Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Summer Break

I am looking forward to the summer break. In New Zealand, this goes from just before Christmas until the middle of January. Many Kiwis leave the cities to spent time at the beach or by the lake in their baches / cribs. Apart from the usual festive celebrations with family and friends and a massive catch up with reading etc. towards my studies, I traditionally go on several tramps (hikes, backpacking / bushwalking) with a group of friends. All the trips are into the Southern Alps, tramping for 3 to 7 days involving some climbing up to passes or saddles, camping by mountain streams and hopefully good views of mountain tarns, snow clad mountains and alpine flower filled valleys.

Tramping is a good way for me to reflect on various aspects of my learning over the course of the year. I find I return to work & studies with renewed vigour after particularly challenging but rewarding trips into the NZ mountains. I suppose it’s because I have been able to leave a lot of extraneous thoughts behind & the long walking days provide me with an opportunity to revive, renew and nurture the intuitive side of my brain. This poor area of my brain is often hammered over the course of the year by too many doubts cast by bureaucratic structures and the demands of maintaining academic integrity. However, out in the big outdoors, all the edifices put up by institutions and administrators seem to become minuscule compared to the majesty of the mountains and the challenges presented by track conditions, river crossings and the changeable NZ weather. My physical & mental self has to give of it’s all to get to the next summit / saddle/ col and then on to the next camping spot. My back brain is librated to do it’s thing! I have taken to taking along a piece of paper & a cut down pencil (I am a minimalist tramper – nothing that weighs more than a gram & is not useful is carried in my pack) to record flashes of inspiration that seem to cascade through my brain as I work my way up another hill.
Will be back blogging by the end of January. Thank you to the readers of my blog & a good Chrismas & a happy new year to all.

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