The Personal Blog of Stephen Sekula

Travelogue: From Sudbury to Modane (and back again)

This week will be something of an intense travel exercise. I am off to a 2-day workshop at the Modane Underground Laboratory on the border of France and Italy. To get there, I leave on a flight (today) from Toronto to Paris, connecting through New York. This puts me into Paris in the early morning on Tuesday, leaving me plenty of time to catch a high-speed TGV train in the late morning. That will get me to southern France, where I will use regional rail to get to Modane.

This will be my most travel-intense work trip in a while. I used to regularly fly from Dallas to Paris (direct) and then catch a TGV to Geneva. I preferred that to connecting to Geneva through London, as I am a fan of rail travel and the price difference was insignificant (this mode got me into Geneva a little later, typically, than just flying, but as I was usually non-functional the first day at CERN due to jet lag my preference was to arrive as LATE as possible so I could just wind down and go to bed). However, this week is the first time in a while I will spend more time traveling than being physically at my destination.

The trip actually began yesterday, when I drove from Sudbury to Toronto. I stayed in a hotel near the Pearson Airport, where I am currently writing this little post. My flight to New York leaves in four hours. I return to Canada on Friday, in what will be the most difficult travel day of the trip: a train back to the closest large station in southern France, a TGV ride to Paris, and an evening flight to Washington D.C. where I will connect to Toronto, getting me back here at midnight local time. Whew.

I am legitimately excited about the workshop itself. It will be a great opportunity to share the multidisciplinary activities ongoing or planned at SNOLAB. I am eager to learn from other labs and bring that information back to SNOLAB.

My first intercontinental trip since March, 2020 was just 2 months ago (the TAUP conference in Vienna). This trip marks quite an escalation in skill level from that trip, and I hope I hold up (sleep is my largest concern). I could have stayed longer in France, I suppose, but with all the travel since the summer began I am pretty homesick these days. I seem to see home is short bursts of days before having to leave for somewhere else. After this trip, work travel quiets down quite a bit until next summer. I figure I have one last trip left in me for this year, and I might as well get it done!