2023 has been a year with almost no conference travel for me. The only conference I attended was the ACI Fall Convention just now, and I did not present a paper or poster or anything. I went to participate in committee meetings, mostly.
Even though I did not travel for conferences in 2023, I did travel. I went to the Netherlands for my annual research stay, and during that stay I also spent a few days traveling to Sweden.
The reason why I did not travel much in 2023 comes from a combination of factors. First of all, I started my passport renewal process in November and only got my passport in hands at the very end of April. Renewing a passport is a long process when you live abroad and you don’t have an embassy of your country in your country of residence. Then, for the summer period, I was in Europe with my daughter, and it was complicated enough to figure out childcare in the Netherlands, let alone travel with her to a conference and figure out childcare there. And, I do feel shame about flying and traveling, so I always have mixed feeling for every flight I take – for work and for personal reasons.
I missed out on a few conferences in 2023, and I attended PhD defenses virtually – I tried to remain involved as much as I could under the restraints.
So, how did a year of opting out of the conference circuit affect me and my career? Not so much, I think. Missing a conference once or twice is not the end of my international contacts. There are a lot of conferences in my field, and I spend all my time (and research funds) on traveling, but this year I opted not to. Colleagues visited me, I had a lot of Zoom meetings, and I still have good international collaborations.
For 2024, I am planning more conferences – much more (I already have 7 conferences that I plan to attend, in fact), but perhaps I’ll take 2025 again as a conference-low year.