During the summer of 2010 I, with my wife, Lesley, took a Sabbatical. For this work, we used traditional academic methods searching for literature, reading, discussing and writing. However, part of the 'experiment', was to explore what could be added by taking 'journeys with a purpose'. Did the journey and its destination stimulate ideas? Was the process of cycling or walking a stimulus for a different, perhaps deeper, form of thinking?
The overall purpose was to consider the way in which human consciousness has changed over time and how it might change again as we negotiate the 'change of age' that now seems to be upon us. The main output of the Sabbatical is my contribution to a book entitled the Future Public Health, to be published by Open University Press in 2012.
These essays (available to download) provide a reflective account of the journeys.
The first journey was to Santiago in North West Spain. We cycled the Camino to explore the medieval consciousness that had first inspired this pilgrimage and to find out what modern people could gain from taking the Way of Saint James. The chronological description of our 1350 mile journey is detailed in the appendix to this essay. The main text tries to capture the 'thinking' and 'being' engendered by the experience.
Read more about the journey to Santiago >>
The second journey was to the Burgess Shale in Yoho national park in Canada. This adventure was preceded by a series of rich interactions with the staff at Regent's College in Vancouver. The idea was to explore the consciousness that has emerged in the modern era. We wanted to explore how ideas like the theory of evolution have impacted on questions like 'what is a human being?', 'what is our purpose' and 'how should we respond to threats like global warming'.
Read more about the journey to the Burgess Shale >>
The final journey was to the Eden Project in Cornwall. It was our hope that it would provide inspiration for the future consciousness that will be required as we face up to the challenge of sustainability. It did not quite live up to that expectation but, nonetheless, proved to be a rich source of learning.
Read more about the journey to the Eden Project >>