Monday, March 5, 2012

The Way

Gosh, I'm not even certain where to start!

February is, for me, usually a month that basically passes by without my really acknowleding it. Case in point: it's usually the month I go on holidays, which makes it even shorter. This year, however, things took a bit of a different turn. I've been trying my very best to involve myself in my PhD department, without really making much headway. I tend to say I will do something and then never quite get around to it. In February, all of that changed! I have now become the Social Media Moderator for the PhD department, which includes a blog, a Facebook group and a Twitter account to manage and keep up-to-date and interesting! I will also, this month, become the first PhD Student Blogger for the university at large, which I am looking forward to. I already have my first few posts lined up! It will mean that I will now have five blogs, some personal, some professional to look after, so I hope I don't neglect any of them (for more than a week at a time). I will try to update this one every month, as I do now.

I have also, though I'm not certain how as it was unintentioned, been marked as the tech person in the department. I attribute this to the fact that our current tech person is involved in a two month long project and mostly unavailable for daily questions. So I'm it. Lucky me. I try to avoid things like this, but since I automatically say 'yes' whenever people ask for help, I guess I walked into it. I hope it does not last for long!

I have done very little creative writing in the last month, though I have just (literally) finished a 12,000 word paper for my supervisor. I'm not at all happy with it, as I knew I wouldn't be, but I think it has at least served it's purpose, which was to put it all straight in my head. I at least know (or think I know) where I am headed now.

February also saw a big decision. I have been toying for months of what to do to 'celebrate' turning 30 next year. I wanted to do something Amazing and New and Memorable. In January I decided that doing another dive trip would be a great idea, because it would take very little time out of my busy schedule, involve family (and diving) and be, if not new, at least amazing. But I have previously done an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime dive trip for my twenty-fourth birthday and I guess my brain was attempting to figure out something better. And, boy, did it ever!

I've always loved to hike. I've been planning to do Hadrian's Wall for a while now, and fully intended to work my way up to it this year (September) by walking in the Peak District this summer (in all my free time). I was busy doing research for my holiday in May this year, in N. Ireland, and came across multiple websites that do hiking or biking holidays. I was intregued. I suppose, in many ways, perhaps my decision was fated.

And then, about two weeks ago, I watch the movie The Way, which is a character-driven story about a father who's enstrangled son unexpectedly dies on the first day of the Camino Frances. Flying to France to bring back his son's remains, the man begins to realise all the things about his son that he never really understood and resolves to take the ashes on the 800km trek to Santiago de Compostela himself. It is a movie as much about the father's journey as it is about the son 'completing' his.

I woke up the next more knowing that I'd found my own way. And so, next year, I will be walking the Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied to Santiago de Compostela, on my own. Or as much as one can be when an estimated 300,000 pilgrims walk the routes every year. In all, I think February was the month I found myself, or at least my direction in life. I do feel much better now, certainly!

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