Sep 01

Travel & Visit 50 States

by in Travel

When I was trying to come up with my 45 things, I looked at a lot of other people’s bucket lists online. Invariably, traveling is on almost every list. Judging by this, it seems that everyone has this desire to explore the world. However, I have met plenty of people in real life who have absolutely no desire to travel. So what’s the deal?

One explanation could be the people who make these life lists tend to be more outwardly curious, and have needs to be satisfied, which includes visiting places they have never been to, and experiencing cultures that are foreign to them. On the other hand, people who have no interest in traveling, I suspect, don’t have the need to make these life lists. They are more likely to be content with where they are, geographically and perhaps even in life. Of course, it’s a generalization. What kind of person are you?

As long as I can remember, traveling has always been a major part of my life. Growing up in Hong Kong, international travel was a common practice. In fact, since the city is so small and crowded, it would be difficult to travel “domestically”.  I remember going to Japan, Korea, and Europe when I was very young. Then I moved to England for high school, and San Francisco for college. And I haven’t stopped traveling since.

I must confess I had very little interest in exploring America, as humongous a country as it is. My early U.S. living consists of living in San Francisco for about 7 years (which at the time I thought was a bit too small), and then New York (which I loved) for another year or so.  I didn’t know much about the rest of the country. Like many people from either coasts, I had a certain degree of snobbery towards the “flyover states”, which basically means the rest of the country. And like many people from places like Hong Kong, any place that is not, well, crazy and overloaded with people and stuff is not even worth thinking about.

Then I became a U.S. citizen in 2007. And I moved to Texas. Suddenly, I got a taste of the America that I didn’t know before. Later on, I lived in Florida, and Maine, and now I am in Kansas. I suppose after living in states with such different cultures  makes me want to see more. As a result, I set a goal to visit all 50 states of America.

My criteria for a “visit” is to do something meaningful or something that you could only do there. For example, eating at local restaurant, or staying at a local hotel, or running a marathon… you get the idea. Driving through doesn’t count, nor does an airport layover.

Places I have been to:


View 50 States (as of June 7th, 2012) in a larger map

So far, I have been to 34 states. The ones I have to visit in the next 5 years are:

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

I am particularly looking forward to visiting Alaska. It will be hard to get to for sure, and probably quite expensive too. Apparently, there is a city in Alaska called North Pole. Unsurprisingly, “prior to Christmas each year, the post office in North Pole receives hundreds of thousands of letters to Santa Claus, and thousands more from people wanting the town’s postmark on their Christmas greeting cards to their families”. It would be interesting to visit “North Pole” during Christmas. 🙂 What are some of the states or cities in the U.S. that you’d like to visit?

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6 Responses to “Travel & Visit 50 States”

  1. From Char Newcomb:

    I’ve been to all but: Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, Connecticut, Rhode Island and West Virginia. Some of my visits were drive-throughs that included eating at a restaurant along the way. Does that count? 🙂

    Posted on September 2, 2012 at 1:29 am #
  2. From Leo:

    Oh yeah, Char, as long as you dine at local (non-national chain) restaurants, they count!

    North Dakota is another difficult one. 🙂

    Posted on September 2, 2012 at 5:07 am #
  3. From Antoinette:

    Wow! You two are way ahead of me. There are 27 states left for me to visit. The coast of Maine is surely near the top of my list, and when I get there I may need to ….ahem…change from a vegetarian to a pescetarian for my stay. LOBSTER!!

    When the kids were young we used to vacation in rustic cabins (no running water, etc) in West Virginia. Loved it!! I’d like to do the same in Montana, Wyoming, AND Alaska sometime soon.

    Leo – I will be watching and traveling and eating along the virtual highway with you as you travel the real deal!

    Posted on September 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm #
    • From Leo:

      @Antoinette When I lived in Maine, I think I only had lobster once. I’d love to go back and have a lobster feast!

      Posted on September 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm #
  4. From Jen:

    I love the idea of your blog! And I, too, am a fellow wanderluster. I haven’t been to all 50 states either, but I do feel lucky for having visited our capital in DC — something not every American is able to do. But I would argue that “driving through” would sometimes count — road trips can be fun, if the point is the journey, of course. My husband, Sam, had lots of fun slowly driving from Texas to Oregon — yay, come see us in Portland, Oregon whenever that comes up on your list! — stopping off different places. He even happened upon the anniversary celebration of the Union & Pacific Railroads coming together while going through Utah. 🙂

    Posted on September 4, 2012 at 12:32 am #
    • From Leo:

      @Jen Thank you!

      That’s a good point regarding driving through states. Seeing and experiencing the scenery or landscapes unique to the states certainly should be counted. Happening upon something like that Union & Pacific Railroads anniversary is what traveling is all about! 🙂

      Oh, Portland, OR is high on my list. I have heard so many good things about the city!

      Posted on September 4, 2012 at 12:54 am #

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