I Could Live Here, Yeah
One thing I like about traveling to academic conferences is that you really get to see how profs work and live. The campus tours are always nice, but even just the ride from the airport around the city gives you an idea of the local scene. Meeting Criminal Justice Prof was really nice, as was seeing his neighborhood. Seriously, if I could re-do my Blogging Across America, I would not meet my blog friends in random coffee shops or restaurants near their schools. Though that is nice, again, because you get a campus tour. But it's even better to see where and how academics live, and the local coffee shops and neighborhoods. It's a better picture of your potential future life.
Not that I don't appreciate tours of obvious landmark museums and cultural amenities, but for the most part, academics don't live in concert halls. They live in nice houses with exposed brick walls, two blocks away from great coffee shops--that serve Vietnamese Coffee! Bonus!!
It's also nice, at this non-stressful juncture when I can get away with asking questions that I might not try during AALS, to ask profs what they do in their abundant spare time. Everyone has different hobbies, but I'm excited about hiking trails and botanical gardens. I like regional arts scenes. I like tree-lined streets with brick houses.
Yeah, I could live here. I could imagine raising a family here. Of course, this is all moot, because when I go on the market I will wear a sandwich board with one side saying "Will Teach for Tenure" and the other "Have Feet, Will Travel." Of course, geographic flexibility means that I'd be happy to teach anywhere, including here.