A big part of my blog is focusing on achieving your dreams. Right now my main dream is to be debt free, which has been the primary focus of my blog since I started it some months ago. Although being debt free is my current dream, there will be a day when I schedule that final student loan payment and my next question will be – what do I want to accomplish next? Although personal finance is, and will continue to be a recurring topic I want to talk about, it is not the sole purpose of my blog. I want to encourage anyone who has a goal or a dream to try everything in their power to achieve it.
I currently have a small list of what dreams I want to work towards in the future, but most of those dreams are broad. It wasn’t until this past week when I took a vacation to Holland, Michigan that I started to narrow in on one of the dreams on my list – travel.
As I looked around at the dunes that covered the ground walking from our beach house to the lake, I found myself thinking about how excited I was to visit a state I had never been to before, how different Michigan was from Missouri. I found myself thinking about a dream that I had many years before that I had buried in my mind under “maybe one day.” That dream was to visit all 50 states.
This dream first started back when I was in the 6th grade. I remember being in the library at my middle school and hearing our librarian say “I’ve visited all but 2 states.” I do not recall if she was speaking to me or if I just overheard her comment in passing, but I remember thinking how awesome that was. It blew my 11 year old mind. I had never heard anyone say up until then, or since then, that they have visited all 50 states.
Every time I went on vacation since then I thought of that idea and my librarian’s comment. It used to be just a thought, “I get to cross “x” state off my list,” but it was never really more than that. I loved the idea, but had no real plan to execute it – until recently. Sitting by the water, thinking about future dreams, how this time next year I’ll be debt free and how excited I was to be in Michigan, I decided it was time to make my broad dream of traveling into a more narrowed down, specific, doable dream.
While still on vacation in Michigan, jmr and I decided in October we were going to take a long weekend to Minnesota, driving through (and spending time in) Iowa on the way. That will cross off two states we both haven’t been to. I love the idea that taking weekend trips over the course of the year(s) can help us cross states off our list, but can also help keep the cost of vacations down.
Jmr and I previously planned a vacation next year, in late summer, early fall, to take a trip to Cancun, Mexico to celebrate paying off my debt, but after talking over this new dream, we decided to change the vacation to a road trip to New York, along the way visiting Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and finally ending up in New York. Having a new dream, while working on my current dream of becoming debt free, helps me keep focused and to keep wanting to move forward.
The definition of what is considered “visiting a state” is totally up to you and varies by person. For some it may be simply heading through an airport, while others may think you have to go specifically on vacation there to constitute claiming you visited a state.
I personally decided to follow the philosophy if we have spent some time in a state, outside of the airport or just driving through it in a car, and spent some time/money there, it is worthy of us claiming that we have visited there, even if you just stop to have lunch.
The reasoning for our definition of what is considered visiting a state is – some states you may not have any interest in taking a vacation to. It also allows you to easily visit multiple states in one vacation if they are close by.
As of this date, I have visited the following states:
- South Carolina
There isn’t a timeline to this dream, but with 32 states left to go I am excited to see where this dream takes me and how many upcoming trips I’ll have to look forward to in the future.
Any recommendations on places to visit? What states have you visited?