This has been an extraordinary year for us. And accepting that it is over is very hard. It is time to reflect on what we have learnt and prepare for the “re-entry”, both with regards to going back to work and going back to Sweden. Here are some of the insights that I have gained throughout the sabbatical:
About how to work
It seems that going back to business as usual is not really an option that neither of us would like to pursue. Before leaving for the sabbatical, I was working too much and in too many projects. I felt haunted by deadlines and unfinished work. I had stomach problems, back pain and migranes regularly. I can clearly see now that they were caused by stress. I have none of those health problems now. It seems that the only way forward for me is less projects, less teaching and overall, a minimum amount of other time eaters: committees, meetings, boards, evaluations, etc.
About what to work with
I have also realized that I am done with innovation studies per se. If for Frank, the most important sabbatical insight has been that he wants to work on databases for sustainability, as he wrote in this blog. For me, it is the realization that I want to work in something directly related to wildlife conservation. In practice this means, in the short term (2021), reducing my work time at the university, so as to be able to develop my portfolio of projects on wildlife conservation. In the medium term, it will mean shifting all my work to wildlife conservation. The bridge between the “two worlds” (innovation and conservation) is that I am still very interested in how sustainability transformations occur and on innovative solutions for wildlife conservation.
About where to work from
And finally, this year in the tropics has made me realize how much I was missing the warmth and the sun. As our return to Sweden gets closer, I realize that what I am fearing most is the darkness and the cold. I like the department and my colleagues and I love teaching on innovation for sustainable development and sustainability transformations. But the darkness…and the cold….have taken a toll on me. I cannot see myself living in Sweden in winter anymore. I hope that the Covid has proved that remote working is possible and that I can organize work in such a way that I can live somewhere sunnier most of the year. This is probably the hardest thing to accomplish and, at the same time, a critical one for me. I hope that it will be possible, even if it means reducing my work time in Sweden. Crossing fingers!