The journey that matters…

earth_lightsI would like to speak a bit about the world.
This year, primarily on business but occasionally for pleasure too, I travelled to the East Coast of the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Turkey, Germany. If you add to the above, a significant number of visits to various places in the UK and my summer in Greece, they make up for 10 countries in the course of the year.

I have always considered travelling something like a personal investment.

A big part of travelling is about the memories. Quakers and early American development history in Philadelphia, a glance of the White House in Washington, the sophisticated canal network in Amsterdam, Basel and its suburbs that span three countries, a Viking settlement in Uppsala, the magnificent Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the historic Charite Hospital in Berlin, a drive around Loch Ness in Scotland.

To this … investment I am complementing my added knowledge and experience. Late phase clinical trials, pragmatic randomised controlled trials, the digital revolution in healthcare, pharmacoeconomics and building sustainable health systems, drug safety and epidemiologic profiles, changing priorities in public health. Because travelling is also about building your experience and networks, enhancing your understanding of the world, triggering appreciation of differences and similarities. It’s the journey that matters.

A big part of this year was about me getting out of my comfort zone. Understanding other healthcare systems, seeing how different people do different research about the same topics, realising the revolution that is happening in Asia, lifting two eyebrows and looking directly to Africa. Appreciating different challenges and how people at this very moment are experiencing war, poverty, hunger, disease. This is what public health really means. And I am thinking that as we are striving to make our collective thoughts global, there is an exciting year ahead for our Society of Junior Doctors…

My thoughts are interrupted by a familiar voice coming from the living room. This voice makes up for the most fascinating of all journeys. Time to shut down my laptop. Happy new year. No resolutions this year, just keeping eyes fixed on the far horizon…

Until next year,