One of the best things about my personal graduate life experience is the unprecedented level of travel I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. Of course not everyone has a supervisor like mine that grants vacation time easily or sends me to conferences in exotic locals (Italy, Vancouver, Vermont) but the flexibility inherent in grad school allows for travel opportunities that I simply haven’t had elsewhere (though admittedly I’ve spent almost a quarter of my life in grad school).
And I know I’m not the only one. Fannie is off in Paris right now (lucky duck) on research related activities. Luis has talked about his conference down south with handy travel tips I’m definitely employing. As for me, I’m off on an adventure of a life time with my lab mates that have kept me “Not so alone in the lab”.
Three of us started at the same time and now we are all planning on finishing up and going on our separate ways within the year. To commemorate our time together we’re heading off on an almost 3 week adventure in China and Mongolia. I’ve never travel through Asia before so this will be a very eye-opening experience for me. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden city; to go horseback riding in the Gobi desert and stay with the nomadic people in their gers and see how they live. On top of it all, I’ll be going with great friends I’ve met and traveled with in grad school. With such diverse backgrounds, together we’ve incorporated elements into our trip that push all of our limits in different ways.
I wonder too if the desire to travel is common in graduate students, something many of us share? So many fellow students I talk to have their own stories of conferences they’ve gone to, pleasure travel to the far corners of the earth and a laundry list of places they would like to go next if time and money allow. Not to mention all the international students who have uprooted their lives to come here to McGill and bring their own customs and culture here to share with us. How foreign do we seem to them? And how much can we learn from each other.
Maybe it is a symptom of grad school. The idea of always wanting to know more (in which ever field we study) that might leak out into wanting to learn more about the world we live in and the people we share it with. If we are adventurous in our ideas, are we adventurous in our lives? Travel or no, grad school has definitely opened my eyes to the vastness of the world and all the people in it. Whether it’s my international collaborations, my multicultural colleagues, the papers I read from all over the world and yes my travel experiences, they’ve all come together to increase my awareness the world in general and my part in it.
So if you have any travel tips for me let me know! Or suggestions for my next trip! I’ll fill you in on my adventures when I get back.
PS: If you’re travelling make sure you’ve got all your shots. I went to McGill Health Services and saw an amazing nurse who immunized and educated me, on short notice.
Banner Photo by @Kanenori // @ pixabay (Mongolian horseback riders)