When I first started to go to conferences, I couldn’t see what people saw in them. I didn’t know anyone, I thought lots of the sessions were boring, and I found the whole thing overly stressful to deal with. Then I started making some friends who I would see at said conferences, and then started to figure out why people liked them.
Since then, I have added an aspect to going to conferences. I’ll go hang with my friend-colleagues (some of them having advanced to being full friends 🙂 ) most of the meals, but once in a while I’ll sneak off and have dinner by myself.
I did this tonight – Julie and I have been having a lot of fun around Amsterdam and Delft, but she went off to Rotterdam to talk with the workshop organizers about The Plan for tomorrow. I didn’t feel like going, so I let her at it, and took myself off for a wander around Delft. I ended up at the Beestenmarkt, where there were lots of people sitting out under the trees and having their dinners. The place I was aiming for (Dutch food) was closed, so I plopped myself down, ordered something off a Dutch menu that luckily turned out to be vegetarian, and thoroughly enjoyed myself, even if I started by reading over a paper for work. I even had dessert.