A Chance in Pace and a Change in Place

Hello All,

I have been lamentably silent of late, and for this I apologise. I have been making arrangements for my impending trip, and it is about this trip that I would like to muse for a little while.

I am currently sitting in the familiar surrounding of a student cafe in the library that has served as my base of operations for over a year. The sun is shining, the wind is gently blowing, and the university campus is tranquil. The undergraduates are at home for the holidays, and only the stalwarts remain. The calm of this environment seems somewhat like the calm before the storm. The pleasant weather seems surreal, since I will soon be flying to a place in which the weather will be the exact opposite, in the grip of a deep winter with heavier-than-average levels of snow. My location fills me with a deep sense of nostalgia and déjà vu, for it was in this very room that I worked on essays as an undergraduate, worked on my Honours dissertation, and started the very first research into my PhD topic. As a scholar I am somewhat incestuous, eschewing other universities for the comforting environs of my alma mater, and for a supervisor whom I trust, admire and respect. I feel dislocated in time and space, in a familiar environment and yet on the cusp of transformative change.

In less than a month, I will be in the United Kingdom, undertaking a ‘research mobility scheme’ at the university or York. As a medievalist, I feel like I am returning to the home of my research, which resides as much within landscape and place as it does within literature. While at York, I will attend a series of conferences, participate in Intermediate Latin (exciting) and Palaeography (challenging) modules. I know for a fact that the six months that I will spend in this temporary abode will shape my thesis, change my ideas and challenge me.  This is exciting, for all major changes are exciting. We feel a thrill when we disrupt the monotony of our lives to do something completely different, something novel, something exciting. And yet unlike my other forays overseas, this trip will be both business and pleasure. I feel a deep tingle of anticipation at the notion of sitting in random and inspiring locations with my laptop, steeped in history. This is somewhat ridiculous, and yet I feel that I need to shake up my PhD candidature. Too much of the same thing is not a good thing when a creative endeavour is afoot.

This blog, random collection of infrequently updated whimsical snippets that it is, will serve as my travel journal for the duration of my trip. This will not only be a journal of sights, but also a travel journal of ideas. I may decide to just photobomb, and post a series of images from my travels. Feel free to ask for anything that interests you, and I shall blog about it. Anything for my friends and neighbours :p

On that note, a peer of mine has discerned that I have recently purchased a portable scanner, which I intend to test before I go away. This will be the topic of my next post, so keep your eyes peeled!

Goodbye for now,

James

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