I'm at the point where I can begin a new journey in Dark Souls 2, but I have some things I'd also like to clear up in this existing run through (get spells, etc).
If I start a new journey, does that automatically end the existing one?
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Simple answer: If I start a new journey, does that automatically end the existing one? - Yes
There's no functionality in game to make a copy of any save, by your hand or by any action in the game. The only way to make a copy is to go into the files on your computer and copy them manually.
Going to new game plus will drop you off at the very beginning of the game again with all of the changes that happen, and then your game will auto save like it does when pretty much anything else happens. Make sure to do anything you want done at the end of the game before you start your next journey.
This is true for all souls games, regardless of if they give you the option to start new game plus when you want.