This week officially kicks off the lab's summer season of crazy travel and writing. Tomorrow we heading to a major conference in our field, which should be a lot of fun. It'll be an opportunity for me to catch up with a lot of old friends and a chance for my students to be involved in an international conference, even if it is in the US this year. As much as I am always conflicted about leaving home, the truth is that I need this in a big way. Not only am I looking forward to being immersed in the science, but I need a break from my desk. It's taking me way too long to get writing done at the moment and I'm having trouble focusing on the day-to-day things that just need to get done for everything to keep running. I need a change of scenery, however brief, to get me back in the right mind-set so I can make this next push without combusting just shy of the finish line. This job is a series of peaks and valleys of intensity and if you don't spend time in the valleys clearing the decks and finding a bit of time for yourself, each peak starts to look bigger.
The funny thing is that as much as I have traveled to some amazing places in this job, this week we will be going to a place I never imagined I would ever be, in an area of the country I have previously never even thought twice (or even once) about visiting. Perhaps that's another benefit of work-related travel - being forced to experience places and people one would otherwise just fly over on the way to somewhere else. I'm sure I will let you know.