January 3, 2013

A Year of Travel: 2012

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

I am very fortunate to be able to travel often, both for work and my personal life. Like 2010 and 2011, 2012 was a busy year of travel!

January: Sultanate of Oman, United Arab Emirates, and South Africa

In January I was mostly in South Africa working on my PhD thesis. However, I also traveled to the Sultanate of Oman to attend a geology conference. After the conference, I traveled to the United Arab Emirates for a few days to visit my good friend Karima and her family.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

February to Early May: Cape Cod, USA

In February I traveled back to Cape Cod, where I frantically worked to finish writing, submit, and defend my PhD thesis, which I successfully did on Friday, April 13th. I finished up my revisions by early May and then was DONE!

My advisor Susan Humphris and I after my PhD defense.

May to Early June: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida, USA

After finishing up my PhD, I headed up to New Hampshire, where I spent some time relaxing at my parents’ lakeside cabin near my favorite glacial erratic.

My post-thesis relaxation view.

A close-up shot of my favorite glacial erratic.

Shortly after I handed in my thesis, my good friend and fellow geoblogger Dana Hunter came to visit me in New Hampshire for a long weekend. We had a great time hanging out at the cabin and exploring some local geology.

Dana and I on a hike at the Chesterfield Gorge, New Hampshire.

In mid May I was reunited with my husband Jackie, who flew over from South Africa for a few weeks to visit with family, go on a short Florida vacation, attend my 10-year high school reunion, attend my PhD graduation, and also participate in a second wedding ceremony. We had our first wedding in South Africa in October 2011, but many of our US family and friends were unable to attend, so we had a second celebration.

Jackie and I went down to Florida to enjoy the beach:

One of Fort Lauderdale's beaches.

And also to visit with our good family friend James Randi:

Visiting our good family friend James Randi in his Florida home.

We also visited the Billie Swamp Safari:

An alligator!

And the kitschy but sort of wonderful Mai Kai Restaurant:

At Mai Kai... with a friend.

In early June we had our second wedding celebration with friends and family in New Hampshire. The weather was terribly cold and rainy, but we huddled in our tent and had a good time anyway. I wore rain boots with my wedding dress.

At our second wedding celebration... in jeans, warm clothes, and rain boots!

Also in early June, I went to my PhD graduation ceremony at MIT. Jackie, my mom, and my dad were also there.

Finally! A doctor!

Mid June: Scotland

Shortly after my graduation, Jackie flew back to Cape Town to go back to work. On my way back to South Africa, I flew via the United Kingdom and stayed for a week in Ballater, Scotland to visit with a wonderful 86-year-old geologist named Dr. Ken Glennie. In the near future, there will be some blog posts about this Scotland trip, so stay tuned!

Dr. Ken Glennie and a giant book on geology.

July: Cape Town and Robertson, South Africa

After my visit to Scotland, I headed back home to South Africa. Mostly I just enjoyed being back in beautiful Cape Town. However, my husband and I also did go on a small geological excursion to a place called Gnoem Gnoemskloof near Roberston.

Jackie and I at Gnoem Gnoemskloof.

End July to Mid September: Alaska, USA

When I returned to South Africa, little did I know that about 6 weeks later I would be heading back to the United States. In July I received a job with AuruMar, a marine gold exploration company. A few days later I was on an airplane to Alaska to participate in a sampling campaign offshore of Nome. My husband works for the same company, and we were both sent to Nome for the campaign.

Jackie and I sitting in old dredge buckets in Nome. Yes, I am wearing a hat in August!

End September: Johannesburg, South Africa

At the end of September, Jackie and I flew up to Johannesburg for Jackie’s sister’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful, and we also enjoyed visit to a theme park known as Gold Reef City. I’ll have to write some more about Gold Reef City sometime.

A mine shaft and a Ferris wheel at Gold Reef City.

October: Durban, South Coast, and Wild Coast, South Africa

In October my husband and I took a week’s vacation to Durban, the South Coast, and the Wild Coast of South Africa for our one-year wedding anniversary, which was on October 22nd. Unfortunately, the weather was quite rainy, but we did have one nice beach day. The other days, we went exploring in the rain or stayed in our hotel room and read our books.

A view of Durban with a purple jacaranda tree and the stadium built for the Soccer World Cup in 2010.

One of the South Coast's beautiful beaches.

A rainy boat ride along the Wild Coast.

Late October to Early November: LASI V Workshop, Port Elizabeth and the Karoo, South Africa

Immediately after our week of vacation, I attended the LASI V workshop in Port Elizabeth and the Karoo. I’ve already written some blog posts about LASI V, and there will be more coming soon!

On the Karoo field trip, posing in front of a dolerite dyke.

End December: Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Last but not least, recently Jackie and I– and our two cats– drove 8 1/2 hours from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth to spend Christmas with good friends. Among other things, we spent a day driving around Addo Elephant National Park. We had a great day and saw many amazing animals.

Elephants taking a bath in Addo.

Overall, 2012 was a great year, and I did some wonderful traveling. I’m not completely sure yet what 2013 holds, but I’m sure there will be some fun trips and adventures!