With 40 states completed, the travel portion of VISIONS Across America is winding down. Except that it doesn’t feel winding-downish at all. It feels chaotic and stressful. And breathless and fun and exciting. Because the travel to our last few states in August and September is going to be packed crazy-tight.
It’s always nice to come back from one trip and have a little time before the next one. But right now I’m working on the next three trips all at the same time. We’re flying off in a week to Seattle, Wash., our jumping-off place for four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. That’s a lot of land to cover, but we’re really excited about this trip. We’ll be in two national parks (Olympia and Glacier), driving through some spectacular parts of the country, and visiting some of the greatest cities in the Northwest as we meet with alumni in each state.
We’ll be back in Iowa for a couple of weeks before heading off for a quick and easy driving trip to Missouri and Kansas. And then we’ll be in our offices for just one week before starting our last major travel: Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. Talk about saving some of the best states for last: This will be another drive through beautiful national parks and great American countryside. We have some great alumni lined up for this trip, too.
After we return from that trip at the end of September, we’ll have 49 states complete. Guess which state will be left?
I’ve talked to lots of people during this VISIONS Across America project, and they’ve asked a lot of questions about our process and logistics. They’ve asked about flying vs. driving (driving is simpler but obviously takes more time), whether Jim and I get along when we travel (mostly yes), and how we select the alumni we feature (I have a long answer for that one, because it’s complicated).
But the three questions I get asked the most are:
- Have you been to Alaska and Hawaii? (Yes; and we surprise people by saying that we preferred Alaska.)
- What was your favorite state? (Alaska, followed by Maine…but we have really loved traveling to all the states.)
- Who are you going to feature in Iowa?
I STILL don’t have an answer to the last question, and we’re getting down to the wire. More than 90,000 Iowa State alumni currently live in the state of Iowa. That makes Iowa both the easiest and the most difficult state to choose. I’ve received a lot of suggestions and nominations and advice…but most people just say, wow, that’s gonna be a tough one.
Let me know if you have any ideas!