Trip number 2 of my autumn of travel begins tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. I'm headed with several of my colleagues and students to the National Collegiate Honors Council annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.
It will be my first trip to Phoenix, and possibly my first visit to Arizona (my parents might be able to confirm whether we ever passed through any part of the state on any of our family trips). The location of this year's conference is not without controversy; a lot of academic groups are boycotting the state because of their immigration law. Having been on the planning and financial side of these operations, though, I know that contracts made years ago are not easily broken, and that organizations without huge cash reserves to absorb penalties for doing so have few choices.
The weirdest thing about this trip is the weather difference. We just entered our biggest shot of autumn to date, with nighttime temperatures near freezing, and jackets and sweaters necessary in the day. When I leave tomorrow morning before the sun comes up, I'll need to bundle up, but none of those layers will be useful in the slightest for the next five days.
We have lots of work to do at the conference; personally, I have a committee meeting to attend, a presentation to give, and a post-conference workshop to lead. There will also be some parties, some dinners, some networking, and a lot of time to catch up on classwork. As soon as I get back, I'll be focused on finishing my third major conference presentation of the semester, which is due to the respondent less than two weeks after my return. The merry-go-round won't stop until that final trip of the year, to the American Academy of Religion annual meeting in San Francisco, is over.