We’re in the home stretch of our travels now, and it feels like we could continue like this for months. Ben is up to 13 junior ranger badges and is should get a few more before he is done (Death Valley today). Every once in a while it hits us that we will be in China in less than two weeks. Having a little big adventure before the big big adventure has been a really wonderful thing. It anchors us here and also makes it easier to go away. It also gets us used to holding together as a family, reinforcing the tight unit we already were and that we need to be for the big move.
In this last part of the trip, we have been in the Southwest, visiting both places Andy and I have been and loved before and new places, as well as seeing more family — my aunt and uncle in their beautiful self-built home high in the mountains of Colorado, my sister/friend Tanya and her family in Phoenix.
We will leave from Berkeley, where Andy and I have lived longer than anywhere else, but Ben has not yet visited, after visiting Yosemite, a favorite place where I was taken first when I was a very little baby.
We are reminding ourselves of where we started from and where we are going with two figures who watch us from the dashboard — bobble-head Einstein, for the Institute, and Professor Fluffy, for XJTLU.