I’m sitting in a restaurant, after finishing my last meal in Prague and reflecting on my time here.
The conference: Despite some early issues with organizing and unclear directions, not to mention last decisions, everything went really well. I was impressed by the quality of science and the scientists who presented their work. At times, I felt a bit lost among the geologists and couldn’t find anyone familiar. However, a conference of that size and scope also means there are often small and unique sessions, such as mathematics in earth science, or data science and analytics, that I was very interested in. For the most part, I stuck with oceanography, attending sessions on the southern ocean and ocean mixing, with the occasional foray into something a bit different. I have several notebook pages full of people to contact or papers to look up once I get back to my office.
Prague: I’ve also been reflecting a bit on my time in the city. I’ve decided that while I’m still not a fan of cities, this one isn’t too bad. The castles here are quite interesting, even though the prevalence of stone wears on the feet after a few days. It’s still too crowded for me. The streets are filled with tourists in the popular parts, the buildings are extremely close together, and it all got a bit repetitive after awhile. Despite that, I still really enjoyed myself, which brings me to my final point.
Me: This trip ended up being a good lesson on how to be on my own. The first day or two, plus these last days on my own have been one of the few times I’ve had nothing to consult but my own wishes. In any normal situation I can find a reason for a decision that makes either my life easier, or someone else’s. Here, it was often only about what I wanted at the moment. Now that I’m at the end of my time here, I have to say that I feel more comfortable with myself and being by myself. It’s an unexpected, but welcome outcome.
Now, the real trick is remembering the excitement from the conference and translating that back to everyday work life to get more accomplished.