Traveling isn’t what it used to be, I think, holding my arms above my head for the full-body Smart Scan as I leave San Jose Airport, trying not to imagine someone seeing right through my underwear to all my vulnerable bits. Ten seconds never felt so long.

Yep. That's the feeling I had.

Some things are the same. Traveling can open perspective, give food for thought, and bring you in contact with interesting people (I said it CAN. I didn’t say it WILL).  On the way to the airport in the big shuttle van, I met a woman going on an artist residency program to “get back to the mud” (her fine art landscape painting) for a month-long retreat. She’s a digital artist for Pixar studios and said, “We miss Steve. The rest of the world thinks of him as an icon, but we just miss Steve.”

Dang. Different persepective, that quickly.

I took a lot of pictures of stuff I don't see at home, like California poppies.

I told her about Maui’s thriving art scene. Exchanged cards. And then said goodbye, in the fleeting way of strangers on the way to the airport. Seatmate on the plane was a woman who plays Words with Friends and reads mysteries on her iPad. New friend, that easily.

We thought this "lost sweater" poster, all over town, was cute.

There was a lot of food for thought on this trip. Unexpected trips down memory lane, in a place I’d never been before. Blisters on my feet from walking from Menlo Park to Stanford and back behind my energetic twentysomething children, who’ve become too stylish for Hawaii anymore. (I have made no such adaptation.)

We aren't in Kansas (aka Maui) anymore!

And in the midst of all that, I got what I came for: an outline and opening chapters on the newest Lei crime novel, a good look at my daughter’s scientist life at Stanford (details of which I’m gathering for another novel) and lots of hugs from my son.

It's seven miles of campus. We were often lost.

And it’s okay that my feet, not used to wearing shoes all the time, are longing for the warm sandy beaches of home. Traveling reminds me that, for all its charms, Maui no ka oi! (Maui is the best)

They don't have sunsets like this in Palo Alto. The changing leaves were nice, though!

What do you love about traveling, and what do you love about going home?

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