Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two sides of the same coin

Hands down, the coolest part of my life as a scientist is getting to explore the world and work outside in beautiful places. I can't go into what makes my particular field site amazing, but trust me it is. I meet new and awesome people from different cultures who broaden and challenge my view of the world and what is possible.

At the same time, this awesomeness does have a drawback. It means that I leave home for weeks or months at a time. I was fine with that idea in my early 20s, but it's not nearly so easy to just go now that I have a place to call home and a husband with a job there. I'm trying to work as hard as I can in the field so that I can minimize my time away from home, but it doesn't feel like enough time in the field while simultaneously feeling like too much time away.

Over the long term (after my Ph.D.), I might shift to doing research that doesn't require international travel but I would hopefully still be working in beautiful places, albeit perhaps somewhat less extraordinary or exotic. For the time being though, I'm playing with the coin I chose, trying to figure out how to be the best scientist and the best partner I can be at the same time.


African Fieldworker said...

yeah, I'd say you summed it up very well. I am planning on shifting to more lab based work, requiring less time in the field. (I mean, I've been in the field for 18 months straight, that's just insane). It's hard to balance your life under those conditions, and the only people I know who do long term fieldwork are men. who do it with lots of support (or sacrifice in some cases) from their wives. It's not encouraging.

Karina said...

Wow, 18 months straight in the field is a LONG time! When will you finish up in the field?

African Fieldworker said...

as soon as I get my export permit (for samples). Should be ready soon (fingers crossed)

Silver Fox said...

The longest I've ever been away was 30 days; it was far away and somehow that made the length seem longer. And it was exotic (or at least unusual) in it's own cold and wintry sort of way.

Hope you find a good balance!