Firstly, I’ve titled this post “Adventure” because I ended up using the word too many times throughout this post and found myself using the thesaurus function every few sentences. But “adventure” is the perfect word for this entire trip. As you know, our time at Vindolanda came to an end this past Friday and I can’t help but to already think on the past five weeks with a touch of nostalgia.
Honestly, I was terrified for Vindolanda when the time arrived to travel across the ocean, when I had to leave my family and friends behind. April and May had been some of the hardest months of my life, and I was incredibly worried I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself on a trip that I’d been looking forward to for months. It was that initial eagerness, the excitement of my new friends, as well as Beth and Alex that helped me to look forward to the bright and wonderful experience ahead.
My worries were quickly stifled within the first few days with our constant journeys along Hadrian’s Wall and the anticipation of more adventure and a lot of digging ahead. Every day of excavation was exciting whether I’d found something interesting or not. I looked forward to working not only with our Canadian crew, but also with the numerous volunteers from around the world who had so many stories and experiences to share with us. Seeing our collective progress day by day was incredible enough to spur me onwards and become eager to accomplish even more the next day.
I loved every expedition to a new town, every biscuit, every cup of tea, every bucket of anaerobic sludge, and every raindrop. I’ve always been interested in archaeology, and this has only solidified that fact even more. The only downfall of this experience is that I’ve become so interested in so many aspects of archaeology that I’m conflicted on which I would like to pursue in the future (hopefully in the UK). Obviously, this is hardly a downfall, and I’m incredibly thankful to have this conflict.
Just as everyone else has done, I’d like to thank everyone involved in my time at Vindolanda. Thank you Andy, Lauren, and Marta for teaching me more than I could ever have anticipated, for answering all of my silly and not-so-silly questions, and always helping to keep our spirits high as we laboured away. To every volunteer I had the opportunity of working with, thank you for being such a wonderful team and for sharing stories and bantering along with me. To my Canadian crew, thank you for being my entertaining room/cottage mates, friends, transit van/travel buddies and teammates, you put up with me for five weeks and I personally think that’s rather impressive. To all the incredibly generous donors, thank you for helping me achieve this dream and making all of this possible. Finally, thank you of course to Alex and Beth for making all of this possible, for sharing your enthusiasm and encouragement, and for taking us on more adventures than I ever could have asked for. Thank you to everyone; you all helped me more than you could possibly know, and turned my summer on its head in the best way possible. I will forever be grateful for all of you and for these incredible five weeks, and hope that I can return to Vindolanda in the very near future.