Travel

And then there were four states: Sunshine and gray skies in Appalachia as I become the boss

And then there were four: Sunshine and gray skies in Appalachia

Half gray and half sunshine skies in West Virginia

Half gray and half sunshine skies in West Virginia

How happy am I? I’m ecstatic. I’m no “Debbie Downer” this bright (icy) Monday morning. I do not typically like musicals but I feel like singing in the rain today. That is how much of a Debbie Downer I am NOT.

See, there were gray skies and there was sunshine during my brief vacation to West Virginia. Yes, a few of you noted it is an odd place to visit on vacation. Well, I say don’t knock it until you try it.  While there was icy rain in New York, Morgantown West Virginia was just lovely.   People were walking around in shorts and it wasn’t just because it is a college town where maybe some people may be stoned and thus oblivious to the weather elements.   It is a lovely mountain town that takes you for a ride. Although, a bit too many organic and vegetarian options for my liking. Morgantown, West Virginia, was like visiting a wild west version of Berkeley, California.  There were intermittent gray skies and sunshine throughout the whole weekend making it seem like  you were navigating through a 101 micro-climates.

a sleepy town nestled in the hills under a lovely gray sky

a sleepy town nestled in the hills under a lovely gray sky

Seriously, I too, as I had noted previously, was skeptical. However, I just had to go. See, the last few years I developed an obsession to become part of the 50 state club.  I have traveled so much for business, especially in the Deep South, that at one point I started to notice that I was getting close to having been in every one of the United States’ 50 states. Plus, I have also been to two US territories (Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands).  One day, I realized I had 15 states, then it was 13, then I went on a major business travel rampage through the south and I got down to 7 states. It stayed that way for a bit. Then this past November, I made it out to Oklahoma and Kansas.

At the start of 2015, I was down to 5 states left in my odd quest. Then I made a life-changing decision. I quit my job. I am moving out west leaving my beloved New York behind for a little bit.  Yes, I kind of buried the lead there. I quit my job. Yes. I am free and expanding my horizons. I will be the one in charge now making sure team members get paid, have a long-lasting fulfilling job and ultimately provide services that enhance and improve the lives of community members. While all that shall weigh heavily on my shoulders I am taking on this new adventure with grand delight. I have come a long way, baby. Just wish my mom was around to see me become the CEO/President on an agency.

By making such a change, I already accomplished one of my new year’s resolutions which was to find a new path in life. I then resolved to get even closer to my 50 state quest.  Thus, by January 17, 2015 I accomplished two of my new year’s resolutions. In all fairness, I am not too sure they were resolutions. Anyway, I am smiling from ear to ear.  I took a chance heading to West Virginia in the winter. The roads are windy, the winds can be fierce, and the altitude can be grand. When we got here, it was nearly 50 degrees with intermittent sunshine. You can’t beat that.

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I now just have the states of South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Alaska left to visit. Let me clarify really quickly, it is not just about stepping in the state or being at an airport. There has to be significant amount of time spent in the state in order to form an informed opinion.  Thus, flight layovers do NOT count. For all my states in my column I have slept there or been there for more than three day trips.

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Now, this summer I will completely move out west with my 5th cross-country road trip; affording me the opportunity to stay in South Dakota, Montana and Idaho. (knock on wood-that’s the Puerto Rican in me).

Alaska! I will hear you calling my name into the wild.

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11 replies »

  1. Congratulations, Mimi!!! So glad for you that you made the change. It’s been obvious that you were very unhappy where you were situated. Hope this change will turn out to be the best choice in the long run. How is your son coping with the change? I am sure, that with your loving care, he will do just fine. 🙂

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  2. As a non-typical (according to my husband) California girl, I have to say that one of the things that took some getting used to about living where I do now, near the Appalachians, is how quickly the weather changes in the vicinity of those mountains. I think that’s what you experienced in West Virginia.

    Before moving here, we traveled often from CA to ID to visit my in-laws. By the time we had our kids, my mother-in-law was used to her peace and quiet and my kids were bored in her small town so, to give us all a break, we took shorter trips to states adjacent to ID during those vacations when we visited her.

    When you get to Montana, South Dakota and Idaho, I hope you’ll appreciate, as I did, the natural beauty of this really large country we live in, as well as the history of its expansion with the attendant man-made sights. Off the top of my head, I’d recommend you visit Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Tetons and Glaciers National Parks, Yellowstone and Deadwood, as a minimum. There are not many sights to see in Southern Idaho, but I believe there are some awesome gorges of the Snake River in the northern part of the state.

    What part of CA will you be in? I know people in the SF, LA and SD areas and would be happy to hook you up if you need any assistance of that kind. Mazel tov on making the decision and good luck wherever you land. I will be looking forward to your further adventures in my home state.

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