#WhyILove Traveling the United States

#WhyILove Traveling the United States

Why I’m Looking Forward to Traveling the United States Again

While at home during this time, I find myself thinking a lot about what I’ll do once the country gets through this and we’re able to get back to some kind of normal. And I’ve realized how much I want to get out and see America again.

With nearly 20,000 cities and 2,500 miles from east to west, there’s so much incredible diversity to fall in love with. It gives me ample opportunity to dive deeper, expand my horizons and absorb its vast, natural beauty and buzzing energy of its big cities.

I feel something different when I’m exploring what I think of as my own “backyard”. Of course, there are the obvious benefits of traveling closer to home: shorter flights, less disruption to sleep patterns, and not having to worry about forgetting your passport at home. But what I really love is that I can dial down the need to plan and dial up the spontaneity. That same sense of joy that I get from exploring the unexpected is just as strong for me when I visit a neighboring state as it is in Reykjavik, Paris or Lima.

Nadine hiking with one of her dogs

I’ve ridden the untamed foaming waves of the Pacific Coast and sipped the hoppy, homebrewed flavors of Vermont. I’ve walked the National Mall and gotten teary-eyed at the words of former presidents. I’ve salivated as I breathed in the distinct, smoky aromas of southern BBQ while waiting for my lunch at a neon food truck and eavesdropping on a heated debate over which states have the best BBQ. It’s something I still don’t think I can officially make a claim on until I’ve visited and tried every state-specific recipe but, once we’re okay to travel again I’ll be using this handy map to eat my way through America’s BBQ and officially make up my mind.

Map of BBQ States in the United States

What I love about traveling the United States is the distinct four seasons that can be experienced in almost every state. Which means you can have completely different experiences depending on the season. One of my favorite states that encompass this is New York. As the city that never sleeps, it makes it so difficult to choose when to go as there’s no shortage of things to experience, no matter the season. While the current state of New York is heartbreaking, I want to keep my love for New York alive. One of the ways I’ve been doing this is looking through its seasonal city guides and planning for the next time I’ll get to visit. As I write this from my apartment, it’s an overlooked but amazing fact that all this is so close at hand, and (normally) so easy to get to.

Denali National Park, Alaska

My passion for traveling America began in a car with my family and an outdated music selection – it went a little something like this. These road trips with my parents and my sister on long weekends – letting the fresh air blow through my hair as I dreamed of what lay ahead at our next stop – are my first and strongest memories.

It’s this sense of adventure that I long for just as much as anyone else right now. The open road, the fresh air, and vast landscapes stretching out in front of us. It makes me think about those overlooked destinations closer to home and how when we can travel again we’ll revisit these places with newfound admiration. I know that I’ve already felt this admiration all over again with Google’s virtual tours of the US National Parks. The Bryce Canyon National Park tour, in particular, holds a special place in my heart. Revered by the locals as magical, its orange and white rock formations are like no other you’ll find across the country. It will be a place I hope to revisit many times in my life.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

What I love most about traveling in the United States is the ability to revisit a state at different points in my life. Each time I reconnect to that place, it happens differently, and I make new memories. And right now, I can’t wait to be able to do that once again. Until then, I’ll keep finding ways to keep the spirit of travel alive and share them with you all so when we can travel again we’ll know exactly where we’ll want to go.

5 Ways to Virtually Travel the United States

1. Read

There’s always the classics like Travels with Charley: In Search of America, by John Steinbeck or On the Road, by Jack Kerouac that will transport you to the road trip adventures, we’re all so fond of in America. There’s also Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed, this on-foot adventure helps bring America’s wilderness a little closer.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed Book Cover

2. Watch

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, by Ken Burns is a great documentary to watch and develop a newfound appreciation for some of America’s most treasured places. The documentary covers the history of the US National Parks System, from the initial ideas to its 150-year expansion.

Ken Burns National Parks Documentary

3. Cook

We’re all in need of some comfort food right now and these American classics truly fit the bill. Whether it’s as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich or as lip-smackingly delicious as BBQ ribs. There’s no better time to try making your own homemade comfort food than right now.

BBQ Ribs

4. Drink

It’s safe to say that there’s no shortage of iconic American cocktails, each of them showcasing the variety of flavors that can be found across the nation. While this list of 7 Iconic American Cocktails was created for Fourth of July celebrations there’s no harm in getting an early start on perfecting your cocktail making skills.

5. Discover

Leave it to Google to help connect us to the world. Their latest virtual tours of the US National Parks have been great to watch while spending so much time at home. It might not be the real thing but with park rangers guiding you the experience feels surprisingly intimate.

Bryce Canyon National Park

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