WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2011 -- One hundred and eight newly-elected members of Congress from across the country converge on Capitol Hill this week, opening their offices, taking the oath, and assuming seats in their respective legislative chambers.
In the process, members of the freshman class leave behind an ecclectic mix of former day jobs -- and many of the comforts of home in their districts. So what's it like starting a new life in Washington?
ABC News partnered with a handful of members, Republicans and Democrats, to document their journeys and the emotional moments along the way. Here's a glimpse from inside the operations of several incoming members and their paths to power:
Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta
Frank Guinta, 40, is among the youngest newcomers to Congress. The former New Hampshire state rep and mayor of Manchester ousted two-term incumbent Carol Shea-Porter in November. He's promising to get tough on spending and has proposed more than 50 cuts to federal programs, from privatizing Amtrak to imposing a ban on earmarks.
But first, Guinta has had to juggle logistics surrounding a big move to the nation's capital, spending hours over the holidays packing up boxes and preparing to split time between two cities.
"I'm helping my dad get ready to go to Washington, D.C.," Guitna's daughter said, seated at his old desk. "This is my dad's whole office in Manchester, New Hampshire."
Sen. Chris Coons
Chris Coons, 47, was officially sworn in as the newest Democratic U.S. Senator from Delaware on Nov. 15. But with the official start of the new Congress, the former county executive who defeated Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell in the general election is likely to weild new influence as a member of the Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees.
Coons says one of the best perks of representing Delaware is close proximity to Washington. "I love riding the train, and I always meet new people," he said. "I get to come home most nights and be with my family."
But ask his daugher, Maggie, what most excites her about having a U.S. Senator as a dad, and she says its "this thingy that writes his name."
"It's called an autopen," whispered Coons.
Rep.-Elect Paul Gosar
Paul Gosar, 52, rides a wave of Tea Party support and an endorsement as a Republican "young gun" on his arrival in Washington from Arizona. Gosar, who was a dentist for 25 years, sold his practice to pursue politics. He says he's ready to take aim at wasteful government spending and do his part to repeal the health care reform law.
Over the holidays, the Gosar family left its snowy Arizona home, headed to Washington, D.C., and settled in to life in an apartment. Gosar gave ABC News a tour of the new place while his wife and children were sleeping.
Rep.-Elect Jaime Herrera Beutler
Voters in Washington State's third district chose Republican Jaime Herrera, 32, to represent them in the House. But Herrera belatedly took her husband's last name, Beutler, on the eve of her trip to Washington. The former state rep and senior legislative aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will sit on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Small Business Committees.
With cameras rolling, Herrera Beutler went on a cold, snowy road trip through 10 states over four days, ending her journey in Washington, D.C.
"It was kind of a blur," she said of the trek. "We're excited, though. I'm heading into the office for the very first day."
Rep.-Elect Bobby Schilling
Bobby Schilling, 46, is Congress' new pizza man. The former Moline, Ill., pizza parlor owner is a political newcomer, defeating his district's Democratic incumbent on a promise to shake up the way Washington does business. He's joined the GOP campaign to repeal President Obama's health care law, impose cuts to government spending and return to Constitutional principles.
Schilling told ABC News he wants to retain his outsider status by refusing a congressional pension in addition the health care coverage that members of Congress are entitled to receive.
ABC News' Gregory Simmons and John Parkinson contributed to this report.