Research Station Life

Spending a chunk of time at a research station is really a wonderful experience. The nature of a research station brings together researchers, instructors and students from all over the world. So there are ample opportunities for cross-pollinating research interests and developing new ideas.

Kids at the research station also get exposed to other researchers (other than their parents), and get to collect data, handle specimens or go out on surveys. But most notably (for me anyway) is that the kids have the time forget about their devices and just climb a tree.

But there are other benefits to being here, like;

  • Getting to reconnect with (or make new) local friends. It’s always a huge pleasure to find more people with my particular brand of crazy.
  • Hiking trails that don’t have a zillion other people on them at the same time. It’s really hard to get a legitimate nature experience anywhere near a city. Here, we can explore remote or otherwise hard to access natural areas.
  • If it’s sunny outside I can work from my laptop from the front porch. One benefit of not having an office space is that I can make anything my office space. Changing out of pyjamas is optional.
  • The inconsistent cell coverage and over-exploited wifi means it’s easy to disconnect and go off grid. Whether you want to or not.

Of course research station life also comes with it’s own suite of problems, like;

  • Coin operated laundry facilities that are always busy but not that efficient. I’m considering finding a stream where I can go slap our clothes on the rocks.
  • Weather forecasts can only reliably be found on VHF transmission. The voice of the automated weather announcer has found its way into my dreams. Or does that now qualify as a nightmare?
  • The constant fight to stave off scurvy requires either rowing a boat like a drunkard (because they’re impossible to steer) or a costly water taxi. The former costs your dignity. The latter makes me try to calculate a cost-benefit analysis of cost vs. scurvy.
  • I miss sneezing uncontrollably from the cuddles of my fur babies. There’s a strict no pet policy here so there’s no opportunity to get surrogate fur baby cuddles. Other people don’t appreciate my Scooby Doo voice the way dogs do.
  • Exercise is limited to bushwhacking hikes. But I miss my bike. I miss my elliptical. I miss my heavy bag. And I even miss having my butt kicked at sparring.
  • I can’t get away from my kids. I am trying to get some work done with the nearly constant, but punctuated, bickering of my kids in the background.

Also, keep your eyes peeled so you don’t slip in bear poop.

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