So, I have been off doing research and gathering with friends and family in my (well, my partner's) old home state. And it has been lovely! The weather was wonderful, the reunions with friends were fun, and the wedding I attended was heartwarming and sweet. The gf met me Friday for the wedding festivities, and we will continue to enjoy family and friends over the weekend. Well, I will be doing a little work, too, but that is to be expected.
I have spent a good deal of time in Panera's across the state, of which there are many. Good food, free wireless, homey atmosphere--some of the newer, posher ones have fireplaces! They were a great spot to respond to emails, work on grant proposals and reports, and (because I am in the South) have conversations with people I do not know. Sometimes I think they made these restaurants just for traveling academics, but I have met enough traveling salesmen, local businesspeople, and mom-and-child support groups to know better.
It is amazing the difference that a laptop and WiFi make in my life. I have been on my computer in airports, college buildings, restaurants, in friends' homes, etc. My favorite moment was late evening at a friend's house, where she, her partner, and I all sat at her kitchen table with our laptops open, pausing to read one another crazy emails from students and colleagues while we tried to empty our inboxes. (The other two are also academic administrators, so we all understood the need to get to the email sooner rather than later.)
While I can tell I am away from work, few work colleagues can. After one set of email exchanges, pretty much in real time, one colleague whose office sits across the hall from mine wrote me back and said, "Where the hell are you???" Access to my email and documents has been a great thing, even while it has made my trip less relaxing and less focused on research and family.
So, I will be back blogging regularly next week...perhaps from our local Panera!