Sunday, August 8, 2010

I've become a bit of a world traveler lately

I didn't realize how much traveling I've done until my dad pointed it out to me the other day. Sometimes I take for granted how many awesome travel experiences I've had - not many people get to escape their country or even their state, but I've been all over the place. And by age 22!

Because I'm a nerd, here's a nice image of my travels. Red represents places I've lived, green represents places I've physically been in but didn't actually do anything special there (aka, drove through/changed flights there), and blue represents places I visited with a purpose.
Some random observations:
  • I've only lived in two states. I lived in Illinois until I turned 2, and our house was about 10 minutes from where I grew up in Indiana, so I'm not sure if that even counts. And I only went to college an hour and a half away from home.
  • I've visited five foreign countries - Mexico, the Bahamas, Greece, Italy, and Vatican City. Our plane stopped in France for a couple hours, but I'd love to go back actually do something there. Well, I'd love to go back to any part of Europe. It was awesome when I was 12, and I'm sure I'd appreciate it even more now.
  • Despite living here, apparently I avoid the rest of the Midwest like the plague. Notice the green circle of states that I have driven through to actually get somewhere cool. And the only reason I've been to Kentucky and Ohio is because awesome Secular Student Alliance stuff has happened there in the last year.
  • Going off of that, it's sort of mind boggling to me how I haven't visited some places. How have I never been to Canada? Or Wisconsin?! How the heck did I hit up Greece and Alaska before places I could drive to in a couple of hours?
  • Almost all of my domestic traveling took place not only during college, but thanks to college. The only states I had been to prior to going to college were Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Florida. For example, here's a map of the reasons why I traveled to each state. Blue is for a biology conference/field work, green is for grad school visits, red is for atheist related stuff (yes, I traveled within IL and IN for that), and purple is just for pleasure. You can see that while I enjoyed my travels, the vast majority were not just for fun and were either partially or fully funded by scholarships, my lab, universities, or blog readers (yay TAM!). I'm very lucky indeed.
  • Speaking of being very lucky, in a month my map will have to be updated again. I'll be living in Seattle, so Washington state will join the places that I have lived in. This weekend I'll be visiting St. Louis, MO, so then I will have properly "visited" it. And later this month I'll be flying to a state I've never visited before for something super exciting - but you'll find out about that soon!
Are any of you big travelers? Have you visited or lived in any especially awesome places? Where are you dying to go?

Oh, and since invariably when I talk about traveling someone asks "When are you going to visit _____?!"... Convince someone to help fund my trip and I'd be happy to come talk to your local godless group. I know, positively shocking that grad students aren't rolling in the dough. ;)

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