March is here, and with it begins a season of intense travel for me - something which for some combination of reasons has become sort of a habit. First, workshops and conferences are rarely scheduled in the December-February period. Second, the Christmas vacations put a sort of break to all activities and disrupt the flow. Third, I teach a course in the first semester, which is now over. And fourth, INFN funding mechanisms imply that it is harder to travel in those months (yearly budgets close toward the end of November, and funds become again available only a bit after the new year starts).

In addition to the above, another reason is apparent: I have recently started a collaboration with computer scientists in Lulea University of Technology. Lulea is in the north of Sweden, so it is slightly unattractive as a destination during the coldest months of the year. In fact, I am only traveling there now, as I did last year.

In the next couple of months, I will be visiting first Clermont-Ferrand (March 3-6) for a workshop on Anomaly Detection; then I will go to Lulea (March 7 to 14); I will spend a few days in Berlin (15-17) in mid-March, then go back to Lulea (March 17-29); spend some Easter holidays in Padova (March 29-April 2), then back to Lulea (April 3-7); then I will travel to Mexico city (April 8-12) for a collaboration meeting of the SWGO experiment, go back to Lulea (until April 29) and then fly to Amsterdam (April 29-May 3) for the first edition of the EUCAIF conference. 

Finally, from the beginning of May onwards I will be a bit more stable in my hometown in Padova. But then, in the summer I plan more visits to Lulea (about one month between June and July), a trip to Australia for the QCHS conference (August 15-22); the ICNFP conference in Crete (August 23-September 2), one in Heidelberg (September 11-13), and the MODE Collaboration meeting in Valencia (September 23 to 25).

With all this travel ahead of me, my main worry (besides the harm I produce to the environment) is that I will have my hands away from my baby grand piano for quite some time in 2024. The main reason why this is a practical problem is that in mid August I am scheduled to accompany my wife in an Opera Gala concert in Australia: most of the pieces are new to me, and I desperately need time to practice! Of course, I am also a bit annoyed by having to spend time away from Jacques and Kalliopi (here in alphabetical order), although we tried to organize our movements around the globe in a way that allows us to not be away from one another for more than 10 days in a row.

And then there are my students. Now, one positive aspect of the COVID-19 crisis of the past few years is that we are all better prepared to run things remotely. I have already been doing this with a PhD student who is now spending time in Clermont-Ferrand (under joint supervision with prof. Donini there); but now in Padova I have one more PhD student (also jointly supervised, this time with prof. Sandin in Lulea), plus two Master thesis interns, plus a research grantee. Will I be able to successfully direct from remote these activities? We will see.

All the above said, I must say that I am also thrilled by all the interesting meetings, workshops, collaboration opportunities ahead of me, and in general by being able to breathe different air than the polluted mix lingering above us in Padova. On the plus side there is also the chance to practice my Swedish, which is still at A1/A2 level, but improving! Det var allt for nu, vi ses snart!