I leave on Monday for Washington, DC, a city engulfed in excitement for a historic Inauguration. Not only does it mark the first time that an African-American–indeed, something other than a white guy–is sworn in as President of the United States of America, but it also marks a sea change in what kind of man is running the free world. Gone is the empty ego, the ideological warrior, the shallow thoughts of George W Bush, and in is the quiet confidence, the steady and intellectual approach, the even-handed statesman, Barack Obama. I hope I’m not overselling this, but it’s hard not to feel really proud and eager as an American to see this change take place.

I’ve decided to forgo many of the traditional inauguration festivities – I’m not attending any balls, for instance. Instead, I’m hoping to spend some time with friends and colleagues, and in particular, soak in the radiance and hope from the public at large. In fact, I think that will actually be more inspiring than anything Obama says during his inaugural address, though I expect that to be first-rate as well. But there’s just something about standing in a crowd of hopeful, proud, and inspired Americans during such a historic moment.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is the weather. Nasty, bitter cold, I’m expecting, and as an Arizonan that refuses to spend time anywhere near such things as snow, rain, and ice, I’m woefully under prepared. Alas, I don’t even own shoes that don’t have mesh in the sidewalls. Even so, I’m looking forward to the trip, even if it means I’ll be couchsurfing a few nights, freezing my ass off, and then spending several days in planning meetings for work.

Washington, DC, here I come.