Time flies

…so amidst the recent busy postal season of Christmas cards, I received a summons for jury duty for the first time! …but was quickly disqualified given that I’m not living in Canada anymore (…sure would have been interesting though! …you may recall from past posts [Milan to Vegas” and “Sleep“] that I am a certified “CSI” agent…)

…okay, so I am not be a real CSI agent,
but I did learn at the end of 2013 that another article I co-authored was published!
You can read all about our investigation by clicking here (or by clicking the images below): 

I learned a lot during that project from Professor Klassen
and from a fellow PhD student – who became Dr. Yerdelen in 2013!

As I shared in my last post, one highlight of December 2013
was moving to Australia! 

While setting up our new home, and in hopes of a healthy 2014, I bought a stand-up desk. My supervisor, Professor Klassen, has had one for years and recently shared (via Twitter) an article from the BBC News (16 October 2013) about the health benefits of a stand-up desk – here’s the link if you are interested: Calorie burner: How much better is standing than sitting?

In the spirit of healthy living, I also bought a bike: a folding bike! …and I love it! Sydney is a very bike-friendly place – it has been great touring my new surroundings by biking on bicycle paths (that even have their own traffic signals)!

Now that I have embraced this new hobby/identity, I found the Psychology of Cycling: “Cycling Identity” post by Mathew Marques quite interesting!
Thanks to @thesiswhisperer for sharing the link via Twitter 🙂

The embedded video “Bike Rage” by Catalyst ABC (26 Sept 2013) included in “Cycling Identity” is also worth a watch:

As I continue to explore my new environment
– and get used to riding a bike again…and on the left hand side
I look forward to (safely) riding to the local universities!

After a productive 2013 that ended with
great holiday experiences 
in this new country
…riding a three-decker train,
enjoying Christmas festivities, 

seeing kangaroos and koalas at the zoo…
I  am now ready to get into a some sort of schedule for 2014.

I started this blog in 2011 as one way to procrastinate influence my writing, productivity, and hopefully connect with others by sharing some research and experiences (and in 2013 I joined Twitter – which also helped me connect with others). I called this blog space My PhD Journey, since enrolling in a PhD program seemed like embarking on an adventurous ~4 year mental marathon. I didn’t realize that I would really embrace the ‘journey’ and actually travel to the other side of the world – while doing a PhD!

If you were to ask me ten years ago if I longed to travel or ever move off of Vancouver Island, I would of just laughed…then I would have shared stories like the one my grandfather still talks about…of when he comforted me on a plane as I made use of that little white bag […not to mention that I was in my late 20s…and supposedly along to help him].

Some people in my family love flying – even to the extent where they have taken flying lessons! There seemed to be something about the thrill of the take-off and the anticipation of an upcoming adventure – something that I finally understood in 2013 (…but not enough to learn how to fly…).

I also know a few people who hate flying…likely due to a fear of crashing…? I don’t think I have ever feared or hated flying – I think it was mostly a fear of having motion sickness [with a tiny bit of that claustrophobic-please-don’t-sit-beside-me-if-you-are-coughing fear that I alluded to in a past post on “Control”….]

I seem fine with flying[1] now – thank goodness – since I now love to travel (2013 was an amazing year of conference travels!)

I’ve been told that motion sickness is a ‘head-space thing’ for some people – that there is something potentially nauseating about moving while feeling closed-in (…I do still seek extra ‘head-space’ by choosing a window or aisle seat just in case…)

This ‘head-space thing’
– the idea that it is easier to move ahead if you don’t feel closed-in –
could be applied to other areas of life besides air travel, right?
…like dissertation writing, perhaps 😉

I am thankful that I don’t feel closed-in by my topic
 and that my supervisor and committee have helped me move ahead.

One highlight of 2013 was passing my candidacy exam! My committee approved my flight plan and were all on board with where my research was headed, acknowledging that I had the necessary skills to handle the journey – even if some unexpected turbulence or re-routing occurred along the way. And to stretch the metaphor even further… I was given clearance to fly with my planned 3-article dissertation which, like 3 seats in an airplane row, will be about 3 connected studies, all part of the larger plane, and all headed for the same destination. Just as different seats allow different passengers slightly different perspectives during the flight, I hope my 3 articles will help provide 3 slightly different perspectives on one larger issue – yet still arrive at the same conclusion at the end of the journey …at which point I hope to I’ll pass with flying colours 🙂

Okay…I’ll stop now before this metaphor really takes-off😉

Time to get back on course…wishing you all a productive 2014!

[1] Off on a tangent, Speaking of flying, I love the ‘flying-foxes’ of Sydney! Every night when the sun goes down, the bats come out to forage for food. It is amazing to see the groups of large bats flying over our neighbourhood. We even had a closer look (…almost too close!) in Hyde Park on Christmas Eve (…you may recall I also shared my interest in bats through a past post: “6 degrees” ). We recently enjoyed cycling around Centennial Parklands…perhaps in 2014 we’ll join in on one of their evening Spotlight Prowl’ Bat Tours to learn more!

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