So here we are, at the Marriott Residence Inn right outside Los Angeles International Airport. Tomorrow, we board a plane to Hawaii, and I will finally complete a journey I started about 12 years ago.
Tomorrow, assuming all goes well, I will finally set foot on my 50th state, which happens to be the 50th state admitted to the United States. Five years after reaching Alaska with Ariel, which was my 49th state (coincidentally the 49th state admitted to the Union), we, along with Jacob, and my father, are headed to Hawaii.
I’m pretty excited. Hitting all 50 states has really been a primary goal of mine, arguably the most tangible part of my main quest. When I set off on my epic road trip in 2010, I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach all 50 states because of timing issues. So I aimed for as many as I could (that I hadn’t been to), and try to ensure that the ones I didn’t make it to, would be highly likely to warrant a visit at some point in the future. I managed to touch 34 states in 6 weeks, along with the states I had already visited previously, it left me with just New Hampshire, Maine, Washington, Iowa, Minnesota, Alaska, and Hawaii.
New Hampshire and Maine I crossed off the list with Ariel the following summer on our first road trip together after we’d been dating for just a few months. We went to Washington the year after that on an epic 9 day, 2,999 mile road trip, that started in Seattle, and went through Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper, Banff, and Glacier National parks. It was on that trip that I realized I wanted to move in with her (which basically meant I wanted to marry her). Iowa and Minnesota I did on my own in 2017 while she went to a friend’s bachelorette party. And just a few days later we went on an Alaska cruise as a “babymoon.”
That was it for almost five years. Now we have the baby, who is actually 4 years old and part of this journey. Years ago when I started writing this blog, I wrote about how things were going to change, as I knew fatherhood was coming, and with it many new responsibilities and limitations, especially on travel. Who even knew if we would ever be able to do this kind of thing ever again? But we are very lucky that our son loves seeing new places, and is really a champ when it comes to road trips. I’d like to think it’s because we got him started pretty early, but who knows really. I’m very lucky.
We had actually been on the verge of booking this trip over two years ago, right before Covid hit. I wasn’t sure this was ever going to happen. But here we are. A lifetime of adventure travel has led up to this moment. I’ve grown so much as a person, and have had so many life milestones happen on these trips.
And not to mention – it’s Hawaii! Even before I started roaming the Earth it had been a dream to go to this place. It wasn’t as high up on my list as New Zealand (which I also never really thought would happen), but my father and I were pretty huge LOST fans before the show went off the rails, and we have been talking about going there together for close to 20 years now. Well, he’s coming too.
I have a lot of thoughts right now, and will probably have a lot more after we get there. And even more if we’re able to do even half of the amazing things we have planned. It’s almost like I’m about to go fight the last boss in a video game and finish it once and for all – but I keep finding other stuff to do because I don’t want it to end. But I have a flight to catch in the morning and so I’m going to call it an early night to try and get some rest.
Here we go.