In my mind, travel is one of life’s absolutely top luxuries and one of the things I am most looking forward to flexing on in early retirement. I love getting off a plane and immersing ourselves in a new city or destination. I even love the parts of travel that other people hate – planning, packing & airports. Most of all I love the education that comes from travel and seeing the world through another’s eyes.
An article from The Atlantic affirms the notion that “Waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good.” This idea was studied and published a few years ago with the conclusion that it is better to invest in experiences than in material possessions. I couldn’t agree with that more.
One of the quests that I have been on is “collecting” the 50 United States. My wife’s grandfather got me thinking about visiting all 50 – it was one of the life accomplishments he was very proud to share with people. So far, I have been to 47 of the 50, having traveled a fair amount in my career (and having some control over where I’ve traveled) has helped. A few years ago for my birthday I told my wife that my goal was to reach “50 by 50”. Since then, we took a trip along the gulf coast to reach Alabama & Mississippi and another trip through the New England states (including lobster in Maine).
The three I have remaining are shown on this map from the allfiftyclub.com:
My plan is to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park next year, which is close to the border of both Idaho & Wyoming. Nebraska is a weekend trip away from where we live, so that should be a relatively easy one.
Some people fret over “what counts” as a visit to a State. This is usually the first question that people have after you start talking about visiting all 50 (after they ask if you’ve gotten to Alaska & Hawaii).
An article in CNN notes that “Those who are truly passionate about making it to all 50 states often have their own criteria for crossing them off the list, from a hard-core requirement of staying in a state for more than a month to simply hopping out of the car to snap a picture at the border.” One avid traveler quoted in the article has defined it with 4 criteria: spending at least one full hour in the state, during the day, be outdoors at least part of the time, and airport property (layover) doesn’t count. By that definition, I am good on all of my 47.
What will I do when I get to the fiftieth state? Have a Big Mac, of course. Strangely enough, I have never had a Big Mac at McDonald’s in my entire life. I’ve always tended to have just a plain cheeseburger or chicken sandwich instead. My son is anxious for me to correct this apparent cultural shortcoming, but it will have to wait for state #50.
How many states have you collected? Provinces? Countries?
Image Credits: Pixabay; AllFiftyClub.com