B and B in North Wales with Jupp- amusing objects left by guests etc.

As the Brexit process goes forward, Jupp and John Sam Jones move to Jupp's home town on the German/Netherlands border and John Sam Jones must start another process of acceptance.

The author is also an author of fiction and he is obviously an author with an easy style and a sharp eye for detail. Because of his experiences living in different countries and sectors of society , John Sam Jones is able to observe and comment with accuracy and insight.

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