Happiness, nervousness, excitement, worriedness…Preparing fieldwork is somewhat of a contradiction, you feel like a boiling soup with numerous blend of feelings, and this soup is even more spiced when you prepare the first fieldwork of your PhD.
Fieldwork does not start when you are in the field collecting data and not even when you are flying to the study area, it begins a long time before one can even remember. The first thoughts are too imprecise that they end up in unclear notes. Nevertheless, overtime and after more preparation, these initial blurred notes become material lists, protocols, field sheets…The success of the fieldwork has become your priority and your goal.
In the field, you normally think you have the entire responsibility and pressure of the work that needs to be carried out. Nevertheless, even when you think so, you are never alone, you will always find help from everyone around you, researchers and local communities work together to sort out the issues that will appear on the way. You dream of everything being ready on time and under control, although you know all your plan could be turned upside-down in a blink of an eye. You are aware that in the field there will be great moments, but also difficult situations that will push your patience and your skills to a new level. Indeed, fieldwork means getting out of your comfort zone and learning new abilities.
The last days before the expedition are especially hectic, last preparations, meetings with the supervisors, dinner with friends, and questions and more questions. Will the field material work well? Are all the permits ready? Is there anything missing? These are the type of questions that you face before any fieldwork, some of them are possible to answer beforehand, but some others will be answered during the journey. Taken together, these questions prepare you for the uncertainty of the upcoming future.
The last night before flying, the fieldwork soup has been slowly boiling for a long time. Soon it will be time to taste the results, the mix of feelings has become the passion. Passion because everything you have been working for is there in front of you and you are ready for it.