In just 3 weeks Oliver and I are flying to Europe together.
For the past 20 years, most years, I have flown around the world to academic conferences or to visit my collaborators at their universities. These trips have taken me all throughout the USA and Canada, to the UK many times, to France, Spain and Sweden, to New Zealand and to Norfolk Island. I am lucky to have had such great opportunities to see the world.
This June, for the first time ever, Oliver is coming with me. He has never been overseas and I have never taken a family member on the conference circuit before. So something new and exciting for both of us.
I am looking forward to sharing one of my favourite cities with him: London. We will be in London for 4 1/2 days, visiting with Professor Martin Conway at City University London. Martin is an expert on autobiographical memory and does some very cool work advising law courts and legal practitioners about the reliability of memory. He also collaborates with artists and actors exploring the nature of remembering.
I have visited London maybe 10 times and have some favourite places to take Oliver: the British Museum to see the Egyptian collection, a river boat cruise on the Thames, and Hamley’s Toy Shop in Regent Street. We also plan to visit places I have never seen, such as The Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Legoland Windsor, the Churchill War Rooms and Chelsea Football Stadium. And of course we’ll ride the Underground and some red double-decker buses.
Our next stop is Aarhus in Denmark, where we will be for a week. I have not been to Denmark but my friend and colleague, Celia, lived and worked there for a year. She said it is wonderful. I have been invited to a specialist memory conference at Con Amore — the Centre on Autobiographical Memory Research — an international centre of excellence for memory research. Quite a few members of my Macquarie University Memory team will present at the conference also. Oliver and I have been invited to a reception at Town Hall where we hope to meet the Mayor of Aarhus. After the conference Oliver and I plan to go to the original Legoland!
Our final stop is Rotterdam in The Netherlands where we will be for 4 1/2 days. We will fly from Aarhus to Copenhagen, then Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then take a train to Rotterdam. Again, I have never been to The Netherlands. We are there for the 10th Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. Almost all of our Macquarie Memory team will be there: Adam, Aline, Amanda, Doris, John, Misia, Penny, Rochelle, as well as good friends and collaborators, such as Suparna Rajaram from Stony Brook University, New York. I am giving a short paper in a pre-conference workshop on Social Aspects of Memory, and chairing and presenting in a symposium on social scaffolding of memory in the main program. I’m looking forward to seeing lots of my research friends from around the world. During the conference, Oliver will explore Rotterdam with the fabulous Nina McIlwain.
We then will head home. We are flying to Europe and back on some really big planes (the new, A380-800 from Sydney to London and back) and some really little ones (from Aarhus to Copenhagen). Oliver is looking forward to the inflight entertainment system, but I will let him write about that.
It should be an amazing trip. Two weeks, just Oliver and I and a whole new world.