If there is one thing I’m good at it, it’s being adventurous and exploring my surroundings. I love travel not just for the sake of traveling but for what I get from the experience. Travel is about collecting moments and gaining perspective. It’s a deeper way of getting to know yourself – figuring out what you like and don’t like, what you crave to do and be, how you can get there, reflecting on your experiences, and feeling humbled by your surroundings. Travel is being present in the moment (whether at home or somewhere else) in a time and place where we constantly look to the future. It’s grounding and maybe that’s why I have such a deep appreciation for it.
Almost a year ago to the day, I launched my 30 before 30 project with an entire section of travel related goals. One of these goals is to visit every county in the state I live in. While I planned to launch this particular venture in Missouri, it actually complements my move to Wisconsin in a more purposeful way. Exposed and in need of a little soul-searching, this project takes me back to my roots and forces me to focus on me. Plus, it’s a unique way of getting to know my new home state and everything it has to offer.
What I find surprising is that I don’t feel compelled to plan for this project. I would rather just do and be present in the moment so that I can reflect on the experience afterwards through writing. While I have a general idea of some of the activities I want to participate in, I’m going to rely on word of mouth more than anything. In fact, even though I’ve only been here a week, I’ve added four activities to my list based on suggestions from a few Wisconsinites who meet the true stereotype of Midwestern friendliness. I now know where to find the best cheese curds in the state, participate in a fish boil, learn stand up paddle boarding, and hike the best trail in the state. And that’s only touching the tip of the iceberg!
I have no deadline to finish this project or timeline to mark items off my list because this moment in my life is more so about nurturing and healing my heart and soul. That’s something I don’t think you can put into a rigid time frame or create a check list for. So, here I am, writing a new chapter of life and forging a path uniquely my own county by county.