Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fresh Tracks

sunset at Death Valley's Mesquite Dunes, March 2014
Hello once again, my dear friends!

The time has come for me to reboot this blog, as I am soon headed off around the world again. I just completed my Bachelor's Degree from Wheaton, and am busy preparing for the year ahead. 

celebrating graduation with my siblings
This spring, I was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for the 2014-15 year. The Watson allows me to travel the world for one year, completely independently, pursuing a research idea of my own design. One of the few rules: I may not return to the U.S. for 12 months. Forty fellows are selected by the Watson Foundation from the 40 eligible colleges in the Watson network, and given a stipend to fund their project and life during the "Watson year." I am very fortunate to receive the honor of being a Watson fellow, and I could not have done so without the support of my friends, family, and the many people in the Wheaton community who helped me prepare, particularly Lisa Gavigan, my guide and mentor throughout the application process and the coming year. 

When Lisa sent an email to the rising senior class of 2014 last May, I felt a strange, familiar sensation warming my spirit and sparking my brain. Just like other times when I felt myself at a decisive crossroads, something signaled me that trying for the Watson was the right idea. The Watson Foundation asks of its fellows: what would you do if you could follow your passions for a year, without inhibition? My project progressed through several incarnations, but I eventually arrived at an idea that truly felt like an incarnation of myself. It boils down to this:

During my Watson year, I'm investigating the relationships we form with nature and with writing, how these relationships interact, and what they mean to us. I'm learning about the meanings and values of nature in life and in writing across ecosystems and cultures, and learning about myself all the while. In my proposal to the Watson Foundation I asked, "What does the wild mean to us? What happens when nature inspires us?"

I cannot tell you how excited I am to begin this grand adventure at the end of July, and how nervous I am! My head is full of dreams and goals and a slurry of confidence and trepidation. 

I imagine you may have some questions about how this all works. I still do too. 
Among them:
Where will you go?
What will you do?

I have no definitive answers, and I doubt I ever will. (This is a good thing! I want flexibility and opportunity among my primary feathers.)

But! The adventure begins in Dominica, the small island nation of the Caribbean. From there I move to Botswana, followed by Australia, and finally China. I hope to see many places along the way, as travelling between these places seems to be inherently indirect. In each place, I will connect with conservationists, researchers, writers, librarians, bloggers, and others who feel linked to nature through artistic, spiritual, and scientific avenues. I will also work to foster my own writing and understanding of the human and non-human parts of the natural world. 

I will use this site to share stories and photos with you, since I will be far away for a good long while, and wish to stay connected to you, who I care about very much. 

My adventure begins at the end of July 2014, and I am home in the Happy Valley until then, preparing and planning, and having many good times in the coming summer. Please write to me or call with suggestions, questions, wishes and whatever you care to share with me. I'd be thrilled to hear from you! My email is, and I'd be psyched to share phone or snail mail information or to make plans to meet up in person! 

most of Outdoors Haus, Holi, Wheaton, May 2014 (Glory!) <3

Much love and anticipation!

1 comment:

  1. Carrie, I am so happy I got to know you briefly in Geology class back in 2012 (wow) and that you took me and 14 people of my floor back then to explore the Wheaton woods. Remember that? I still need to find that fallen tree over the lake... Thanks for the inspiration ^^ Best wishes Carrie and happy adventures!


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