I have finally booked my flight to Bangkok. It is now official. I am going to Laos to carry out fieldwork for my Masters degree. Eeeeeek! I feel excited and apprehensive in equal measure often gliding up and down the spectrum of nerves. Not that I am surprised or unprepared, this has been in the pipeline for over a year now since I came back from my last trip. I had an epiphany moment in Bagan, Burma and from then I knew that I wanted to go back to university and study for a Masters specialising in tourism and development from an Anthropological perspective. I found the ideal course at UCL and for the past 6 months I have been slogging away learning a vast amount of new knowledge and cultivating my existing thoughts about my research area. It has been a tough 6 months with a massive workload and very little social life, but thankfully I love my discipline.
The second half of the Masters degree is for independent research. I have to design my research, seek funding and carry out fieldwork relevant to the degree. I then spend about 2 months in the field followed by 2 months of mania analysing the data and writing my 15-18,000 word dissertation.
But let’s not dwell on the semantics right now. I’m going to Southeast Asia and my stomach cannot wait! As you might have guessed already from reading my previous posts I am a big fan of Thai food and cook it most nights for my dinner. So this trip is perfect for my tastebuds. I will be in Pad Thai heaven.
I am also lucky enough to have a companion this time in the form of my young cousin, Georgina. The past couple of times I have been travelling I have gone solo so this will be a nice change. She currently resides in Australia and will be meeting me in Bangkok before we make our journey up to Luang Prabang, Laos. This means that on my time-off from researching I have a partner-in-crime for fun and adventures. Hoorah!
Now all I need to do is design my research, carry out my literature review, buy insurance, pick up malaria tablets…blah blah blah……. Yes, there is still much to do and I have only 3 weeks to do it. Wish me luck, I am going to need it.