Dustin Tyler Joyce
No, I do not have a North Carolina accent.
My first claim to fame was winning the geography bee all three years I attended Carmel Middle School. All three years I also qualified for the state geography bee, and in seventh grade I won third place at the state level.
That job lasted for six months and two days, just in time for what I had earned all that money for: my service as a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I served for two years in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission, from 2001 to 2003. (Yes, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games took place in Salt Lake during that time.) I had never been to Utah before and, coming from North Carolina, in many ways it may as well have been a foreign country. But I grew to love the Salt Lake Valley and its people, and my mission was an experience that changed my life.
When I returned home from my mission in January 2003, I had no idea that I would be going back to Salt Lake City four short months later to study urban planning and French at the University of Utah. After some time at the U, as locals call it [Note 1], I decided I needed a different perspective on urban planning, as well as a chance to polish my French. So I undertook a study abroad at Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands followed by a stint at the Institut d’Études Françaises pour Étudiants Étrangers in Aix-en-Provence, France, which was part of the Université Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III (now simply Aix-Marseille Université). I also had an awesome experience teaching English throughout Italy with an organization called ACLE. I love each of those countries, though—if I may admit—it is The Netherlands that holds a special place in my heart.
It was during college that my second claim to fame happened. While visiting New York City with a friend during spring break sophomore year, a woman approached us in the Borders that used to be in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. She introduced herself, stated she was with Cosmopolitan magazine, and inquired if she could ask us a couple of questions. She also said that she would need to take our photos. The result: we ended up appearing in a small column in the June 2005 issue of Cosmo, a copy of which I found at a newsstand at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan that summer—all the way in Italy!
As my studies in Europe were coming to an end, I landed an internship at The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) in Washington, D.C. In another instance of being in the right place at the right time, which seems to be a recurring theme in my life, they offered me a job. The opportunity to live in a city as beautiful as Washington, D.C., and work with an organization such as USCM, just a block from the White House—literally in America’s political heart—and even run a national program for them, was one I couldn’t pass up. And so I spent several years working for USCM and a small political consulting firm.
It’s also good I didn’t pass up that opportunity because in January 2007, nine months after arriving in D.C., I met Susan Hibdon. On 29 February 2008, we were married in the Manhattan New York Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In July 2010 our daughter, Fiona, joined our family.
After a while, it comes time to move on, and in early 2011 I left my job at USCM and joined the effort at Transportation for America, where I worked to build support for progressive, sustainable federal transportation policy that encouraged funding for transit, biking, and walking infrastructure.
(This could be a good moment to mention that I have never owned a car, and never plan to. I finally got my driver’s license a few months after I turned 25.)
But then once again it came time to move on. The world’s a big place—its land area is 57.51 million square miles (148.94 million square kilometers) in fact, and D.C. is only 68.3 square miles (177 square kilometers) of it. After living there for five years, Susan and I felt the time had come to go someplace else. After pursuing several opportunities, one fell into place, and on 1 September 2011 we moved to New York City. And here I am today. I spend my days as a freelancer and enjoying the adventure of being Fiona’s dad. So if you’re ever in New York City you’re likely to find us enjoying one of the city’s numerous and awesome playgrounds and carousels, riding the subway or the bus or the ferry or the Roosevelt Island Tram—Fiona seems to love public transportation as much as I do—and just generally having a fun time together. We’re great chums.
My early interest in geography and architecture grew into a love for urban planning and cities. I believe all cities can and should be livable, sustainable, and economically vibrant—the type of city Susan and I want to raise our family in, which is why we are grateful to have started our family in Washington, D.C., and to live in New York City now. I love visual design of all sorts, and much of my work as a freelancer involves print and related graphic design. I believe in working with others to build a better community and world, which is why I follow policy and politics at all levels of government. But I also have an incongruent propensity to follow pop culture, which might explain why my favorite TV show right now is Community on NBC (which I watch online because I don’t have a TV). I love language and linguistics and the power of words, and I am continually impressed by others’ ability to use words so beautifully and precisely, something I struggle to do. I speak French—au moins, j’essaie. I also love the pure, simple pleasure of chocolate ice cream.
But of everything I have and everything I’ve done, I’m grateful for nothing more than I’m grateful for Susan and Fiona. I love and look up to each of them very much; they make my life complete.
My latest posts/articles
- 10 ideas to prepare to serve a mission 6 November 2017 - A list of 10 ideas young men and women currently preparing to serve missions can focus on. Dustin wrote this list while he was serving as a full-time missionary himself in the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He rediscovered this list in fall 2017 while sorting through and digitizing personal papers from his mission.
- The Danbury Railway Museum 30 October 2017 - Our family took a day trip to the end of the Danbury Branch of Metro-North’s New Haven Line — and visited a railway museum, of course.
- The High Line 25 October 2017 - The third and final phase of Manhattan’s groundbreaking urban park-in-the-sky finally opens.
- A reason to smile 24 September 2017 - The smallest member of our family now has a mouth full of teeth!
- Why I refuse to visit Stone Mountain 23 August 2017 - On our family's summer vacation to northern Georgia, we've visited lots of places in Atlanta and the surrounding area. Stone Mountain was not one of them. Here's why — and why I believe all Confederate monuments should come down.