I’ve reached the end of my four-week trip and I’ve arrived back to Manchester with a month’s worth of laundry and a huge pile of notes to, at some point, decipher… After months of planning and organising (anyone that has worked with me knows I don’t tend to wing things!) it feels strange to be back to normal life without this project to ‘manage’. But whilst the travels might be over, I have heaps to think about and lots of learning to reflect on, both in terms of my research area and personally. I tagged a bit of holiday onto my trip and, for the last few days, I was based in Sorrento and after a busy few weeks it was great to have some time to reflect on the experience whilst exploring the coastline.
But, the research isn’t over (I think ever drawing a line under it will be hard!) and I’ve already got a couple of Skype calls lined up with people and organisations I didn’t get chance to meet whilst I’m away. I am extremely grateful to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for the opportunity to travel to learn and I look forward to developing as a Churchill Fellow and continuing my learning. Thanks, too, to everyone who agreed to meet me and share their views and experiences with such honesty and enthusiasm for the project. I’ll be producing a report of my findings and looking for other opportunities to share what I found in Sweden, Germany, and Italy, too. Finally, thanks to my employers – the Care Quality Commission – that enabled me to take the time off from work to pursue this opportunity. Whilst the thought of getting through four weeks’ worth of emails is a bit daunting, I’m looking forward to returning to my team and reflecting on what I have found.