Sunday 19 July 2020

i've been thinking a lot about what I want to do after finishing my PhD (September 2021). In terms of "career plans", a post-doc seems the obvious choice, although I have no idea where. I've always romanticised with the idea of living abroad at some point in my life but then my thoughts immediately go to my mum and how difficult it would be to leave her behind, particularly if I left Europe. Although having said that I don't really feel a particular draw to any other continent, so Europe would be most likely. I have un amor profundo for Spain and have told myself on countless occasions that I would never be satisfied unless I had at least tried to live there and really attempted to master the language de una vez por todas. Unfortunately Spain is not exactly well known for it's academic excellence, although the instituto de investigación en sistemas complejos in Barcelona did catch my eye a while back. Germany is probably the obvious choice for a "career move", although I don't exactly feel a draw towards the place having not explored it much. Next to Spain, Austria is probably the country I adore most in Europe so that might be one to take a look at. I've always associated Austria with peace, tranquility and stunning landscapes. The only downside is that it's a very conservative country, even more so than the UK... hmm.

before any career move though I think it's time I took a time-out. I never had a gap year, or a break between degrees, or when starting a career, or when returning back to do a PhD (an extended break at least). For my entire adult life I haven't yet had the experience of not taking my work home with me. I've never had time off where I haven't at least thought about work that needs doing. What is it like just get to get to a weekend and completely switch off? The closest I've felt to switching off and probably the closest I've felt to myself was during the Camino de Santiago, and honestly I have been playing with the idea of doing it again. This evening I've been planning inter-railing routes around Europe... but I want to experience Europe more than a long holiday. I want to live it. Working while travelling is the obvious choice. Maybe this could be a way to feed both desires: finding low-responsibility work whilst experiencing new countries and cultures, and also finding a place which I could realistically see as a place to start a career some day. Vamos a ver.

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