I've been hanging on this blog a lot lately: travel50stateswithkids.com. The whole site is built around the concept of taking kids to all 50 states--in as little as 12 trips even. I know, sounds crazy, right? But I have to admit, I'm kind of digging it. There are numerous clubs for this, by the way. Google it!


I first heard about this concept last spring. At first, I thought it was just spring fever snuffing out any sensibilities I may have retained after parenting three kids. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to give my children this gift. And what a gift it will be.

I'll admit, I sometimes have this idyllic vision of my perfectly propper kiddos munching on trail mix and playing the license plate game while oohing and aahing at car henge as I most surely did as a child. I saw America from the back seat of my parents' car. Every summer we'd load up for a week or two and head on down the highway rocking out to my dad's favorite 70's tracks, stopping at road side attractions, Stucky's, cool McDonald's restaurants (like these) and ending our day at Motel 6 where the light was always on. This is not to say the trips were filled entirely with blissful family bonding. I might have once spit on my brother because I knew he'd barf. And he did. I'm so not proud of that, but it was just a teeny tiny bit funny.

I haven't been to all 50 states, but I've been to more than 30. To this day, the vacations of my childhood are some of my favorite memories and one of the gifts from my parents for which I am most grateful. And I'm not going to lie, I used to pack three weeks early in sheer anticipation of these trips.

Yes, I would imagine that, while there will be some oohing and aahing and rocking out to my favorite 90's tracks, our ocean to ocean adventures will be, at times, beseiged by barfing, crying, fighting, whining, nagging and more visits to public restrooms than could ever come close to being inside my comfort zone.

But that's OK. When I'm much older and the kids are grown and mapping out their own family adventures, I think they'll remember what I do from my childhood--the privilege of seeing beyond my own state and those that border it.

So far, we've ticked off 11 states as a family. Who knows how many we'll get through this summer. I've got a vacation to plan.