40 for 39


At the age of 38, I realized that I had been to 39 states and 38 countries and territories, and that felt pretty neat. Because I like finding arbitrary ways to make my life needlessly challenging, I decided I would always try to keep my state and my country counts at or ahead of my years-on-earth count.

In September I went to Idaho for the first time, sliding into 40 states one month ahead of my 39th birthday. Last March I went to Vietnam and Hong Kong, which I thought brought me to 40, until I realized I could count Vatican City and Palestine and be all the way up to 42.

In January I’ll be visiting Togo and Ghana for the first time, which means I will be relatively safe in the countries department for awhile. However, I’m already a little anxious about how I’m going to rack up state number 41. I’m overdue for a visit to Missouri to see my friends, Ryan and Tom (hi!!!), and that’s probably what I’ll do. But I keep thinking I should knock out Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and Kentucky in one fell road trip swoop and you know it’ll take me like ten years to execute on that plan. I could more easily go to Georgia, the only state on the eastern seaboard I haven’t technically visited, but I have grand plans for that state, too. When it comes down to it, I have grand plans for everywhere I want to go, so I either need to start spending more time and money on vacations or become more at peace with breaking them up into little bite sized chunks. I’m not sure which option is less improbable.