When 2011 turned into 2012, I was on a red-eye flight headed to London, United Kingdom from Halifax, Canada. While people all around the world were clinking champagne glasses together and throwing confetti, all of the passengers on this flight passed into the New Year without fanfare or even acknowledgement of the occasion by the aircrew. Everyone on board seemed subdued, as if 2011 had been a particularly exhausting year and didn’t deserve a proper send-off. The fellow in the seat next to me had fallen fast asleep before the plane had even left the tarmac.
Although I had been feeling ornery and sleep deprived for the entire 6 hour flight, all negativity was immediately dispelled when I got my first glimpse of London, bathed in the morning light of a brand new year. I have never been a lover of large cities, but there was something very beautiful about the city’s enormity. From the air, the whole city was spread out before my eyes, with an odd juxtaposition of modern and old architectural styles in the orderly rows of buildings. As we flew over central London, it was remarkable to see recognizable landmarks dotted along the ribbon that was the River Thames. The entire scene made a striking first impression on me.
While I wouldn’t have guessed it at the time, the 2 1/2 weeks that I spent exploring the city’s culture, history, arts, and intellectual resources would go on to significantly influence my life’s trajectory. Prior to visiting London, I had been a somewhat jaded graduate student, working towards the completion of an MSc Pharmacology and Neuroscience degree at a Canadian university. I was happy enough with the choices that had brought me to that point in my life, but I had no real job prospects or solid career goals in mind, and therefore was not at all optimistic about my rapidly approaching post-graduation future. I went to London with no real expectations, but returned with different perspectives on my life as a graduate student.
Something strange happened to me when I arrived back in Halifax: I didn’t feel completely relieved to be home. There was distinct sense of loss; I was missing out on something important. Somehow, almost imperceptibly, my mind began to gravitate to the idea about moving to London after graduation to start a career related to science communication. When this concept became cemented into my consciousness, it became an inspired decision that just felt right. In many ways, this decision has injected everything that I am doing right now with a new purpose.
And so, I have created this blog to practice communicating science, but also to describe my life as it passes into a new phase.