Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Big changes ahead

Hello, everyone.

As I’ve been hinting and promising for the last few weeks, here is my announcement.

26 weeks from today, June 17, marks the final day of work in my present job.

That date is Friday, December 16, 2011, which will also herald five-and-a-quarter years at Gemini Observatory and in Chile.

What will happen next is:

  1. I’m leaving the organization.
  2. I’m leaving Chile by January 1.
  3. I’m getting out of astronomy as soon as possible.
  4. I’m going around the world (RTW) in 2012!

I’m very much looking forward to these positive and necessary developments.

Over the last couple of years, I’d been sitting on the fence about what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I wasn’t writing any papers for peer-reviewed jounals – that all important “currency” to a job in this business – and I’d lost all desire for astronomy research, which, as many know, is an absolute killer in this game. That bothered me, but I got over it, even if it took a year or two to really have it all sink in.

The most recent astronomy conference I attended was held in Lyon exactly one year ago this week (June 2010). The meeting would be my last as a professional astronomer. As few knew what I’d been contemplating, the occasion became a little bittersweet. What’s true is that I’ll miss seeing my fellow astros in new faraway places and talking “shop”.  At least, I got some nice photographs from Lyon, and despite the unusually cool grey skies during my visit, I loved Lyon, and I hope to go back and photograph her some more.

I came to terms about doing something different, and one clear result was that photography would play a larger role in the future. I suppose it’s a little odd to verbalize this, but what I’m looking forward is the hope of attending a Twestival or photography conference sometime during the trip, somewhere around the world.

I realized I needed some time and distance to regain some perspective about what I wanted after spending over a decade in astronomy. I was planning on taking a couple of months off, but I recognized a much larger window of opportunity.

Why not travel around the world for the rest of 2012? No jungles, no deserts, just cities – big cities – well, mostly …

After leaving Chile, I plan to head out to the Bay Area for about three months at the beginning of 2012. I’ll wait for my shipment of belongings to arrive, and move them into a storage unit somewhere in the area. Also, in this time, I’d like to visit family and friends in Vancouver, BC, visit friends in Los Angeles, and spend my birthday with friends in the Bay Area.

Starting from San Francisco, the preliminary RTW-itinerary includes:

  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Washington, DC
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • If sis recommends Hanoi or Saig … er … Ho Chi Minh City, who am I to say no …
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Christchurch, New Zealand; puttering about the South Island
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Perth, Australia
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Europe for 90 days, with all the base are belong to me, most likely in Berlin

I plan to return to North America sometime in the first-quarter of 2013.

I’ve been pricing fares with the Oneworld alliance, as I’ve been collecting the majority of air miles in the last decade with American Airlines. Among alliance members, all transoceanic, transcontinental flights for the destinations I’ve listed above are reachable with American Airlines, Cathay Airlines, Qantas Airlines, and British Airways. The subsequent RTW fare on their website is actually very reasonable. But given the maximum number of segments on Oneworld RTW fares, I’m looking to fly with a low-cost carrier where possible within Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

I’ll be photographing, blogging, and updating other social-media outlets. As I don’t presently own a smartphone, tweeting will be a challenge, but not impossible. I’ll see what happens.

I’ve moved my blog from Posterous to WordPress. While I’ve found Posterous very convenient as an email-to-blog autopost platform, WordPress has a number of configuration options with the kind of flexibility I’d like to use for this blog.

Today, I’m also launching on WordPress – it’s where you are now.  The construction ‘fotoeins’ (‘foto’ and ‘eins’) has been a nickname or handle I’ve been using for a number of years on Flickr and Twitter. The name is a mere eight letters, and fairly easy to remember.

In addition to bookmarking, you can also find me here:

I know that’s a lot, but you can see all of this again on the blog homepage, where on the right-side a set of social-media icons appears below my gravatar.

Of the many travel blogs I’ve read in the last few months, I’ve focused on:

There are more travel blogs to mention, and I’m going to be referencing them in the coming weeks and months.

Generally, travel bloggers are braver than me where they end up going. But as you can see from the itinerary above, I’m doing my RTW my own way, but that’s always how it starts and about what it is.

The great thing is that there are other like-minded individuals out in the world who have done or are currently in the midst of their long-term travel. What this means is that there is a lot of resource material available and an built-in network of support.

At this point, you might be asking why you might be reading this or why you should even care. If you’ve made it this far on this post, I want to tell you that you have been an important part of my life in some way – this note also goes to you as a word of thanks.

When I’ve completed this new, terrifying, and exciting stage, what awaits for me in 2013 is completely unknown, and I have to say I’m content with that uncertainty.

I’m looking forward to writing for you, the reader: about plans, about the travel, about things I’m going to see, about the people I’m going to see again, and about the photographs I’ve taken. I hope you enjoy my blog.

I’m going to end here with the music video to “Fernweh” by Herbert Grönemeyer. “Fernweh” in German is synonymous with “wanderlust”.

Take care, and I’ll “see” you soon from here, there, and everywhere.

HL – 1200h UTC, 17 June 2011.

24 Responses to “Big changes ahead”

  1. Stella

    Wow – this is big news indeed! Astronomy will miss you. Good luck with wrapping up and getting out of Chile; I can’t wait to read about your adventures in 2012. And I am looking forward to seeing you in our country’s capital 🙂


    • Henry Lee

      Thank you for the compliment, MK! Now, I eagerly await your upcoming impressions of Australia. 🙂


  2. Kieron

    So glad that you’ve made the decision to travel Henry! Look forward to reading more about your plans over the next few months and thanks so much for the mention in this post! 🙂

    Best of luck with it all… I’m sure it will be the best decision you’ve ever made!


  3. miss604

    All the best, Henry! Looking forward to reading about your adventures and following along with you around the globe!


  4. Michelle Edwards

    Looking forward to reading your blog and marveling at your photos throughout your year-long journey. A lot of exciting changes coming your way; I couldn’t be happier for you 🙂


  5. Megan

    Congratulations on making the big leap! It’s a huge decision to make but I guarantee you, you are not going to regret it. Can’t wait to see all your photos and read your stories.

    And thanks for the shout out 🙂


  6. Anne McKinnell

    Henry, I am so excited for you in your round the world trip, that is fantastic. Sometimes it is hard to be sure if you are doing the right thing when you make such huge changes in your life, but one thing I kept coming back to is that I have never once heard or someone who took a year out to travel and later wished they hadn’t. Everyone I talk to about my trip wishes they could do the same.

    I am really looking forward to following your blog and photos along the way. It is a brave and inspiring thing you are doing.

    Thank you very much for listing my blog, I’m really glad you have enjoyed it.



    • Henry Lee

      Hi, Anne. Thank you very much for your reply and for your encouragement.

      I agree with you – many who have written their accounts and/or are still on travel have never regretted their decisions. However, it’s possible that those who have regrets simply choose not to write about them. In any case, I gain encouragement from people like yourself who have made a big and interesting choice in their lives.

      Thanks again and best wishes on your cross-country trip!


    • Henry Lee

      Hi, Alex. You’re correct – change is very good, and I can’t wait to move onto the next phase of my life, and begin my RTW. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!


    • Henry Lee

      Hi, Laura. I think the first ‘real’ stop on my around-the-world trip is Nassau, The Bahamas. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog!


    • fotoeins

      Hi, Xandré. It all came down to deciding what was important, and then figuring out how to get that going; it’s definitely an ongoing process. Thanks for your comment! 🙂


Please leave your comments below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: