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:
- I’m leaving the organization.
- I’m leaving Chile by January 1.
- I’m getting out of astronomy as soon as possible.
- 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
- 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 fotoeins.com 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 fotoeins.com, 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.