Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another Decade another Degree

#IceWatchParis at COP 21
For over half a decade, I've recapped a year of blogging (and a year of living) on New Year's Eve. This annual exercise churns up the wealth of activity that takes place over 365 days, despite the alarming rate at which time seems to speed past. A year for the environment, 2015 paid homage to two topics close to my heart - soils and climate (and as always, food and agriculture). But it was also a year of transitions, putting to bed current pursuits and preparing for those to come. 

Let's start at the ground level, with soil. I rung in the International Year of Soil waxing on how it's all about the soil, replete with music video, infographic, and idyllic photo of sheep farming. Exactly eleven months later we came full circle with 'Not Just Dirt' (and of course complementary idyllic photo of a meadow). Sandwiched between these two, I had a bit of a baking adventure that resulted in musings on mud pies and a trip to the Great British Bake-Off Extra Slice.

I did do my fair share of baking over the year, with increasing frequency as a looming masters dissertation deadline and demands from a few jobs resulted in relatively high levels of stress, and associated 'productive procrastination'. This meant bread baking became a staple occurrence, and a newly cultivated sourdough starter yielded some make-shift banana bread during a week Living Below the Line! However, fewer than the usual number of baking exploits made it onto the blog this year, with Instagram providing a quicker option and instant gratification.

This is what happens when you graduate from Hogwarts...
Moving out of the kitchen... after two years in Oxford I managed to venture beyond the core of the city to neighbourhoods with real people and real challenges (and sometimes no kitchen). But travel seemed to occupy a central place in my mind. Early ruminations on the plight of a wanderlustful farmer turned to thinking about traveling outside one's comfort zone while whiling away the hours in a French train station. I couldn't get enough of trains, and so took one across the US (yay vast cornfields!) and then walked the Highlands in a pair of Chacos (yay vast heathland!) before snagging a train from Edinburgh to London. 

But friends, my time in this land of sheep and afternoon tea is coming to an end. They say your last year in a decade is one for big decisions. Well kids, I commenced my thirtieth year of life this July, so we're mixing things up again. At the end of next month, I'm heading off to (hopefully) catch the aurora borealis and maybe do a bit of glacial walking. Then it's time for transcontinental rail trip number two for some fond farewells, and a bit of adventuring in Asia. All this leads up to shackling myself into another 3-4 years of academia by starting a PhD in Australia! Because sticking to a straight path would get ever so boring, right?

Past Recaps:


Mickey Friedman said...

Looking forward to another half decade of insights and musings

Xander said...

You really provided many interesting ideas this year Raych. Some food for thought. Thanks for writing and congrats on a banner year!