Tuesday, 26 November 2013

NOLA-mber: Presentations, Pecans & Po-Boys

I am just back from a four night work trip to New Orleans where I attended a research conference. It was a really great conference which provided a (much needed) enthusiasm and confidence boost for my research. New Orleans had hosted the same annual conference two years ago and I was lucky enough to attend then, too. I was excited to go back and take better advantage of being in this vibrant city. 
I ate my fill of pralines and pecan pie, dipped in and out of bars with live music, went to a fantastic jazz brunch, admired the pretty (and the bizzare) in little antique stores in the French Quarter, had a po-boy, went for a morning stroll down Bourbon Street (having witnessed it on a Saturday night last time!) and took a trip to the Garden District on the traditional St. Charles street car. Honestly, I did attend conference sessions - I even presented! I had tried to travel light and didn't take my SLR camera but I still managed to snap away using my phone.
I really enjoyed the chance to visit New Orleans again. I wish M had been able to take the time off to come with me - I think he'd have really enjoyed it. It also gave me the time to think and make plans, generally. The two 16 hour journeys alone left more than enough time to reevaluate various things that have happened over the past couple of months and to get excited about future plans. Sometimes, the thing you need most is some time to yourself, to see new and exciting things. This reminded me of Kaplan and Kaplan's research on restorative environments and the need for us to be fascinated, as a way of overcoming fatigue. They consider natural environments, but New Orleans fascinated me. The trip was a break from routine and the long to-do lists and gave me opportunities to renew my enthusiasm for my work, and for my life in general. Thanks, NOLA!

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