So rather than documenting the past two days in chronological order I thought I should write a post about how fieldwork makes you feel. It is always a somewhat emotional time; you’ve worked really hard to get the research grant applications in, which is draining, then there is the tense wait on the results. Once they come in there is either the elation of success or the bitter taste of failure. So assuming that the result is positive, as it thankfully was in my case, the nerves are starting to set in. Can I do this? Can I really pull this off? How am I going to get everything set up and organized??? This is followed by months of exhausting meticulous planning, tweaking plans, methodology and approaches, pouring over maps to find the perfect sites and endless emails with the prospective host country.
Then suddenly, the time of departure has arrived and you find yourself almost looking around in surprise at the printed boarding pass, research permits and logistical information, neatly packed equipment, checked off check lists of check lists and it just doesn’t sink in. Until you’re on the plane with all your stuff and you know there is no going back.
And magically, that all falls away in the field. Sure, it’s stressful first laying eyes on your site and realising that it is nothing like what you imagined. But then there is the realisation that no matter what happens, you have come armed with a good idea, a lot of equipment and an immense sense of determination that you will make it happen.
That however, doesn’t mean that the emotions go away. And for that purpose I thought I would put together a little photo gallery of ‘feelings scientists have in the field’. With many thanks to Huw Mithan and Amy Lewis for catching so many facial expressions.
1. I’ve used this piece of equipment hundreds of time; but never while also trying to avoid falling backwards straight into the valley. AAAAAAHHHHH
2. So… water sampling. Totally doable. I’ll just stick this bottle in and then put the lid on. Easy peasy right?
3. Oh god this is SO BLOODY COLD!!!!!
4. My hands will never be warm again
5. Driving this van across the tundra is kind of awesome. The handbrake incident was unfortunate but hey, look at me, I’m driving this thing! Must remember to thank driving instructor for last minute clutch control lessons when I get back to Cardiff.
6. So, I’m in the bowels of the coal station, wearing a hard hat and having a random chat with a guy called Sven about his holiday plans. How did I end up here again?? I’m a bit confused.
7. I’m really trying to impress these scientist but really all I’m worrying about is how stupid I look in this climbing helmet