Ode to Terra Firma

I’ve been back on land for over two weeks now and I have to honestly say I’ve never been happier to be home! I guess deep down, I really am a true landlubber. The unpredictable and isolated life of a seafaring scientist is just not for me! It’s not that I dislike going to sea- I don’t generally get seasick, all of the people I work with are amazing, and I get to do very interesting and relevant work. I think what it all boils down to is that I’m a true creature of habit – I like the patterns and familiarity of home – which makes me a bit of a homebody. Rather than making myself feel bad about not being as much of a hardcore mariner as I had hoped I would be, I’ve decided to focus on the things I realized I LOVE about being at home.

  • I LOVE my schedule. And I mean love. If you could see all the coloured blocks filling in nearly every waking hour of my iCal you would immediately understand how much I love scheduling. It’s nearly impossible to schedule at sea because of weather, light, and the generally unpredictable nature of science.
  • I love sleeping at night. You may have gathered from some of my posts that there really is no regular workday while at sea- when you arrive on station, it’s time to get up and work regardless of whether it’s 2pm or 2am. There’s just something about sleeping when it’s dark that works for me… maybe it’s the fact that I’m a human and not ummm… a bat?
  • I love exercising outside. On this past cruise I did a 31km run… on a treadmill. Enough said. (note: I am currently training for the Victoria Marathon which is coming up on Thanksgiving weekend and didn’t want to miss too much mileage which is why I stuck it out for this ridiculous run. I know some of you think I’m a crazy masochist but this was not just something I decided to do just “for fun”)
  • I love cooking and preparing my own meals. The food on the Tully is quite good for the most part, but there is something to be said for being able to prepare whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like it rather than being restricted to what’s on the menu at 7am, 11:30am, and 5pm. (Dinner at 5pm? Seriously, my grandparents didn’t even eat dinner that early!) I also love fresh fruit and vegetables which tend to disappear from the menu close to end of the cruise as supplies run out or go bad.
  • I love internet and talking on the phone! While taking a short break to unplug from the digital world is quite a valuable luxury which I highly recommend for short periods, I really do love being connected and am always jumping for joy the minute our satellite connection comes backs online at sea.
  • I love being able to open my door and go somewhere, anywhere; to be able to look out the window and see things other than miles and endless miles of water.
  • I love land. Let’s face it, I love the mountain vistas of my wonderful city of Vancouver, I love the trees, I love the way the air smells, I love riding my bike through the forest and running around the seawall and going for coffee with friends in Kitsilano and walking along the beach at Spanish Banks and going to the market on Granville Island. I love it all, and it all happens to be back here on terra firma!!

And so, 3 years, 6 cruises and 100+ days at sea later, I’ve realized that the best part about going away is how much it teaches me to appreciate and be grateful for everything that I love about home.

*HDTR photos courtesy of my secret idol Martin Krzywinski http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/fun/hdtr/

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Jody is a PhD student in the Department of Microbiology at UBC.