If only for the sake of coming back to this post in a year’s time and laughing at myself, here are my goals and visions for 2017:
• Get a PhD!
• Publish at least 3 papers and write blog posts to promote them
• Continue developing Coding Club and win more funding for the initiative
• Get better at identifying time-sinks and eliminating them – spending two hours battling CSS code to get proper bullet points to appear (and not succeeding) was probably one of them.
• Write at least 12 blog posts here
• Learn how to make Shiny apps and get better at coding in general
• Read three big science-y books (The Theory of Ecological Communities being one of them)
• Do more science outreach and communication
• Give two talks at conferences
• Be brave and keen to learn new skills
• Start a new research collaboration
• Set more realistic goals and make plans on how to achieve them
Life in general:
• Go camping more often, visit new places, see more birds, take photos and make photobooks out of them; hang out with Highland cows, see capercaillies!
• Keep up my ‘a line a day journal’ and write at least two blog posts a month in my Bulgarian blog
• Hike the West Highland Way in Scotland; hike up to the ‘Raj’ lodge in Central Balkan NP in Bulgaria and camp there
• A long shot, but 2017 might be the year I finally see a white-tailed eagle… starting to doubt they are real, been looking for so long!
• Get better at communicating my research and what I do in general to my family and friends back in Bulgaria
• Do a big village house fix up – new roof, new ceiling, repaint the walls, fix the outside plastering, replace the broken windows, and clean out the basement – leave Bulgaria without worrying that my house will fall down while I am away.
• Organise a family reunion in my village, spend quality time with family, and go on a trip with my siblings
• Keep in touch with friends far away, be nice to friends nearby and make new friends
• Be organised and strict enough to take proper time off work
In my dreams, I see 2017 as the year when I get to do what I love – teaching and research – while also going on adventures, reading many books (perhaps even starting that book I’ve been meaning to write for 5 years!). As usual, I want to be brave, wise and good, but I also want to build more bridges between my UK and Bulgarian life, to feel free and inspired, regardless of where in the world I am. And of course, I can’t resist the urge to make things better, regardless of what the things are – from fixing village houses to creating opportunities for everyone to learn, I hope I do manage to make life a bit brighter and jollier.