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…
- More people emailed me offers to let me stay in their area
- I decided that my initial plan was too focused on the South, and I wanted to spread it out a bit more
- 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
- 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
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.