After a couple of years of contemplation and a lot of time talking to people and following the blogs and tweets of various career-breakers, I’m about to join their ranks.
At the end of September I’ll be packing up my desk at the Open University, handing over the Learning and Teaching Systems reins to my colleague Paul (twitter.com/paulbeeby - I hope he’s going to start tweeting soon so I can keep track of what’s happening), and leaving Moodle and e-learning behind for six months.
The first three months are planned – Sri Lanka, Shetland and the South Atlantic - but although I’ve got lots of ideas for the second three months (including some places not starting with S), I have for the first time in a very long time got no firm plans.
One of my frustrations, over the last five years particularly, has been the lack of time to think about the trips I’ve been fitting in around work commitments. I’ve rushed off somewhat manically to the airport as soon as I could, and spent as much time away as possible – and then plunged back into work again. One consequence has been not enough time to go through the photographs I’ve taken or to put together the blog postings, or any longer pieces of writing, from the trips.
My hope during the six months way from the office is to have time to make the trips a bit slower than they might otherwise have had to be, to reflect on and to write about my travelling, to spend some longer chunks of time in our house in Shetland, and maybe get re-enthused about e-learning.
I don’t plan to post anything further on this blog until next Easter – although I will be posting on my travel/photography blog (rossmac.blogspot.com), and I’ll be tweeting (twitter.com/rossmackenzie) when connectivity allows.
Sitting in my study in Oxford on a Sunday morning, I have lots of conflicting thoughts about the time away. Part of me can’t picture being away from the OU for such a long time (I first joined the University in late 1995 – and the commute to Milton Keynes is just part of what I do most days).
Part of me can’t picture doing anything other than returning to the OU in April. And yet another part of me can’t picture getting back into the formality of the daily commute again.
I'm certainly looking forward to the opportunities this winter will present - and I will give the occasional thought to the roll-out of Moodle 2 at the OU.