First day of my new life

On the first of June, I officially started my leave from the university.

Piuuuuuuuuung! PO….PO…..Piuuuuuuuuuung POPPOPOPOPOPOPOPO!

The sound of the fireworks resound on my head as I write these lines.

So, It is DONE.

And it just feels right!

It feels like all the pieces are slowly falling into place. As Frank nicely reminded me yesterday, we are finally doing what we only dreamt of a year ago. Reboot our life.

Of course this is not the start of something radically new. It is “just” the start of the transition period. One in which I still keep one foot on the University, while I start to work as freelance. At least, that is THE PLAN.

The plan for the transition period

At Lund University, I will keep working one day a week in a project on blue transformations of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This is a project that I really enjoy working with, as it brings together economics and conservation. After the summer,  I will do some fieldwork in some of the Caribbean SIDS with a colleague from Lund to gather primary data….no complains there as you can imagine!

What I leave behind, are the endless series of meetings, administrative roles and teaching administration which, apparently, are a fundamental part of the job description as a full professor. A downgrading, if you ask me!. I will miss the teaching though, since I truly enjoy interacting with the students enrolled in the Master. But I will have the opportunity to be with some of the students when they come to Costa Rica for the “Innovative practice” course that I have been running with the Universidad Nacional for a couple of years now. During the course we take the students to different locations around Costa Rica to learn about different innovative solutions for sustainable development. The students have also the opportunity to conduct their own reserch in a particular community on the interplay between innovation and sustainability. For example, how ecotourism and community wellbeing interact, how grassroot innovations scale up, how climate change is accelerating innovations in the coffee industry, how new energy clusters around green hydrogen are developing in Costa Rica or how different initiatives are enabling just blue transformations in Costa Rica. All super interesting and with a clear use for the communities. But that will not happen until spring 2023….I am getting ahead of myself.

In the fall, I will start a 1,5 year long Harvard Graduate Certificate in Natural Resources and Healthy Ecosystems. I am SUPER excited about this!. The courses are just AMAZING and I will be learning a lot on ecology and conservation. The program is online and designed for people that are working full time. However, a look at the syllabus of the courses, suggests that it is not  unreasonable to think that it will take two to three days per week, to take full advantage of the course. They are, let us say, intense…. 

I plan to work one day a week as a research consultant, for my future life. There are very good prospects to secure a 1,5 year long contract with a leading conservation NGO.  I will also devote some time to the development of concept ideas and networking. 

Related to the future life, I will continue working probono, supporting different organizations that aim to have a positive impact on conservation and sustainability, as I have done for a while now. I am part of the founding team of PlanetMatch a start-up company which aims at inspiring, informing and enabling people and organizations to become change makers in sustainability and the Fundación Vida Sostenible which aims at helping individuals to embrace sustainable lifestyles. May be, in due time, these probono jobs will translate into paid contracts. But, I am in no rush there. At least not this year.

But for now…..

For now, we are on HOLIDAYS. We will take a month to dewire and reboot, with NOTHING in the agenda but wildlife watching. In july, in a cabin inside a natural reserve, with NO internet. In August, we will be moving to a cabin by the sea, just when the Humpback whales visit the Osa Peninsula. I am SO MUCH looking forward to it!!!

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