The curse of the traveler is that he is never done .As much as he has traveled , there are still more places that he wants to see and that he knows he will never get to. Besides , those places that he has visited : can he really say that he knows them ? I spent a week in Paris and it was wonderful , but there were many Paris attractions that I couldn’t visit and that I would have liked to.Also , places are completely transformed over the years ; Paris in 1977 was very different from the Paris of today.Again , when we visited London thirty years ago , we saw all the historical sites but The London Eye did not exist ; neither did Canary Wharf and all those trendy restaurants that I read about now. Still , I’ve seen many different countries , more than most , and I can’t complain .
In the U.S, I ‘ve ‘seen’ about half the 50 states , meaning I’ve stayed at least one night in each of them . I’ve lived in or made multiple visits to only five of them : New York , New Jersey , California , Massachusetts and Florida. Once again , this is more than most have done but I am not satisfied . The United States is a fascinating country and it has many, many interesting things to see . I am not hung up on the idea of history as being bound up with monarchs , palaces, bloody battles and ancient civilizations . I am interested in how this nation came together , how people in different parts of the country live and work , factories, food , natural beauty, local history and oddities. Since my time is limited and since an actual trip across the country would only enable me to scratch the surface of what I’d like to know , the best way to indulge my curiosity is to plan a virtual trip around the country. With the resources of the internet , maps ( I love maps !) and books I should be able to get a more complete picture of the country than I could otherwise.
How long will it take and where do I begin ?
Well , I’m not going to put everything on hold because of this armchair journey. I’m going to pursue my other interests and write about them even as I research the U.S. My goal is to ” complete ” one state once every two-three weeks on average and finish all fifty by the end of 2015. It will be difficult because I am easily distracted and go off in many directions but it will be an exercise in discipline to finish in time ( and to do a good job of it ).
As for a starting point , the temptation is to begin on one of the coasts but that would be a mistake . I am already familiar with New York and California and , besides, these are two of the most interesting states . If I were to start with California I might spend six months reading and writing about it . Same goes for Texas or Florida or Massachusetts or New York.Far better to start with states that I’ve never been to , am unlikely to ever visit in person and do not know much about. There are many of them but , after some thought , I’ve made my choice . It is a state which almost never makes the news , for any reason , good or bad. ( You can try and guess which one it is before my “journey” starts two weeks from now). After that , I will try to keep in the same geographical area though a certain amount of leapfrogging is inevitable. Some states will be covered in one or two posts but others will need many more. I’ll write of things that interest me about the state, a bit of its history , and sights I’d like to see if I were to actually travel through it.
It should be fun .