Update on my Crazy Idea

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In July, I posted about my crazy idea: I want to spend a year traveling to different parts of the USA, spending a month in each location.

Yes, that’s still happening. Currently, I’m planning to leave Oregon on September 15, which is shockingly SOON.

At first I was super organized with the plan. I kept track of everyone who invited me to their area, and replied promptly to their emails, and tried to sketch out a travel schedule that would allow me to spend no more than 10-ish hours driving between locations. And would also allow me to visit locations on weekends even if I couldn’t stay there for a month. I sorta wanted to include everybody, because I was so thankful to all the people who were offering to let me stay in their area.

I was looking to stay in about 8 or 9 locations, since I’d like to return to Oregon in the summer. I initially received about 15 legitimate invitations, and a few more dubious ones. I carefully crafted a plan. But then a few wrenches got thrown in. Like…

  1. More people emailed me offers to let me stay in their area
  2. I decided that my initial plan was too focused on the South, and I wanted to spread it out a bit more
  3. My sister offered to help me drive my car east, and then fly home, which was WAY more doable than trying to drive myself, but messed up the schedule I’d made
  4. I didn’t know if I’d for sure have enough money to stay in some of the places I wanted to stay, like DC
  5. Etc

I subsequently modified my expectations. I’m not going to plan out a whole year. I’m going to plan out three months at a time. If I want to spend time in your area, I will contact you at least three months ahead of time to make arrangements.


So here is my current plan:

Leave Oregon on September 15, with my sister Amy. Drive east. Spend some time hanging out with friends in Kansas and Texas. Then she’ll fly home in time to start fall term of college, and I’ll be dropped off in Tennessee.

End of September, most of October: Paris, Tennessee.

End of October, most of November: Holmes county, Ohio.

That’s all I’ve planned so far.

A note about Holmes county: Carita, who invited me there, mentioned in her email that she hoped I wouldn’t “dismiss” her area, like some people do. I was so confused by this. Surely people don’t think I’m coming to their areas, which they’ve so generously offered, only to “dismiss” their area?

Well, it turns out that Carita meant that some people dismiss her area because it’s Holmes County. I thought this was so, so funny. I have never quite understood the way back east people are with their counties. Pennsylvania people, when I ask where they’re from, will say, “I’m from Pennsylvania, but NOT Lancaster County!” And I had one friend who lamented that, while she quite liked her boyfriend, he was from Wayne county! How could she marry someone from Wayne county?

I had never heard of Wayne county in my life. Lancaster county and Holmes county both have huge Amish populations. That’s about all I know about what makes them different from other areas. As an Oregonian, I find it really weird when someone specifies that they’re not from some particular county or another. What is that supposed to signal to me? That you don’t have a bunch of Amish neighbors? Who cares?

Anyway, maybe if I spend enough time in the east, the whole county classification system will make more sense to me.

8 responses to “Update on my Crazy Idea

  1. The whole county system doesn’t make sense to me either!! And I married a Lanacaster county guy! One of my friends during Bible School introductions followed all the Lancaster/Holmes/Wayne county introductions by saying, “Hi, I’m from Clackamas County.” (OR) Everyone thought he was from Indiana! Enjoy your travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. and you should definitely hit New England while it’s still fall…or at least the Appalachians….perhaps when you are in Tennessee…you don’t want to miss that beauty….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh girl, it will make sense to you once you live there. 😂
    So many things are happening Sept. 15th! I’m moving too! (Only just “south of the county” lol)
    Congrats, Emily! This is going to be so fun for you. Can’t wait to read about your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m looking forward to what you learn this year. Way too often, we look down on a person/people or a place without really getting to know them. I wonder how many of those opinions are from things we’ve personally experienced or impressions we’ve gathered from others. BTW, I like Carita and her mom (don’t know her family)! Best wishes!


  5. That’s funny, about the counties. I’m not sure why it’s that way…I was from Holmes County, now living in PA. (Not Lancaster County, btw!) But we live in Snyder County, which is looked down on a bit by neighboring Union County, (I guess we’re a bit more redneck) but Snyder County looks down on Perry County, which is even more redneck! If you want to experience PA, but not Lancaster County, you’re welcome to stay at our house!


  6. lol- I love that county bit. 😉 My husband & I are both Lancaster County natives. We’ve now ventured about 2 miles across the line into Berks. His hangup with counties- every time we went on vacation, folks saw we were Mennonites and immediately would say, “Ahh..YOu from Lancaster County!??” when they heard we’re from PA. Now he happily says, “Nope, Berks.” (And kind of eludes the fact he’s 2 miles away. haha. Whatever.) I have friends across the Susquehanna in Junaita, Perry, Union…and that’s some gorgeous areas out there- it’s much more rural then Lancaster. 🙂


  7. Happy Sunday Sarah! I’m jumping in here kind of late and I hope I don’t further confuse you, but I would love for you to stay with us!

    My husband and I live in Harrisonburg, VA, (less than 2.5 hours feom Washington DC!) we are 5 minutes from Eastern Mennonite University and live on a poultry farm.

    We have four children and currently 2 are not living here. One is in grad. school in DC and the other is in college in OH. You could follow her to our house, when you come. We lave a lovely empty bedroom, with it’s own bathroom (you wouldn’t have to share!!)

    If you’d like to come visit us, just email me a d we’ll take it from there!


  8. Wayne county is lovely. My dad was born in and grew up there. I spent many happy hours as a child visiting grandparents there. The old homestead is still in existence, with the same house and barn I remember. Although it’s no longer in the family, I was able to see the house and property several years ago, simply by driving up and explaining that I was the granddaughter of the previous owner. The current owners cheerfully invited all of my family in and gave the grand tour, explaining their renovations/updates, answering questions, and listening to my memories (of when I was 6yo and younger – my grandparents sold the property when I was 6).

    By the way, I live in Indiana now, with plenty of Amish and Mennonites in close proximity, and no dread of anyone thinking anything of it. I am neither Amish nor Mennonite.


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