In Cambridge, mountains, forests and hikes are probably more distant than in Singapore. It's not that it isn't possible - the hillwalking club and mountaineering club do weekend trips (Fri-Sun) to Wales, Peak District, Lake District - but like I mentioned in the previous post, I'm not that willing to sacrifice that much time away from work especially in term. But at least there's the Banff Mountain Film Festival UK and Ireland tour, a screening today, and another one (with a different set of films) a fortnight later.
And it's great. It's a reminder of why I wanted to work with the natural world, to keep it as status quo as possible for a while more. I care about biodiversity conservation, and most of the adventures are in landscapes that seem fairly barren, almost definitely not where the highest species richness is. But ultimately, seeing sunrises/sunsets, completely dark night skies completely covered in stars, landscapes not marred by skyscrapers and feeling the raw power of nature, that's all the same.
List of films screened today: https://storify.com/jocelynesze/banff-mountain-film-festival-2015
Makes me really wanna go on an expedition, or a nice long climbing trip. And I realise that getting tired, and questioning your actions is something that happens even to the best of us. That you could be at home looking after 5 children, or at the office working at the computer, attending lectures 5-6 hours a day, or walking through the desert, and "Why am I doing this? What am I doing with my life?" are still questions that race through your mind. Questioning motives doesn't imply that you don't love what you're doing enough, but it makes you love what you're doing more. But what I feel is that being outdoors, surrounded by nature, pushing your mental and physical limits, that's when you really free yourself up to contemplate and reflect. Which is why there is also the spiritual element.
Then coming back, feeling rather psyched, I read this Guardian article on stories from Auschwitz survivors. Where they also mention long walks. Death marches from concentration camp to concentration camp. Forced out to ghettos in forests. Completely different context and emotion from the self-seeking adventures of thrill and purpose.
The excited, buoyant feelings are somewhat deflated, and I wonder why humans can be so cruel at times. But tragedies are not reasons to wear ash and sackcloths, rather a reminder to not repeat the same mistakes, that life is fragile and transient, and that we really should make the most of our short stay on earth.
Meanwhile though, essays on conservation physiology and evolution of endothermy in mammals still need to be written.
I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.
UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.