Saturday, October 22, 2011

States I've Been To

I've been to most of the U.S. states. I'm missing, however, a huge chunk right at the top of the country, and another swath in the nation's mid-Atlantic region, as is evidenced in this map of the states to which I've been. The darker highlights represent those states in which I've spent at least twenty-four consecutive hours. The number of states in which I've done this actually surprised me, as I thought there were more states of the type like Oklahoma, where I spent probably just an hour--one Sunday, when I was living in Texas, I drove up and across the border to eat at Carl's Jr., just to be able to say I'd been to the old Indian Territory.

But twenty-four consecutive hours may not even be the best way to describe legitimately large amounts of time--after all, some states I may not have spent a consecutive twenty-four hours in, but I've so often been through them that I probably have spent more than twenty-four hours in total. Another way to think of time spent might be to color those dark the states that I've spent a night in:

To what extent are the states that I've visited a reflection of the places where I've lived? I thought that might present an interesting map in itself, and it does. Notice that I've spent the majority of my life in the band of sunbelt states, and my travels mimic that to a degree. Those states farthest from where I lived are often those I haven't journey to.

If I were to color this map as it would have appeared when I was twenty, before I took a trip by train across the nation, the highlighted states would be almost entirely in the west, like this:

Even after that trip, the other states wouldn't fill in for years, because I was still until age twenty-four a California only resident:

One day, perhaps, I'll get to the other twelve states I'm missing. I hope I don't have to move to North Dakota to do it though.

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