If you’re getting married, listen up! And if you’re already married listen up too! I’ve always loved traditions. Always. Doesn’t everyone? (Yes. The answer is yes.) So, without further ado… a tradition you’ll want to start.
I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Chris (that’s my husband) and I were at dinner with two other couples, all of us great friends and all newly married. The conversation turned to sports (does it ever end?), babies (none of us were ready for 2 feet additions), and travel (AHHH! Can we just go on a 2nd honeymoon already?) Something in the travel segment of the dinner conversation had me spitting out my steak, hushing the men, and asking to hear it again. One couple, the Carters, would be going to West Virginia over Labor Day weekend. A hush fell over the crowd, followed by much inquiry as to why they were planning a trip to West Virginia of all places. (Sorry, natives of West Virginia.) The answer: “We started a tradition this year of drawing a state on New Year’s Day. We then have a calendar year to visit that state. In 50 years, we will have visited all 50 states.” That’s all I needed to hear! We Tardios would have no shame in copy-catting this idea. I was on this like white on rice. We would see 50 states in 50 years of marriage, a state a year. I was sold.
Rules for the Traveling Tardios Edition of 50 States in 50 Years:
1)The state must be drawn on August 11th of each year, our anniversary. The drawer alternates each year. The other must photograph the monumental draw.
2) We have one year to visit the state.
3) There are NO putbacks, except for Hawaii or Alaska, which may be put back until a “big anniversary year” or a year when time/finances better allow for extended travel.
4) We must stay in the state at least 48 hours.
5) If we travel through other states along the way, only the actual state drawn is recorded (yes we have a map to record the travels…)
6) If we travel elsewhere in the year, that’s fine but no other states are removed from our deck.
Since this GENIUS idea didn’t come to us before our wedding and we couldn’t draw the state on our wedding night, we actually just picked our first state. Thus, we settled on California and we decided to make an anniversary trip of it, going just a few days prior to our first anniversary. (Aren’t we romantic? Watch out Bachelor.) We spent 3 nights in San Francisco and then traveled up to Sonoma for 2 more nights. It was the perfect combination of city-life and charm. In San Fran, we saw (translation: froze) a Giants game, went to Alcatraz, toured Stanford (my lawyer husband gets his kicks from a)me and b) law schools across the country), checked out Lombard Street, went on a hike overlooking the bay, and ate. A lot. In Sonoma, we toured a vineyard, drank lots of wine, ate a lot (again), went to a festival on the Sonoma square, and got our first (and last) couples massage. Besides the couples massage disaster, where my husband attempted to take his phone and reading materials along and tried to get his massage through his blue jeans and fleece jacket (true story), it was an absolutely wonderful first state to visit and perfect way to celebrate our first anniversary.
We stayed in Stowe for 3 days and skied two. Stowe is the perfect little New England town, and it was absolutely beautiful. Snow everywhere and Christmas decorations at every corner. That said, we are exceptionally terrible skiers. Chris had two wipe-outs just getting on the chair lift, and I was the slowest skier Stowe has ever seen. We also decided to borrow ski clothes instead of making the investment, and we were quite the sight, clad in too big, too tight, mismatched ski gear. In short, we were an embarrassment. But, we had the time of our lives and can’t wait to go back soon. We wrapped up the trip with a New Year’s Eve dinner date with friends in Boston (though, as you are now informed, Vermont was our state to visit not Massachusetts…Following our rules, Massachusetts is still in our deck of states.).
I hope this idea might be one you’ll want to consider in some form or fashion. Some people we’ve told think they might alter it a bit, only putting in states they desperately want to see, maybe drawing for each vacation taken. Maybe it becomes a family thing or maybe it always stays a sacred treasure for just the “grown-ups.” There’s so many ways you can go with it, but most importantly, we’ve learned it’s a great way to make memories with each other that hopefully last a lifetime.