Most of you know that my emotional response to various situations is usually delayed or muted, if I respond at all (in fact, several of you have been exceedingly frustrated at one time or another by this very trait). Travel is no exception. Even when I'm in some admittedly enviable locations, I've often caught myself treating it as "just another day." There are pros and cons to this - I often get to experience places somewhat differently than your typical photo-happy, experience-craving tourist - but that's a topic for a different post.
The reason I mention this is because today was a little different. I left my aunt's house in a bit of a rush this morning (for the record, I currently have even less stuff than I did when I left AK so packing in a hurry is even easier), and caught a bus to LAX. When I walked in the door of the international terminal I was suddenly very excited for the next leg of my adventure. Maybe it was brought on by seeing so many so many foreign travelers in one place. Or maybe it was just that all of the research and planning I've been doing for the past several weeks was finally being realized. And I'm sure part of it was knowing that I'll soon be immersed in cultures and languages so very different from anything in the Americas. And of course, I'm very eager to see my friends and relatives in distant places. ... Regardless of the precise cause, some magic formula of these things combined to bring forth one of those oh-so-rare-for-Thomas outward emotional responses: a giant smile! As I walked around looking for my ticket counter carrying my two small backpacks I was grinning from ear to ear. It's a shame none of you were there to see it! :D
I'm still in the airport, waiting for my flight. I'm still excited, but unfortunately I'm also still trying to rush through a few last tasks before boarding the 12 hour flight to Tokyo, so I'm going to have to keep this short. I'll have to write about my last couple weeks in Guatemala, the quick trip through Mexico, and my short time visiting friends and family here in California at a later date. Also, as always, I have more photos to share than I know what to do with; it's just a matter of picking out the good ones and getting them uploaded. Maybe I'll have time to do some of that during the flight.
On that note, if there's any topic or place in particular that you would like to hear about or see, please let me know, and I'll make sure I include it in my next post. It helps me filter out the interesting parts from the mundane details that I often think are interesting.
Hope you all are doing well. Stay in touch! Keep writing me emails and saying hi online when you can. Wish me luck in the Land of the Rising Sun!
(ps. also, the map linked at the top is current through San Diego.)