Plans and Ideas


(Or, less likely but possible, welcome back.)
Thursday was my last shift at Black Medicine Coffee Company (Here). During the afternoon, my friend and co-worker asked me:
‘When are you off, again?’
I took a little time to respond. I actually know the answer (Monday!), but the fact that most of my colleagues are unsure of my travel plans is a little strange. They can’t still be sleepy – we have literally just had some coffee. Surely I’ve been pretty communicative with where I’m going? Later, I ask my dad if he knows the institute where I’m working in Ecuador, and he doesn’t, because I haven’t mentioned it. Ah.
Communication has never been my strong point; I derive a lot of romance from reading travel stories from the likes of Peter Pinney, who just got up one day and wandered around Europe and Africa alone. That said, it does seem a little foolish to jet off to the jungles of South America without telling anyone where you are. More to the point, it’s already been done before. My uncle Martyn walked the continent many years back, solo and unaided and often far from family and friends’ communication. I’d like to be just as unconventional as him – and in this case I can be so by actually telling everyone where I’m going! 
I wonder why I haven’t really shared my travel plans before. Is it fear I’m a bit big-headed? I mean, I literally am a bit (52.5 inches, climbing helmets are a nightmare). However, I remember that I’m always interested to hear about other people’s travels and adventures. I think this one of mine is exciting enough to share. Hopefully it’ll inspire some more!
Anyway, on to what I’m actually doing.
Notice the scale and orientation. Once a geologist, always a geologist 😉

The Plan

1. Landing on Quito on Monday (eek!) for 2 months’ placement with IGEPN, the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School in Quito (here). Plans for work include Spanish-to-English translation of engineering students’ pre-publication documents, work on a geochemical dataset of rhyolitic caldera systems, and fieldwork based on the Tungurahua volcano near Banos. These plans may have changed since Volcan Cotopaxi exploded in August, possibly the best excuse for a work reschedule I have ever heard in my life!
2. Two months’ travel – Quito, Banos, Tena, Cuenca, Otavalo, los Narices del Diablo, Colombia, etc.
3. Three months’ placement with CIIV, the Centre of Exchange and Information in Volcanology, at the University of Colima in Colima, Jalisco state (here). Work includes: remote sensing and geochemical monitoring of the active Volcan de Colima, assisting Mexican students with their projects, creating and performing my own project, and driving a massive 4×4 up a volcano (yes).
And then, who knows? I haven’t booked a flight back yet, and I hope to see more of Mexico after my placement. (I won’t travel first, because I’m planning to throw myself into the volcano when I arrive. Metaphorically.) I would love to see the Yucatan peninsula, and Cancun; also the Pacific coast, for the longest wave break in the world. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I hope to keep in touch with the people that got me there.

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