All around the world…

I was expecting to be in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday (virtually) but that was been adjourned by consent. Tomorrow I will be in Auckland in New Zealand (virtually) talking at Brightstar’s conference Building and Construction Regulation and Law about (surprise surprise) Extra-Contractual Recoveries. Meanwhile, I have accepted an invitation from the indefatigable Arran Dowling-Hussey to give the keynote speech at the Society of Construction Law Ireland conference in November in Dublin (virtually), which sounds fun, and which might be even more fun if I’m able to get there in person.

It is hard not to have mixed feelings about this brave new world of virtual appearances. I used to spend a lot of time on aeroplanes, and to some extent of course it was wasteful to the point of absurdity (more than once, I have been asked to fly a thousand miles for a directions hearing). But there is something about being there in person which is missing from the virtual thing.

And from a selfish point of view, looking back, I think my trips around the world for work purposes are more vivid memories than those of mere overseas holidays. I remember being threatened by young men with machetes in sub-Saharan Africa, being propositioned by prostitutes and the weirdness of government negotiators in Moscow, the staggering noise of pumping stations in Sudan, the beggars and the hypocrisy about alcohol in Pakistan, the warmth of the welcome from American construction lawyers in Florida, the width of discussion about historical events on a hotel rooftop one evening in São Paulo, the labyrinthine intricacies of business operations in Barcelona, the clinical precision of steelwork manufacture in a factory in Stuttgart, the guns and those who carried them in Beirut and a whole load more.

I would not have missed it for the world.

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