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Yup… it’s my birthday today 🙂 And it’s not even a “regular” birthday, but one of those fancy “round number” birthdays!
I’ve been waiting for nearly 10 years to post this video
So I thought I would look back at 40 years of travel. I am certainly not as “well-traveled” as many people out there, but I definitely have started traveling a lot more recently since I’ve been in the miles and points world.
The early years
I was actually born in Germany (dad in the army) and before I was 2, I had traveled all around Europe. Salzburg, Vienna, Italy, Paris and even London for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Unfortunately I don’t remember any of that 🙂 It’s already on my travel bucket list to go back to Wiesbaden where I was born, and last year we went back to Ireland, London, Rome and Monaco, but I’d like to go back and see some of the awesome sights in Europe.
Traveling as a kid
My childhood was probably like many people’s – various family vacations but no real big trips. At 19, I did a mission for my church in the Dominican Republic, which was quite the experience on many levels. The “end run” we did through customs at the Santo Domingo airport a) seems like something out of a movie and b) would not fly in the post 9-11 world. It’s probably worth a post of its own one day!
County trips and “Every Whatever” silliness
About 10 years ago, I started keeping track of the number of counties that I’ve visited, with the goal of eventually visiting all 3143 counties in the US.
In 2006, 2 friends of mine and I set a world record by visiting all 88 counties in Ohio in under 24 hours. We’ve also visited every county in Alabama in 21 hours, every county in the 6 New England states in 28 hours (with video!) and our most recent trip was the fastest time to jump in all 5 Great Lakes.
Last year a friend of mine and I took a Minnesota / Wisconsin / Manitoba / North Dakota / Ontario county trip, where we coined Roadtrip Rule #1. Here’s the current state of my visited counties
As you can see, I’ve made quite a bit of progress! Just last year in southern Maryland I went over 50% counties visited – I’m currently at 1645 out of 3143, about 52.3%
Miles and Points trips
I started getting in to miles and points due to an upcoming family reunion in Lake Tahoe. I knew 8 cross country plane tickets were going to be expensive and miles and points might mean the difference between us being able to attend or not. I opened my first credit card churn and a few months later, used 170,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points to fly our family of 8 to Reno Nevada and back.
Since then, we’ve done several trips together as a family. We surprised our kids with a trip to Disney World, we’ve been on an Amtrak train trip that would have cost $6500 without miles and points, as well as a bunch of smaller trips over the past few years.
An added bonus to travel hacking has been my wife and I being able to take trips together just the 2 of us. We’ve been to Puerto Rico, Europe, and most recently took a first class flight around the world (JAL First class from Chicago to Tokyo, and Emirates First Class from Singapore to Dubai to New York)
Looking to the future…
So… now what? What might the NEXT 40 years hold? I still have a bunch of things left on my travel bucket list (though I’m crossing them off pretty regularly!). I think one of the things I’ve most appreciated about all the traveling I’ve been doing lately is that there are lots of different ways to travel
- With all my family
- With my wife
- With just one of my kids
- With friends
- By myself
And they’re all fun and they’re fun in different ways! I’m looking forward to the rest of my life and all the places I’ll go…. (in my new red sports car because hey now that I’m 40 I have to have a mid-life crisis, right? :-D)