For those of you, and you know who you are, members of what we call the “Nifty Fifty Club”, we have visited all 50 states here in the US. But it raises the question, why don’t more people travel within this great country? I often figured it was the expense or the time off from work.
In a poll by a famous luggage company, 40% of Americans (respondents) say they have never left the US. And remember that both Mexico and Canada are very close and friendly neighbors. Surprisingly, 54% have been to fewer than ten states, and most surprisingly, 11% have never the left the state where they were born.
Why are the numbers so low? The poll said 76% want to travel more than they do. Better yet, 85% said they wanted to experience something new. And 60% said they had a list of places they wanted to visit. What is holding them back?
Again, surprisingly, 25% of respondents said they could not find the time. As expected, 63% said they could not afford foreign travel.
This leads me to yet another tangent. I started writing these emails, which often turned into blogs, upon the recommendation of my physician at the time. We were talking about travel one day, and I brought up my experience crossing Checkpoint Charlie at the Berlin Wall back in 1971. He suggested I write about it, since most people will never get the same opportunity that I had.
Anyway, people, including friends, employees, relatives, neighbors, golf buddies, bar flies, flight attendants, strippers, even travel agents, asked to be put on my list. And it keeps growing, and growing. So, thanks to all of you who read them, and particularly those who offer great feedback. You know who you are.
Circling back to the Nifty Fifty, I know there are several of you who are close. I really think the journey is more important than the destination. So, please proceed, knowing you are making great memories. When I reached number Fifty, Michigan, it was rather anti-climactic.
I landed in Ann Arbor on the Amtrak train from Chicago, and got to celebrate on the University of Michigan campus. Certainly missing any fanfare, or great celebration, but who cares? I recall having a big steak and a bottle of champagne in the bar of my hotel near campus. Then I headed out for a concert by the University band, featuring an awful trombone solo. But Chicago was great!
So, I think you see my point here. Michigan was the destination, but the journey on Amtrak was perhaps more interesting. I passed famous Battle Creek, Michigan and the Cherrios or corn flake factory. How many times did we hear about Battle Creek when we ate our morning cereal as kids?