First. A little background. I’ve lived on the Northern Great Plains since 2004 in a college town of about 58,000 north of Fargo, ND. This is where we call home now but it couldn’t be more different from where I grew up. Some say it has four seasons, but we’ll discuss that later. Right now we are barreling into the season that dominates the region for half the year — Cruel Winter. Grand Forks is North Dakota’s third largest city and sits on the Red River of the north in prairie country. The state is all “oil and soil” – the two main economic drivers are oil extraction on the western side, and agriculture for the rest. This is Big Sky country and big truck country.
I recently returned from a trip to the home of my youth. Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city and is nestled between two of the best coastal regions in the world with direct access to the bay and the barrier islands within it. It’s a city of now more than 1.8 million and continues to grow annually. My trips back there have been irregular over the past 14 years, but this year I was able to spend a bit more time and visit with more family and friends whom I’ve not seen in many, many years. Each trip I make I am reminded how foreign my life is now to those who know me best.
Not only did I enjoy a trip across the Pacific this year, but I was lucky enough to put my passport to good use with another visit to Greece and a first-time visit to Barcelona. An extraordinary year of travel, to be sure. But I like to imagine that my more-than-twenty years of travel and my training in survey archaeology has taught me to observe. To think deeply about what makes us, us – to recognize and appreciate our similarities and differences and to always be learning about others.
This blog will share my many random observations. I hope it is a fun and thought-provoking journey for readers, too, no matter which side of the pond you call home. And I’ll share what it is like to leave EVERYONE and EVERYTHING you know, and move to the other side of the globe where the predominant language is the familiar, but every word is different. Learning a new system of weights and measures, new currency, new insanely complicated political system and, oh, let’s not forget learning to drive on the wrong side of the road!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton