Just a couple of quick notes.
1) My trip last week really reminded me how important face-to-face meetings are. I had been corresponding with a group in the city I visited about a project of mutual interest. I have the data the need and they have the analysis chops to ask questions I can't at the moment. It makes a ton of sense for us to collaborate, but we've mostly just been sending a few emails back and forth. Having the opportunity to sit down with the group and shoot the shit made a huge difference with how we are planning to proceed and now it looks as though we'll be putting together a proposal in the New Year. I don't think that would have happened with my visit.
2) Trips like the one I went on are also tremendous for opening up new collaborations. Between the talk I gave and informal discussions, I have a whole host of new contacts both in Europe and in North America. I may also be traveling to Europe more than I expected in the coming years. I hadn't thought much about what an excellent networking trip this would be, but it turned out to be great.
3) Returning from this trip was different from many previous for one big reason: the Wee One was thrilled I was home. In the past, my return has been greeted either with indifference or with the Wee One wanting nothing to do with me for a few days. On my arrival this time, she was anxiously awaiting me and spent the ensuing hours glued to my side. Simply put, it made the trip that much better that I could come home and have her excited to see me.
4) The book chapter I have been writing for what seems like forever was severely wounded on the plane rides and should be slayed today. Getting this damn thing off my desk will be an enormous relief, especially since I've been asked to write something else (small) before the end of the year and have at least one grant proposal going in for the Jan deadline. 18,000 words and four figures. Sianara MoFo.