A while back, I wrote about how my attitudes towards conference travel have shifted.
In the mean time, I’ve been able to travel to a conference. I gave a keynote lecture in Spain for this conference, received a nice plaque for my office wall, and enjoyed the ability to have more personal conversations with my colleagues. It was so nice to finally be able to meet people with whom I had been in touch by email or Zoom only for the past years. From that perspective, it was good to travel – even though Vueling airlines lost my luggage and Barcelona was incredibly hot.
And thus, I found myself contemplating again on which conferences to go to. For Fall 2022, I’m limiting myself to two trips (one for a PhD defense and one to go give a keynote lecture). I will also limit myself to two trips for Spring 2023, although I already have 3 that I should actually attend. And since my passport is expiring at the end of Spring 2023 as well, I will first need to make sure I get a replacement in time, which isn’t very straightforward when your home country does not have an embassy in the country where you reside.
Then of course, there is the notion that I *should* attend certain conferences, as I serve on technical committees of these organizations. Most of the time, however, that still means I need to pay for full registration and everything. And we’ve learned in the COVID pandemic that there’s a lot of technical work we can do at distance and with virtual meetings.
My priority has also shifted to keynotes of which my expenses are covered by the hosting institution – I prefer to keep travel funding in my projects for my researchers rather than to use it myself. These invitations are relatively new to me, and they seem to mark a new stage in my career.