In a couple of weeks I fly to Melbourne for VALA, a conference in person. The 2020 conference was my last major face-to-face conference prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with lockdowns declared a few weeks later. I did manage to make it to Shellharbour a few weeks ago for GLAMawarra and that was my first in-person conference thang since the last VALA. In fact VALA 2022 was supposed to be first but it was postponed from February to June amid concerns of further COVID breakouts.
This will be my first time out of the state in nearly two and a half years and my first time in a plane since then. This will be the most time I’ll spend with folk other than my family. A few days and evenings of people from Melbourne and other parts of the country…not sure where my comfort zone is these days. I know I’m looking forward to it and VALA has always been something of a professional touchstone for me. At the same time. I know I will need to manage my contact time carefully so I’m not too overwhelmed.
Attendance numbers are unclear though well down on past years…not unsurprisingly. This conference will be a hybrid of in-person and online. The delegate list isn’t clear as to who will be attending physically or just virtually. I’m starting to wonder if vendors will outnumber delegates though it’s good to see the commercial support. There are plenty of speakers who will be there but there’s also a bunch of presentations that will be online only. I haven’t got it in my head yet how to be in both spaces. I guess I may well be able to catch some of the online presentations later. I’m keen too, not to conference online, but focus on the physical presentations, and hanging with colleagues.
I am hoping this will be a practice run for more travelling. I have been cautious of booking things and I had a trip to Tassie booked last August that I had to cancel due to another lockdown. I registered for VALA last year but work didn’t book flights or accommodation initially. Turned out that was a good plan so those could be booked fresh a few weeks ago.