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I few years ago I bumped paths with a trucker and we got talking about travel and how he had been to all 50 of the United States of America. Now that may or may not sound impressive to you, but to me, it was something I instantly wanted to accomplish. I started thinking about how the United States had one of, if not THE most diverse set of landscapes anywhere in the world, all accessible without a passport. Alaska, Texas, the Florida Keys, the Nevada Desert, the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Coast, New England, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, Hawaii. There is nowhere else in the world were you can visit that array of landscapes coupled with the culture and people that come along with it, and it’s all right out our front doors ready to be seen.
“It’s easy to forget how big the United States of America is; the third largest country in the world just under Canada and Russia.”
Just the logistics of trying to plan trips to all 50 states is enough to make it seem impossible let alone trying to do it by the time I’m 50. It’s easy to forget how big the United States of America is; the third largest country in the world just under Canada and Russia. Time is the other factor. If you were to visit one state every year from the day you were born, it would take you until you were 50 years old, so since we only have so many holidays we can take per year, visiting multiple states per year to achieve this goal is a commitment.
I have a map in my office that is a constant reminder of my goal. This year I turn 34 which also marks the half way point of 25 states with my upcoming trips to Texas, Utah, Kentucky and New Mexico. One of the problems I never foresaw was what do I do about all the states I really don’t give a shit about? Nebraska, Kansas, Delaware, Iowa? What am I going to do in Iowa? Spending money to travel to places I have no real interest in was another road block I didn’t plan on having to confront; then I found away around it, add a trip within a trip.
This August my wife and I are traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada. New Mexico and Utah have never been on my radar to travel to solely, but when I stumbled upon an $89 flight from LAS to Albuquerque on Southwest I said “why not?” After a little research and discovering Albuquerque had a lot to offer and Santa Fe was only an hours drive away, I decided to tack on three extra days to our trip and visit New Mexico. What to do about Utah? Well, it turns out Zion Nation Park in Utah was also only a three hour drives from Las Vegas and one of the best National Parks in the country. Since we will already have a car while in Las Vegas we will spend a whole day there as well. adding side trips into a main trip not only makes your travel even more adventurous, but it also makes achieving a goal as grand as this one more accessible.
So incase you were wondering what States I HAVE been to, here is the list so far in absolutely no particular order:
- North Dakota
- New York
- Kentucky (May 2014)
- Utah (August 2014)
- New Mexico (August 2014)
So what do I do about the other 50 States? Next fall my wife and I are planning to fly into Washington D.C. and from there spend two weeks seeing the entire New England area and upper east coast. The best part about the upper east coast is that each major city is only a few hours from the next, which makes getting to them particularly easy once you’re already there.
“It will be the trip of a life time.”
We start our trip off in Washington D.C., Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennslyvania; Arlington, Virginia and Delaware. After that we head to Atlantic City, New Jersey and NYC for a few days. Then, New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; Maine, Manchester, New Hampshire and Vermont. It will be the trip of a life time and I really cannot wait to meet the people, see the sites and experience life in the upper east coast.
I’m not sure If I’ll ever reach my goal of seeing all 50 States by the time I’m 50 years old, but I damn well am gonna try. I’ve always encouraged people to travel because there is something about being out of your element; meeting new people, trying new food and seeing and experiencing new things. The United States has a lot to offer with it’s people, it’s beauty and it’s history and culture.
I’ve always said I’m saving Alaska and Hawaii as my last two. Alaska will be number 49. There are some incredible cruises you can take up to Alaska from Seattle which I think would be an incredible experience. Hawaii will be my last state. Why you ask? Because it’s Hawaii, what better way to go out.
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