Our Quest for 50 States

Saint Augustine {Augustine of Hippo} is famously credited with the well-known travel quote “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”  Despite the large number of eye-roll inducing ‘art’ with this quote on Pinterest, the message is one that we embody and work to pass along to our children. While our plan is to send them off to college with a fully stamped passport, we also aim to have them enter adulthood having visited as many states as possible. Roughly only 14% of the population has visited all 50 states – Clay and I hope to become members of this exclusive club in the next few years with our children not too far behind in their quest.

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Travel within the United States is sometimes overlooked for more ‘worldly’ adventures. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely have dreams of visiting every continent and exploring a variety of foreign cultures, traditions, and monuments. The pages of my passport are begging for more stamps. But I have also learned so much just traveling within our country – there is a reason why it’s called the great melting pot. Not only does each region have a distinct flavor and attitude that deserves attention, but each state has their own rich history with hard-fought traditions and pride. Furthermore, there are some absolutely gorgeous sights in our country that will remind you how life is nothing short of amazing (check out CNN’s 50 States, 50 Spots: Natural Wonders).

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A sampling of our adventures – from Alaska to Maine – and places in between.

Travel is a luxury that demands money, time, and energy – resources that aren’t always the most abundant. While there are ways to travel that are less expensive (e.g. we drive more places than we fly), there are still sacrifices we make for the freedom of travel. We make a conscious effort to funnel our resources toward experiences rather than things and try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.

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Over the years, I’ve learned that I am happiest when I am exploring new places with people I love. Thankfully I am married to someone who feels the same way. And our children are exhibiting the same easygoing attitude that makes traveling a lot more fun (much to our relief). So here’s to visiting all 50 states – the purple mountain majesties, the amber waves of grain, and the fruited plain in-between the shining seas.

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16 thoughts on “Our Quest for 50 States

  1. Where did you make those maps? They are neat! 🙂 Living in Kansas last year wasn’t our favorite, but our kids got to see 23 states over the course of that 12 month period. We did a loooot of driving. I’m excited because in less than three weeks I’ll get to see Alaska for the first time!

    1. It does help being married to the military. My parents also made it a point to take us to as many states as possible when we were children, which I appreciate very much as an adult. 🙂

  2. Awesome! Now that we are back in the states, I hope to check many more states off my list as well. And to see more national parks 🙂

  3. Right on! There is sooo much to see and do and experience just inside the United States! We want to visit every national park. 🙂 Also, I must say, that my moving as a child (and to upstate New York as an adult) has helped mold and shape me like no other thing could.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I hadn’t really thought much on the idea on making sure to deliberately travel with our children, but I certainly do love the idea! We enjoy traveling so much now, I just assumed that we would continue with Baby E..but of course it might be a bit different than how we travel now 🙂

    I loved reading about your trip to Maine…I’ve really fallen in love with it lately. I’m pretty sure that next Summer we will be taking a family vacation back to that area!

    1. Oooooh tough call. I have too many favorites to choose from. But if I ‘had’ to choose, I’d say Alaska, even though we didn’t get to explore much beyond a 3 hour radius of Anchorage. I can’t wait to go back!

  5. I love that you find value in traveling around the United States! It’s such a beautiful country, with lots of nooks and crannies, cities and states, worthy to see and experience! We live overseas now, but got a chance to go back to the states this summer and get a nice reminder of why the US is such a great place to explore.

  6. YES! We had an “aha!” moment as we moved back from England, when we realized that, of course there is amazing stuff to see and do in the US. Our weekends were spent exploring teeny little historic sites in England that SEEMED cool because they were England, but really aren’t all that much more exciting or interesting than places we can visit in the States. Our perspective now is, if it’s someplace we’ve never visited, it’s worth seeing.

    And we have this dream of doing an RV tour of the National Parks when my husband retires. All this time sleeping on an air mattress and hanging out on the internet on a card table is preparing us for that 🙂

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