We’re spending a few days in Northern California, where I’m speaking at a social media conference. Since almost everything is closed today, we decided to head over to my alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.

It was c-c-c-old compared with sunny Orlando, and the boys didn’t much feel like exercising their right to free speech. Sproul Plaza, the de-facto stage for the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s, was all but abandoned on New Year’s Day. During class, this place is buzzing with activity.

Gee, I don’t remember the squirrels being this big 20 years ago. What did they feed them, growth hormones?

This is as close as we got to North Gate Hall, the site of the Graduate School of Journalism. Though I love my alma mater dearly and do my best to support it, I didn’t want to have to explain to my professors that I’d become — gasp! — a travel writer. Not in front of the kids.

(I’ll be back just as soon as I’ve won that Pulitzer.)

Stay tuned. We’ll have more from Oakland tomorrow on this blog and on National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog.