I am off west! While writing this blog post I am on my way to the US to spend a month at Washington State University in Pullman (WA) and University of Washington in Seattle (WA). This is my first trip in the 2013 academic travel season, and I am really excited.
Since I wanted to write a blog post while actually travelling, I am typing some thoughts throughout my trajectory, which starts now in the 747 bus to Trudeau Airport and will (hopefully) end at today’s destination of Pullman (WA).
I have been looking forward to this trip for a while now, and the reasons for that are quite simple. First: I love traveling. It doesn’t really matter whether the purpose of a trip is private, research, or anything else. It is just always a great adventure and overall exciting experience to leave your day to day environment and go on a trip. Second (and much more important for this specific trip): Spending time with another group at another University is the best thing that can happen to your research and your personal development. You get to discuss your ideas with different people and most likely you will get really valuable feedback and advice from people who have different perspectives. Of course this includes the possibility that somebody will tell you how stupid your ideas really are. That’s usually not what you hope for, but it can happen. However, I believe that whatever advice you get, it is really valuable and in the end you really get to push forward you work. Usually conferences or other scholarly meetings aim at the same thing, however, a visit somewhat longer than just a few days is much more intense. In fact, in the 2012 academic travel season I got to spend four weeks at the University of Toronto and three weeks at University of Washington in Seattle and this period was overly productive and central to the advancement of my work. Consequently, I have very high expectations to the current trip and really look forward to the time in the US.
Why am I writing about all this travel experience? I believe it is really important to share such experiences and encourage other people leave their offices and discuss their ideas with other groups. So if you get the opportunity to do something like that I recommend you take it!
P.S.: This post was uploaded with some delay, after my arrival in the US. I am looking forward to write more about my experience here at WSU.