Although geographers are usually taught to plan and conduct research carefully and systematically in order to achieve meaningful, legitimate results, fieldwork often opens up unanticipated and insightful experiences. Sometimes, the most meaningful findings are those that are wholly unplanned for and only achievable by letting go of expectations and soaking in a place firsthand. This essay discusses the author’s evolution as a scholar, involving a series of place-based revelations leading from the open, arid plains and prairies of northeastern Arizona to the cold, rainy, wholly surprising temperate rainforest of southeast Alaska. In so doing, it is not a model blueprint for fieldwork, but instead offers insight into the process of place-creation.

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