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I’m on my way on another big journey and this time it is to India! There’s a five day conference in Ahmedabad from 15-20th July on i-REC, on “Participatory Design and Appropriate Technology for Post-Disaster Reconstruction”, where I’ll be presenting a seminal paper on ‘Architecture for Humanity: Shipping Containers as Swiss Army Knife’. And if you’re wondering why I’m leaving two weeks early, well, I figured I don’t get to go to India all that often and I thought I’d build in some holiday and catching up with my bud Jasmin at the same time. I had also wanted to spend some time in Dharamsala and go up to Himalayas but given the timing of the trip and various complications I’m leaving the spiritual pilgrimage for another time.

So a little update – yes, I know I’m not even there yet – it turns out I have a bit of time ‘to be productive’ (under different circumstances I would have said ‘to kill’) as I’m awaiting my boarding call to Bombay in Brisbane! Never been to Brisbane before but since I won’t be getting out of the airport technically I still haven’t! When I got dropped off at the airport this morning by Jennis I said that when I come back in 26 days time, we will have a lot of stories to share. When I spoke to Julia from uni, she said that everyone she met who had been to India had a ‘bus story’ – that something fascinating always seems to happen around bus trips. She was lucky in that her bus story only involved breaking down in the middle of nowhere, because another person’s story involved a car accident, and yet another one involved being hijacked. From a lot of stories I hear, even from a local, you should almost always expect to have something happen on your trip that you hadn’t anticipated. I’m still trying to get used to wearing my mum’s ring on my finger as a safety precaution, but it’ll be a while for it to grow on me. My glass remains half-full though, and I can’t wait to get there to see the ‘thousand faces’ of India that I only read about in books. The only thing is that it will take me another 24 hours to get there!

I’ve been really good and left everything behind that might distract me from my journey ahead, and only brought things that I won’t mind losing – everything that I’m wearing and carrying with me I’ve salvaged out of old clothes I had stowed away originally to give away to the Sally’s. In fact, I don’t think I’d want to be seen by anyone I know – not that they’d even recognise me in my self-imposed fashion faux-pas deluxe, but looking presentable is really the last thing on my mind.

June was a pretty chaotic month for me, and I mistakenly thought that once my teaching was wrapped up for Semester One, that I’d have a lot of time to spend on my PhD and do other things. But before I knew it, I had three trips to Christchurch, averaging about 4 hours a day on sleep, and I had intentionally taken a bit of a back seat on administrative side of AfH Auckland Chapter! I think the anxiety level I had reached upon doing that was closest thing I’ve experienced thus far on separation anxiety, but I’m learning to accept that in order for our chapter to grow, I need to create more space for others to step in, develop and take leadership. Ascension planning has been on our agenda for at least the past year, but I’ve realised that it’s only through action that anything gets done. We do have an awesome team, and I am confident that we are only going to get better and bigger each year.

Screaming children and a woman who seems to have an overreactive bladder sitting beside me aside, I’m actually really glad that I’ve physically uprooted myself from New Zealand for the next three and a half weeks. I’d contemplated taking my work with me, including my laptop and external hard drive, and roaming my phone, but at the last minute I decided not to. Don’t worry, I still have a stash of printed materials and a blank diary that is begging to be filled in my tote… speaking of which… 😉

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