I found a neat website that lets you map out your travels as you can see above, and I put in everywhere I have spent a night in the past year to see how it looked. Ye gods, I am tired just looking at it, but you don’t exactly know how things will turn out when they start…
A few notes:
– Most of my farthest-flung travels to the US were dictated in some part by my sister’s wedding this past summer. Presumably she will only ever do this once, so I was more than happy to earn an elite airline status for this!
– If this year had a travel theme, it is somehow this year evolved into a year of exploring the Mediterranean. I wasn’t planning on it, but I can pinpoint exactly when this happened: back in February I went to Lisbon on a cheap weekend fare after a breakup, and it turned out despite the dreary northern winter in the Netherlands it was sunny and 15C (~50s F) in Portugal. Sunshine and scenery is good medicine for a soul trying to sort itself out, and it occurred to me then that southern Europe is a rather nice place to get to know. A combination of a godawful spring and work commitments finally ensured I kept going back to the Mare Nostrum. Can’t complain!
– Similarly, as the Artie Aardvark posts show, it turns out astronomers travel a fair bit and this year work sent me to Belgium, Greece, the Canary Islands, and within the Netherlands. It’s really hard to complain when your job decides to give you essentially a tour of European vacation spots for a decent part of the fall, but not all locations were equally exciting and it starts to get tiring when you’re away for the third week within two months (for a slog to the northern Netherlands in November, no less- vacation tours only last so long).
To writ, travel for work is almost always more interesting than working where you normally do, but it should not be confused with an actual holiday because you tend to arrive home exhausted. Especially when your schedule is suddenly on a 7am-4pm sleep cycle during an observing run!
– Also, I should mention that back in the very first days of 2013 I went for a wonderful few days down to Moab, where I began collecting US National Park stamps (because this is clearly a good hobby to start when you no longer live in the US). Despite a locational handicap I managed to get 29 stamps in four regions of the US this year, which sounds really impressive until you visit Washington DC and realize 16 of those stamps are from all the various memorials (and 6 from the various Boston National Historical sites). Still, on the list of “incredibly geeky travel hobbies” I’d say I’m doing pretty well there!
So, what’s next? Well I took the liberty of filling out the rest of the year’s route back to the US for Christmas (NPS stamp #30 should be picked up within the week at Cape Canaveral!)- a country that I’ve noticed somehow slid into more “a place I used to live” status than “home” when I wasn’t paying attention, but that sentiment is complex and outside the realm of this post. Beyond that, well, nothing’s booked yet. I have some checks from recent writing that I’m determined to spend on a nice spring break scuba diving because it’s really awesome to realize you made enough money writing to go on a diving trip. I have realized that the summer after next will not exist for me because my thesis will be due, so I really need to spend some time on a good adventure during this one to someplace and am looking at my options. And I know a large reason I wanted to live in Europe in the first place is how the list of nice places to visit is never-ending (Krakow! Norway! Porto! Nuremberg!), so no reason to assume that list will not be tackled.
Wishing a wonderful Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 to all who stumble across this corner of cyberspace. Adventures are never as fun when you keep them to yourself, and it has been wonderful to share mine with you!