AE 410: Looking on the Bright Side of Life – Walking with Pete
G’day, guys. What is going on? Welcome to this episode of Walking with Pete. It has been and while. It has been a while, but I thought it was time to smash it out and do another one.
I know that you guys enjoy these episodes, and I feel like they’re important because they allow me to sort of… I guess, talk to you like you’re here with me, you know? Like I’m a friend, you’re a fly on the wall, we’re hanging out and you get to know a bit more about me, and, I guess, the way that I think about things, you know? That’s why I really like podcasts. I really like podcasts where you can be a fly on the wall or be a flea in someone’s ear and kind of get to know them a little bit more and how they think and…. just had some birds fly by… get to know about, you know, the kinds of thoughts that they normally have privately. So, and that’s why I think podcasting is so powerful because it’s a long form, meaning that you guys listen for a long time. It’s not just a, you know, two-minute video on YouTube that you click through really fast before you’ve even finished it. You get to sort of get to know me a little bit better and you get to know, you know, the kinds of things I’m interested in, my personal feelings on things, my thoughts my emotions, you get to hear a lot more in my voice because too you’re just focusing on my voice, you can’t see me.
So, yeah! I love podcasts. And so, at the moment, I am in Ocean Grove. Just walked down the hill that leads up to my house. So, my parents live on a hill that has a really nice view of the surrounding ocean and it’s quite steep. So, I’m just walk down it. I’m thinking about going to the shops to get a coffee and to get some meat. I’ve got to get some meat for the barbie. So, my folks are having a barbecue this evening and my sister…you hear this? They’ve stopped. There’s two magpies in front of me. There’s a baby one, making noises… Hello! Very calm, very tame, and there’s a parent magpie walking around looking for food to feed the baby magpie, and he’s just making these noises. He’s obviously very tame though, because I can walk right up to him.
Anyway, what was I saying? Yes, so we’re having a barbie tonight, we’re having a barbecue. Sister, her boyfriend, and their daughter, hopefully are coming around, or I guess, we’ll go to theirs. So, I’m going to the shops to get some meat. Heading up to the shops. I went down the hill, normally I go up the hill, but I went down, because I thought I’m going to be chatting to you, guys, for a little bit so I’ll go the long way, and yeah, I’ll get a little bit more time to chat. I’ll get a little bit more time to chat, ’cause if I get to the shops in five minutes, it’s sort of pointless, right? I wanna stretch this out, make it a more interesting podcast, and chat to you about a few things.
So, yeah! It’s kind of cool. I wanted to talk about where I’m at in life at the moment. I obviously finish my PhD, the doctorate, that I was doing OK the evolution of native Australian rodents. So, I was looking at how they were related to one another and how they had moved into different environments in Australia, because we have 70 different species of rats, of rodents, of mice, in Australia that are native. These aren’t the introduced pest species like the rat that you’ll see in the city or the house mouse. These are native species and they live in the bush, and the desert, in river systems, all over the place in Australia, and because Australia is so vast, we have a lot of different species. So, I was putting together how they were related from my PhD and really enjoyed that, but it was a little unfulfilling. Science is fun and the sort of… the result of science I find really interesting and entertaining and satisfying, but the process to get those results… there is a lot that is… that occurs behind the scenes. So, maybe we can talk about that for a bit, if I can catch my breath while I’m walking up this hill.
So, why did I leave science? Why did I leave science and decide to teach you guys English? One of the biggest things was that it’s very lonely. Science is you at a desk or you in a lab or you out in the field, which is the more… probably the more interesting of those three things, being out in the field than actually doing them work, at least for my kind of science. And you would be on your own. You might be with one other person that you see every day, you know… I mean you get to chat to people, sure. You get to sort of hang out with the same people all the time, but it’s a very kind of private, lonely existence, at least that was my subjective personal experience. I’m sure it’s different everywhere, but that was me, and I think I’m a lot more of a social person. I like to interact with people. I like to help people. I like to just be more active socially, and it felt like, at least with the… once I’d done the Bachelor of Science, that was good because it was kind of like high school where you have classes with 30, 40, 50 people. So, it’s still social, still fun. The Master’s degree that I did after that was kind of good too, because there was still a lot of classes, even though there was also research, a research project, that was done on my own, but the classes were fun, and, again, I still got to sort of interact with other people, but then when I did the PhD, I was effectively on my own, at least with regards to my project, right? It was all project, there’s no classes, and there’s just… Keep waiting for these cars to pass. It’s just kind of you do your own thing, you might get together with other students, you’re around other students, but you kind of… there’s just fewer of them, I guess. So, it led me to end up wanting to leave science… Cars, cars, cars! Maybe I picked the wrong road to walk up, guys.
But, yeah, so yeah! What am I trying to say? I felt a little lonely, I felt alone, and not satisfied, because it takes so long to get anything done. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved. The work itself requires long hours. For instance, my first chapter of my PhD took probably a year to get the data for. It would have taken a year or more to write up. And then it was in review at journals for another year or two. And so, despite having sort of done the science and getting the result and me knowing the answer to the question that I was asking for my first chapter, it’s still in review and hasn’t been published and hasn’t been accessed by other people, and so, like… far out! The amount of work that goes in to scientific papers and scientific research before it’s even made available to other people is just enormous. And I mean, you kind of need that to happen, you need to go through that process especially, obviously, collecting the data, doing the analysis correctly, and then going through the peer review process, which is where, for those of you who don’t do science or don’t know science, any paper that’s published in a scientific journal, a journal is an organisation or a, I guess originally, it would have been like a yearly book that came out full of these papers that people had submited and that were accepted into this journal, but now it’s all online, obviously. So, these are the places that actually publish the scientific literature. And you have to get it into those journals by the journals sending it to two or three independent scientists that may know you, but that don’t work directly with you, and so aren’t biased, and they have to review your work, critique your work, give feedback on it, you know, “Change this. Do this. I agree with this. I don’t agree with that.” And only after that’s happened and you’ve responded to the criticisms that were given to you by two independent reviewers can the article then be published through the journal. And so, that’s what we call “the peer review process”, when it comes to science and scientific research. So, you can’t just write whatever you want. You can’t just make up a story and then put that in a journal. It has to be correctly vetted by independent people and sort of assessed, criticised, critiqued, before it goes through to the final process or the final stage of being published online or in a journal.
Anyway, that process takes frickin’ forever. It takes a very long time, and it’s very annoying, it’s very laborious, it’s very boring. I think I like to see things change quite a bit. I don’t like sort of looking at the same thing repeatedly, again and again and again, for a long time, and that’s probably part of the reason that as well I sort of got bored with science, because it felt like I was just doing and looking at the exact same paper, whilst were trying to review it, for years. Again and again and again. Obviously, with the podcast, where doing Aussie English stuff changes every week. It’s still English, but I get to express myself differently. I get to sort of look at different things. I get to create. I get to help. I get to interact with you, guys. And so, it’s it’s ever-changing, and, I guess, that’s why I find that so much more fulfilling, so much more satisfying, and why I was so drawn to doing this full time, as opposed to doing the PhD into the future.
And so, I guess yeah… it’s… I’m really, really, happy at the moment, like, I’ve, you know, grown Aussie English to such an extent, to such a point, that I can now support myself. You know, I’m not living a lavish lifestyle by any means, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m making enough money to, at least, pay for the bills and to afford rent. Although at the moment, I don’t have to pay rent because my parents are kind enough to let me stay with them and save up a little.
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Obviously too, I’m moving to Canberra. So, that’s going to be fun. That’s happening in the next six days. I’ll be leaving on the 27th, I think, of this month. And so, that’s kind of interesting. I’m looking forward to it. Initially, Canberra has this reputation in Australia of being, we’ll put it bluntly, a bit of a shithole. It’s very informal language to say that a place is not good, “a shithole”. So, it’s a very reputed, it’s a very renowned for being in the middle of nowhere, away from Sydney, away from Melbourne, away from anywhere interesting, away from the beach, away from the mountains, and there just not being many people there. So, it’s somewhat boring and isolated. However, that was my opinion originally. I’d been there when I was a kid, but I hadn’t really paid much attention. I think we went to a friend’s house stayed the night then left, but going there more recently, when I went there maybe two or three weeks ago, it’s actually a really nice town. So, this is another example, guys, it’s another example of not judging a book by its cover. Not judging a book by its cover. Not assuming that the first glance at something or first impressions are a good representation of what that thing is in reality. So, we went there and I liked it for several reasons. One, it is kind of on its own. There aren’t many people around. There’s a lot of nature nearby, which I really enjoyed. I liked the fact that there were trees everywhere, and there was a bushland right near the city, and there were farms near the city. There were lots of animals. We could see kangaroos. We could see birds flying around. So, it’s not like that in other parts of Australia. For instance, living in Ocean Grove here there are no kangaroos very close by. You’d have to… you have to drive for probably an hour or so before you saw any of that kind of nature nearby, because it’s suburbia. Whereas, Canberra’s kind of a little island within a sea of farmland and bushland, and so, there’s a lot of wildlife nearby. So, yeah don’t judge a book by its cover.
I’m looking forward to doing that. That should be interesting. Hopefully, it’s a good change. Hopefully, I enjoy it there. Hopefully, make friends, because I only know two people in Canberra, and one of them has just had a baby with his wife, and so, I imagine that he is not going to be very free to hang out whilst I am in the process of moving there and finding my feet. “To find your feet” is sort of get established, you know, be able to sort of stand on your own, find your feet. So, I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to it, though and yeah, really happy that I can do that and I can afford to do that thanks to you, guys. Thanks to everyone who’s supporting the podcast by Patreon. Thanks to everyone who has signed up to the Aussie English Classroom with whom I am working to help improve their English on a daily basis. So, thank you to you, guys. You guys are the ones who make this possible.
I can’t remember what else I was going to chat to you guys about. But, yeah, they’re the big change sort of happening, and it’s funny because… If you’d told me this was going to happen six months ago, a year ago, two years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have assumed you were wrong because I would have assumed, no, I’m gonna get a job doing the PhD staff, or no I’m not going to have a girlfriend by that point, no I’m not going to be moving to Canberra. Why would I be moving to Canberra? So, it is funny how life can change rapidly. Things can turn on a dime. So, things can turn very quickly. They can turn on a dime. They can change.
And I think one of the biggest things for me mentally and emotionally is just being open to changes. I don’t really fight against these kinds of things that come up in front of me, and I feel like that’s really good for my wellbeing, because I’m not really a stressed out, stressful, kind of person. I don’t really suffer from, you know, worry. I don’t really worry about work too much, obviously. I enjoy it. I don’t stress about a lot of things. I’m not very…I’m not really that emotional when it comes to extreme feelings. I guess, you guys might know this to some degree from having listened to me, but I’m not a very… not a very stressed person. I’m not a very angry person, but I am a very, I would say, romantic, loving. I have that side of the emotion covered.
But yeah, so be open to things changing. Be open to opportunities coming up, because you never know what’s going to be around the corner or what’s going to be waiting for you. You know? So, that’s why I guess I’m staying positive and I’m looking forward to this opportunity of moving to Canberra, because who knows what’s going to happen. Who knows what’s waiting for me once I get there with regards to opportunities, whether it’s making friends, meeting new people. Who knows? It could be job opportunities, travel opportunities, anything and everything. I’m in a very good spot at the moment, guys, in no small part thanks to you. So, in other words, in a big part. In a big part of my happiness is related to you, guys, and what I’ve been able to achieve with you guys on the podcast. So, massive thank you to you, guys.
But yeah, that’s what I’m currently at. And I guess, the goal for the next year is mainly just keep growing Aussie English, keep growing Aussie English, keep trying to help more and more people and expand my circle of influence, and just keep enjoying life I guess, you know? You don’t need to be rich. You don’t need to have everything in the world, but if you enjoy each day and you get to help people, it’s… what else can you ask for, right? Like, that’s the main purpose of being around, ’cause life would be pretty boring even if you are rich, if you couldn’t have a positive effect on anyone else out there, if you couldn’t help anyone, I feel like that kind of life would be very unsatisfying for me.
So, yeah, I thought you guys would enjoy this little Walking With Pete episode. I’ve just sort of done a few circles. I’ve done a few circles around the streets here to avoid getting to the shops, ’cause I wanted to sort of keep chatting to you, guys. Keep having a rant. Keep having a yarn. Hope you’re enjoying all the content that I’m putting out constantly for you, guys. I just want to give you lots and lots and lots of stuff to listen to, stuff to read, stuff to help you upgrade your English, and just keep you thinking about these sorts of things.
So, that’s probably enough for today, guys. I wonder… (I’ve) probably gone for about 15 minutes. Nup, almost 20 minutes. So, yeah, I guess, my little point today would be keep smiling, guys. Stay happy. Look on the bright side of life and find a reason to be positive today, and I will chat to you in class. See you, guys!
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