My initial interest in my discipline began with fieldwork - I loved the idea of applied science, and if that got me outside, potentially to other countries, sign me up! Beyond the subject itself, which is still (and will hopefully remain) something that gets me out of bed in the morning, I liked the sense of adventure and discovery that just wasn't matched by lab- or computer-based work. A good field season sometimes makes all the rest of it more meaningful and important (or at least tolerable!).
I've been working in Africa for most of my student career; my dissertation work is in one country, but I've worked in others as an undergrad, on graduate field courses, and as a warm body on other field projects. I love that I get to travel and interact with people from other cultures in a very non-tourist fashion. I started out as a gung-ho, I'll-suffer-anything-for-the-project undergrad, and although I've really enjoyed the majority of my field time, over the past few years I've become much more reluctant and resigned to field work as actual work that also takes me away from my home life.
I'm not sure if this has more to do with experience or the fact that I'm getting old and moving into some kind of "adult" phase where home is more important, but I'd sometimes honestly rather be hanging out with Partner and getting regular showers than dealing with the rigors of field life, despite its perks.
As a younger person I had visions of myself as more research-oriented, discovering the undiscovered, etc. Now I find myself equally interested in teaching, and looking forward to a little less pressure on the field work front. This is probably a good thing, because high-end field projects may be out of reach in the long term at a small college. I hope to stay active research-wise, but I'm a little surprised by my lack of concern about giving up the majority of my research activities. Apparently, I have grown.
1 day ago