Gosh, sometimes I love my job.
Yes, I remember telling you about the signs it’s time to leave your job and these came from the heart.
Today, I am sitting in a very nice hotel across from Copacabana beach and I’m thinking that it’s not that bad, really.
And because it is Friday, and because I feel lonely, I’ll tell you about my Big South American Adventure.
It all started when two Brazilian visitors to my Institute decided to apply for a grant to the British Council to organise a networking event. Couple of colleagues and I helped and the grant was granted.
This meant a trip to Sao Paolo in early March.
Great! I’ve always had a fascination with South America and have only been to Chile. Oh, and Mexico but this doesn’t count: it’s Central America.
Next, I received an e-mail from colleagues at another British Business School. It was an invitation to take part in another networking event in Mexico City at the end of February.
Having seen the topic I wrote a polite response; it was ‘no’.
Eventually, the organisers – whom I’d never met – convinced me to accept. I know; academics are vain and I’m no exception.
Just when I was wondering how I’m going to survive two return trips to South America within days of each other, another job turned up – in Rio.
This is how my big South American adventure took shape.
Last Sunday, I left for Mexico City.
Today, I arrived in Rio.
On March 3rd, I’ll be off to Sao Paolo.
On March 7th, I arrive back home.
Altogether two weeks of sun, noise, chaos, tiredness, jet lag and excitement punctuated by bouts of work.
Do I miss John, our son and Suzi the Dog?
You bet I do.
At the same time, I’ve set out to collect experiences.
Here is what I’ve done so far.
Novelty One: Lead an Academic Writing Workshop
Did you wonder how the guys organising the workshop in Mexico City got me to go?
They told me that the early career researchers attending the workshop don’t need more talk about sustainability, business models and innovation systems. They need something different!
‘Okay’- I said – ‘you want different? How about I talk about the things that innovation theory teaches us about the practice of academic publishing?’
They liked it.
This is how I ended up doing a seminar about academic writing with twenty-five academics: at different career stages and from different countries.
It worked. I know because people kept coming and telling me how much value the session contributed. This doesn’t happen often to academics, you know.
Novelty Two: Beef and Mole Poblano
Guys, you know how I am about chocolate, right.
Thing is that I didn’t try Mole Poblano during a previous visit to Mexico. So this time I was determined to have a taste.
I did have a taste. And my verdict is: interesting but a bit hot for my taste.
Novelty Three: Locked Out of My Own Suitcase
Yep, you heard right. This is the picture.
Guess seeing that my suitcase is so great and all, the Mexican ground staff decided they need to close it with a plastic lock.
Had to ask the hotel staff for a pair scissors to break in my own suitcase.
Novelty Four: I Feel Rested After a Fourteen Hour Trip
This is easy, really. If you wish to feel refreshed after a fourteen-hour trip travel during the night and fly Business.
Last night, I got on the plane in Atlanta, had a glass of wine and…woke up when we were landing in Rio.
Not bad for someone who doesn’t travel well.
Tomorrow I’m planning to go to the beach – my hotel is between Copacabana and Ipanema. Trouble is that the forecast is for rain.
Now it’s time to rest.
Have a great weekend, friends.