Monday, November 28, 2011

I've Now Been to All 50 States!

This post has been a quarter century in the making. As an adventure-seeking teenager, when my grandparents declared they'd seen all 50 states, I decided I'd see "50 by 50." I figured it was a good round number, shooting to lasso the U.S.A. by my half-century mark. I never would have guessed I'd cut that time frame in half, making it to 50 states at 25!

Two weekends ago I boarded a plane from Salt Lake City to Boston, just a quick bus/train ride to Rhode Island, my last state to see. My Ryan, bogged down with homework (drat that semester-end crunch!), wasn't able to join me, but lucky me he's so supportive of my big dreams.

A sampling of my USA postcard collection All Rights Reserved Crystalee Beck

On this quick weekend tour, I enjoyed the company of two brainy academics. Flying to Boston, I made acquaintance with a remarkable M.I.T. double-doctorate and we chatted the entire 33,000 feet journey, topics ranging from mountaineering, the value of simplicity, economics, and the changing social media scene. A true professor, he challenged my geography knowledge with a kicker trivia question, which took me a laughable USA sketch, one"poll a passenger," and 45 minutes to figure out:

Which states start with the same letter as their capital city?
(Can you guess them? Hint: 4 states fit this category - try not to cheat with a map! )

When I arrived in Boston, I hunted for the Amtrak train. I love the interwoven nature of the East Coast, easy-to-reach nearby states by public transportation. On a spontaneous whim, I bypassed the train, instead boarding a bus marked for "Providence," where I met my next new friend. The French physicist who sat by me was visiting the states for his bi-annual research meetings with his colleague at Brown University, in Providence, R.I. He was kind to tell me about the city and point out some of the main downtown buildings. Although a foreigner, he related to my states quest, as he'd once been an 18-year-old hitchhiker across the country.

Learned in my 50 states journey:
  • People, more than places, are true treasures. Everyone has a a unique, interesting story.
  • Our country boasts an incredible spread of cityscapes, landscapes, flora and fauna. This is one gorgeous nation.
  • There's always more to see, and although I can claim time in each state, it would take more than a lifetime to really know each state.
  • Having an overall plan, but going with the flow, makes trips (and life) more sweet
What now? I'm planning to write up vignettes of my 50 states journeys, and hopefully get an editorial article published. We'll see how that goes....


  1. Crystalee!!!! I love your blog! You're very good at what you do. (: Congratulations on your dream! And way to go on your next one! I've missed you. Hope your life is as good as it looks from here. I'd love to hear from you! Love you!

  2. Thanks, Maria! I miss you too, and it's great to hear from you! Thanks for the comment, my dear.

  3. Crystalee! Congratulations on your meeting your big goal! You've been working on that for a long time. Love you!

  4. Nice work. I bet a very very small percentage of people have ever done this.

  5. Thanks Josh. I feel blessed it's been a possibility at an early age. This year I met rad a pilot who's worked for a few companies, mostly military flying, and he's been to EVERY COUNTRY on the PLANET!! I pulled out a map, disbelieving him, and after a thorough "point and nod" session, he had me convinced. He's gotta be one of like 10 people EVER to have done that....I'm not shooting that big, but I'm happy to have the USA under my belt!

  6. Hey Crystalee, Congratulations! You were on a mission to get those 50 as I recall. Well done mate!

  7. Thank you Suresh! You're one of those people I met along the 50 states journey who just amaze me. So glad we had our insightful ORD-SLC chat. Keep rockin' in Chi-town!

  8. OMGosh gal you inspire me! I'll need to pick your brains and master your Technic of travel. Haven't mastered traveling and before I retire I want to achieve those same "bucket list" as you say under my belt. Thanks so much for your blog, photos and comments. See you in the crew room sometime and we'll chat.. SusiQ I'm Here For You! :0

  9. Congrats! Although I didn't know it was a "thing", I did 50 by 50. Alaska was the last one. Now I am trying to visit as many state capitals a I can. This week I was in Hartford, CT. It has a really beautiful Capitol building. I have about 20 more to go; I don't seriously expect to get to all 50. But you never know!

    1. Jerry, thanks for your note! Good for you making the rounds! Perhaps we'll bump into each other on your travels. All the best.