This rather strange year ends on a rather strange note in this blog section. It’s because I just realised that 2020 has been the first year for more than a decade that I did not have some vacation which was at least in part paid for by my job or a governmental organisation. I could attribute that to the pandemic but I fear there’s something else going on here. Namely, that I’m getting old and boring.
Let’s see when this started: In 2004, I embarked on my study year abroad, sponsored by an Erasmus grant. After that, it was a stipend called Free Mover and personal connections that kept me away from nasty German winters. Since 2010, when I was one year into my PhD, I’ve always had the pleasure to attend some conference somewhere or attained a long-stay research grant somewhere else. And even in 2017/18, when I worked as a teacher, I still had something going for me that brought me away from Germany on good old taxpayer money (at the time, though, this included my own monies as established taxpayer).
Since joining the HoF institute in 2018, my travels have been less frequent and restrained to Germany and Switzerland, but still: I managed to put in some extra days after a conference here and there in the last two years.
This year, though, my decade-long tradition has ended. Due to the pandemic, I only attended a single one-day workshop in Berlin, so there was almost no chance for prolongation.
Yet, I also feel that I’m becoming increasingly moored in places, routines and obligations. I can only guess that it comes with the age. Which doesn’t mean that I especially like it. I really miss those trips to the USA,Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia,Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Ukraine and several cities in Germany.
Is it over-dramatic, then, to see a link between this development and the running out (pun intended) of a pair of shoes I bought back in 2006 or 2007? After more than a decade, those running shoes have literally begun to fall apart (see picture above), and with deep regret I had to toss them away. A symbol, an omen even?
Maybe for the chance to start anew as it obviously was no problem to buy some new ones. And putting them on for the first time I realised that it must have been years since I could do my jogging so well-hoofed. Does that mean that the future will bring even better voyages and experiences? Not a bad thought to end 2020 on and start the new year, I guess…