January 1, 2012

A Year of Travel: 2011

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

The “Year of Travel” meme has started up again, so I thought I’d join the fun and recollect my travels over the past year. This has actually been a very busy year. For the first part of the year, I spent many, many hours in lab working on data collection for my PhD. For the second part of the year, I worked on data analysis, thesis chapter writing, and also had a few big events in my personal life– I moved to Cape Town, South Africa, and I was married. Later in the year, I’ll return to Cape Cod for a couple of months to defend my thesis. However, after four years of maintaining a long-distance relationship between Cape Cod and Cape Town, I’m very happy to be living with my partner (mostly) full-time.

Without further ado, here are a few pictures my year of travels:

I spent most of January-June in Cape Cod, mired in labwork. Fortunately, Cape Cod isn’t such a bad place to live:

A sailboat off Martha's Vineyard, 2008.

In April I took a two week break from my thesis to visit my then-fiance in South Africa. While I was there, we spent a few days hiking in the gorgeous Cederberg Mountains:

The Maltese Cross in the Cederberg Mountains, April 2011.

In June I moved to Laramie, Wyoming for the summer to work on data interpretation with one of my thesis supervisors. I was too busy working on my thesis to spend much time outdoors, but I did go on a few wonderful trail runs under the big Wyoming sky:

Big Wyoming Sky, Summer 2011.

Over the summer, I also managed to take two quick weekend trips. The first was to Bozeman, Montana where I had the honor of meeting Jack Horner:

Jack Horner, a fake sauropod bone, and I in Montana, June 2011.

The second trip was to The Amaz!ng Meeting 9 in Las Vegas where I saw my good friend James “The Amazing” Randi and also took a quick trip out to Red Rock Canyon:

Red, red Las Vegas rocks, July 2011.

In late August I moved to gorgeous Cape Town, South Africa. I’m really grateful that my thesis supervisors have allowed me to do my last few months of thesis writing (mostly) from overseas. Thank goodness for Skype! However, after my move I did have two trips back to Cape Cod: one in late September for a committee meeting and one in late November to finish up the very last little bit of labwork for my thesis. The trip between Cape Town and Cape Cod is fairly long and exhausting… although you do accumulate some serious frequent flyer miles!  Fortunately, I just have one (longer) visit to Cape Cod ahead of me until I (fingers crossed!) defend my thesis later this year. I’m really loving my new home here in Cape Town. I’m looking forward to wrapping up my PhD this year and settling down more permanently, hopefully finding work as a geologist in the Cape Town area.

Gorgeous Cape Town, April 2011.

In October my husband and I were married in the South African winelands near the town of Robertson:

A wedding in the winelands, October 2011. Photograph by Christine Watters Photography.

For those of you who remember the interviews about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster that I conducted with my father earlier this year, here’s a picture of my father and I just before the wedding ceremony:

My father and I, October 2011. Photograph by Christine Watters Photography.

Since the wedding, I’ve been trying to keep busy writing this thesis of mine. These last few months are tough and tiresome, but I’ll persevere and (hopefully!) finish this darn PhD of mine!

I have a busy few months ahead of me, but I’m looking forward to a little bit of travel in the near future. The day after tomorrow I fly to Muscat, Oman for the International Conference on the Geology of the Arabian Plate and the Oman Mountains. After the conference, I’m going to spend a weekend with good friends of mine in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I really enjoy visiting Oman, and I’ve never been to Abu Dhabi, so I’m looking forward to the trip.

Hope everyone had a happy, travel-filled 2011. Best wishes for 2012.