Tag: Dr Kate Russo

16 Oct 2013

Planning for 2015 – Part One

 

Me in the incredibly beautiful Faroe Islands. It's quite hard to take a bad photo. (c) Kate Russo
Me in the incredibly beautiful Faroe Islands. It’s quite hard to take a bad photo. (c) Kate Russo

I recently have partnered with The Independent Traveller and am now leading the Eclipse Tour to the Faroe Islands in 2015. We went recently to explore the islands, to identify several potential eclipse viewing sites, and the many other logistical things that are required when finalising a tour. I find the islands a fascinating place – so remote yet very connected to the outside world. The islands are dramatic – you cannot escape nature here. The people are warm and welcoming, and I love the ‘land of maybe’ attitude – things may or may not happen, all depending upon the weather.

What is interesting about the islands is that people were not really aware of what was going to happen in 2015. We spoke to a lot of people, and I did an evening presentation about the eclipse and the locals are very keen to be involved. The media were very interested in interviewing us. The interest is there, but there is this interesting parallel perhaps related to the ‘land of maybe’ attitude that little has yet been centrally coordinated. This is changing, however. In the meantime, I’m still going to come across as that crazy lady who gets excited about something that is happening quite a long time in the future.

Another interesting thing about the Faroe Islands is that they experienced a Total Solar Eclipse in 1954 – within living memory. Many people we spoke to recalled their parents talking about the eclipse, or else experienced it for themselves. Our tour guide, Olaf, described how he was playing football outside with a few friends when it suddenly went dark. He recalled being terrified and running into the house. Others seemed to be aware that the eclipse was happening. It is certainly an amazingly beautiful place to observe a total eclipse. The weather is going to be a little bit of a challenge – the islands are renowned for unstable weather. You cannot predict the weather, nor can you control what happens. But what you can do is to obtain local guidance and plan what you can and have back up plans. Having been there, I am more confident about seeing the eclipse. Transport and communication networks are excellent, meaning you can easily relocate the night before / early morning based on the weather.

I can’t wait to return to these lovely islands. If it wasn’t for the eclipse, I probably would never have visited. Eclipse chasing certainly allows you to experience so much more in life and opens up to many rich experiences.

28 Dec 2012

Being an author – and giving something back

Photo/Paul McErlane
Attending the launch of your first book – the most amazing experience

I had the idea for writing a book about my passion of eclipse chasing for many years. Many of my family and friends nagged me about it, saying that I should write about my eclipse chasing adventures. The idea was always there, in the back of my mind. But I always had doubts, or felt it wasn’t something I could do as I didn’t have the time. I just didn’t really prioritise the idea of writing a book.

This changed in September 2010, when I attended a one day writers workshop run by a local author. That was the day that I really took thinking about ‘the book’ seriously. I was able to spend time thinking about what it would look like, why I would write, and what I would get out of it. I learned so much by actually verbalising my thoughts about my idea. I also found listening to others who were in a similar situation very inspiring. My mind went into overdrive with ideas, and by the end of the day I bounded home from the workshop, feeling full of inspiration and energy, with a clear sense of how the book should be put together. From that moment on, it all flowed freely and it was like I was ‘driven’ to write.

Three months later, I had a book contract with a major publishing company to write my first book. And a year after that, I submitted my first book – I had become an author. I am now currently writing my second book, and I feel extremely motivated to continue writing for a long time. It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

I have published as an academic; I have written three different theses for my honors, masters and doctoral degrees. But there is something very special about having written and published a book about something you are passionate about. I still feel like I should pinch myself sometimes. For me, attending a writers workshop was the key that got the whole process started.

I really enjoy helping others begin this journey for themselves. I run workshops all the time in my day job as a Clinical Psychologist. I teach doctoral level students. I supervise research. I write academic papers. I run small classes. I coordinate a research discussion group. I also teach motivational interviewing to medical professionals, and those living with chronic illness. I teach communication skills. I help people change their lives for the better. I encourage people to live authentic lives. Workshops are what I do. I believe I have quite a unique set of skills to offer to first time writers. So, I aim to run workshops on a semi-regular basis wherever I am in order to inspire others to follow their passion and start writing. See Events for more details. It just feels like a great way of giving something back.