Paige's CO2 Adventure

Today I have been on land for over two whole weeks. Funky!! My brain and heart have been all over the place. I have picked my costal productivity research back up, and some of the newest results are not at all what I was expecting. And these unexpected results just made my research that much more interesting!! Teaching is fun, a little disappointing because my classes are so small.
I’m swimming in the sun on my lunch breaks, I’m eating bowls of baby peppers for lunch because I cannot imagine anything more delicious, I’m buying myself bikinis and concert tickets and pillows shaped like shells. I’m maybe the closest I’ve ever been in my adult life to truly living in the present. I’m really happy.
Me, back to the grind, looking at my stupid face waiting for students to show up to office hours.

A20 GO SHIP cruise: Personal reflections.

I promised some personal reflections on the whole cruise experience. I want to be good on my word. Apologies in advance for the incoherent thoughts I am about to write!

I think getting paid to do research is the greatest possible job I could have right here right now in my life. My job is to be curious. To be curious about something that I love. Something that I have thought about almost incessantly since I can remember. 

I’m in love with what I do, almost to a fault. I can wrap myself in the goals and progression and the pursuit of knowledge to the point that it suffocates other parts of me. This happened when I was a senior in college, and I notice it now in graduate school, especially amidst the pandemic.

There is no work life balance on a ship. Work is your life. The ship is a symphony of extremes. Tasks are exact, times are sharp, titles define you- all of this is a necessity. Its a freaky and wonderful machine. Its obvious that there’s no balance, nor could there be in this environment.

Something about being in this environment of 100% work (and loving it) has made me relax being back on land. I’m still working a good deal, but it doesn’t seem so urgent. Rushing science doesn’t make it better. And being a “scientist” doesn’t need to be my defining characteristic. And this whole culture of being a miserable stressed scientist needs to stop.

The ship helped me live in the present. I had to focus on the task at hand. The most ambitious daydreaming was about what the next meal would be. I would look at the water just passing underneath the ship, not at the endless horizon. 
99.9% of the time I felt that my presence was truly appreciated on the ship. I made friends that I know I will keep for the rest of my life. I don’t feel this day to day in what I do. My work is isolating, and my scientific interactions are only with 4 or 5 people. I cling to TA’ing as a reprieve from the lonely nature of independent research. I’m making it work, and things are getting better, but I don’t want to have to choose between being a scientist or being not isolated for the rest of my life. Por que no los dos??

From this I want to take:

Courage! Courage to admit that I am a scientist and I love what I do but that doesn’t define who I am. 

Presence. I want to continue to focus more on the task at hand, the day I’m living, the person who I am sitting right next two. I want to take many deep breaths a day and be present. I want to look at the water right underneath me.

Curiosity. What a gift it was to ask experts about their passions and their work. It is foolish of me to think that I am not capable of doing this just because I am back on land. As the world comes back out of its shell and feels willing to share a little more, I want to take advantage, ask all the questions, and challenge myself to see the intricacy in the things I neglect daily.

My favorite moments: 

The second to last sunset, the night we laid on the bow and stargazed until the moon rose, sharing worst date stories in the lab, eating cereal at midnight with everyone who had just gotten off their shift, the first morning we saw sargassum and spent an hour trying to make a contraption to catch it, the night I watched Howls Moving Castle in my bunk and cried for no reason at all, and every single morning stretch on the second deck of the bow from the hours of 08:15 to 08:30.

That’s enough thoughts from me! Thanks to anyone who wanted to hear anything at all about this journey. I feel so lucky to have people in my life that care to listed to my soul searching and self righteous blabbering. Onward and upward 😊

A final note (or two)

If you are at all interested in seeing any of the data or results from the cruise, please reach out! I love to talk about it to anyone that is interested. NO question is too silly or simple.
Additionally, I have worked as a guest lecturer with the Skype a Scientist program for a couple of years now, and I adore giving talks about oceanography, earth science, and being a female scientist. If you or any teachers you know are ever looking for a scientist to give a lesson, please let me know!


In June I’ll resume my monthly climate science newsletter! For those that weren’t following before I went on this cruise, I think you’d like it. Its informal in nature and tries to tackle explaining one component of the climate system a month. If you’re not interested, go ahead and leave this email list, because I accidentally merged the two newsletters and now do not know how to separate them (haha sorry)

Where is the Thomas Thompson right now?

Lets find out!


Clockwise from left : Back in my beautiful hometown, Redlands CA, My mom finding a friend while antique shopping, Me and my soulmate, Max, and some flowers that being me joy in our neighborhood.
XOXO Paige Hoel

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