There’s lots of discussion in scientific fields that involve travel about the relative merits of going somewhere far away for field work, a conference, or seminar. This post is not about those things.

As a kid growing up in eastern Canada, I remember the first time I went to British Columbia (for a lawn bowling tournament. Yes, you read that right). I remember touching the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I recall my first international trip, to Jamaica in 2003, and landing at the airport in Kingston. I remember my first flight to Australia in 2009, with a long layover in Melbourne (and a very nice chap who complimented me on my watch while I was too clueless and jetlagged to realize he has likely hitting on me).

In my professional life, I’ve been lucky enough to visit some incredibly amazing places, some where few others have been, and places where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was the first person to step in a particular spot. It’s awe-inspiring.

A Google Map of the places I’ve done field work, and from where I’ve analysed data

In the field, we always brought an atlas, and could spend hours (HOURS!) just browsing its pages, imagining the landscape, the people, and cultures, the foods, the weather, and more. So over the last several months, I’ve been starting another map, one of places, for one reason or another, I’d quite like to see some day. Some I have almost zero chance of visiting, others are quite likely. Some are for professional reasons, others are more personal, and a couple are a mix of both. And with today being the autumnal equinox, with the days getting progressively shorter, the dark evenings are an opportunity to daydream, to wonder, and to flip through the pages of an atlas.

A Google Map of some places I’d quite like to see some day


So here’s to that sense of wanderlust that takes so many of us to the field, and to exploring our world.