Now that I actually have some results from my new lab to talk about, I have been planning more academic and conference travel. I have a love/hate relationship to traveling. I always come back bursting with research ideas and excited about my work, but as an introvert, I find it HUGELY draining to network and socialize with strangers. The work piles up while I am gone, but I also find out about the things that no one publishes (like all the things that didn't work in a recent publication). It is both really fun and really exhausting to talk science all day long. I actually find small meetings much less initimidating than large ones, even though they can sometimes be cliquish. Now that I am starting up my own lab, I am attending meetings that are new to me, and I don't know many people there. This is a blessing and a curse, because I can't hide out with friends and colleagues.
I was talking to a grad student recently (not one of mine), and I mentioned that I needed to go out and spread the word. The student was really surprised, and said "Can't you just publish it and only go if you really want to?" I was like "No, I need to actually talk to other people who are potential collaborators and more importantly, get people to see how cool my stuff is so they have context when they review my proposals and they think of me when it comes time to invite speakers." I understand where that student was coming from, though, because I used to think the same way. It never occurred to me until I had to recommend seminar speakers myself that people make these lists out of who comes to mind when they are preparing the speaker list, not from looking at journal tables of content.