Planning for Not Planning to See in Ireland

I am in Ireland now for a few days of vacation with my friend from college, James. I have been here once before, though it was a number of years ago and was for a somewhat short period of time (as if the four full-days I am here now after my trip to Lancaster is a long period!).

Whatever the case, I have planned for this trip by doing something I have never done when traveling before—planned to not plan for everything.

Let me attempt to clarify.

I believe I am a first-class travel packer, and have packed only and everything that I need for my trip (there is nothing in my bag I have not used, and nothing I really needed that I should have brought). While this accounts for the physical items, I am focusing now upon the non-physical—the thoughts and experiences that come along with and attend to seeing something new with someone who I have seen a lot with over the past 20 years.

“What do I want to see while here,” I was asked. What is usually a question that demands an extra 10 hours to be added to the day was instead replaced by something much simpler and perhaps even more complicated, “I want to see the things about Ireland that make people say it is such a beautiful place.” If only this can be easily planned for!

I want to see nature, landscapes, colors, and sites that I have only been able to see without feeling online. Those sites that I can re-experience with my own photos, but which may be meaningless by seeing them in those of other people.

I don’t quite know what these things may be before I see them . . .

What do I want to see? Seeing is not quite the right word—I want to experience things that I cannot see online, on video, through pictures, the phone. I want to experience things that technology can not reproduce; only reminding me of later.

Ever see a picture or hear some music or have a conversation and get transported through time and space to that or some other experience or history or memory? Take a look at the photos I uploaded to Flickr and you will see the physical memory of yesterday. Looking at them again now, I remember the feel of the wind, my fear of the heights, the rich colors, the peaceful brooks, the memory of great movies and even greater expansion and promise that have washed across these hills over the millennia.

That is the best I can do to share what I did yesterday. Know the pictures (while clear and colorful, if I do say so) hold only a glimpse of how rich the experience really was, and they all took place because I did not create a checklist of things I wanted to see and do while here. Let’s see what happens.

That is what I wanted to see in Ireland.

Lancaster Doctoral Residential, 2009

Here I am in the middle of my residential in the northwest of England, where I have recently started as a doctoral student studying toward a PhD in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL or ERTEL). 

After teaching and learning for so many years, why not focus on the PhD? After all, while I work full-time as a project manager, I also teach doctoral students, MBA and other graduate students, undergraduates, and continuing education students. I already have four earned masters degrees, review countless academic and peer-reviewed presentations, papers, and journal articles. Why not get the credential I have already worked long and hard to achieve (not to mention my own countless papers, international presentation, and articles of some sort or another)?

While I have held off thus far discussing my studies which began two months ago (I have been busy, even by my own standards!), they will become more a part of my life and thus my blog postings.

Nothing like more opportunities for reflective practice to improve my teaching and learning.

Trying on a New Tagline

This past week I raised the issue of rebranding my blog by updating my tagline. Thanks to all those wonderful colleagues who offered their comments on this, I am making an update and will “try it on” for a week or so. If I like it, I will keep it; if it still feels somehow incomplete or inaccurate, I will adjust it again.

So, I went from:

Reflective practice in organizational learning, educational technology, and postmodern society.


Fostering the practice of postmodern learning and research.

I believe this includes my passions:

  • reflective practice
  • learning paradigms
  • teaching and learning
  • postmodernism and post-structuralism
  • constructivism and critical theory
  • qualitative research
  • technology enhanced learning and educational technology
  • communities of practice

I wonder if those who know me (or those who may have only recently met me for the first time) think this “fits?”