This is a more detailed version of one of the earliest posts on this blog, “Places I Have Been.” In this version, I color-coded the states and provinces to show when I was last in each of these places (the color-coding is explained below the picture). Also, no, I haven’t left North America — yet — but visits to all the other continents on Earth, plus the Moon, are definitely on my lifetime “to do” list.
Here’s the color-key. It starts in the present, and then proceeds in reverse chronological order.
Red — I’m here right now. Arkansas is also the state where I have spent well over 90% of my life, and I was born here, as well, 47½ years ago (January, 1968).
Pink — These are states I’ve been to since turning 45, not counting where I am at the moment. It’s also the set of states my wife and I have visited together — so far.
Purple — I was last in each of these states during the first half of my forties.
Dark blue — I was last in Kansas in my thirties, flying there, with two other math teachers, for an educational conference.
Yellow — Louisiana is the only state which I last visited in my twenties.
Green — These are states I last visited at age nineteen. So far, that’s the furthest I have traveled in a single year. The green Mexican state on the map is Chihuahua, where I visited Cuidad Juárez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.
Light blue — These are the states and provinces I last visited as a “tween” (ages 10-12). The Northern vacation trip was with my family, and, so far, that’s the only time I’ve been to Canada. Virginia made the map when I won a trip to Washington, DC (too small to be seen above), as one of a busload of young newspaper carriers, for selling twenty newspaper subscriptions to Arkansas Gazette — one of America’s many “lost newspapers,” and one which I very much miss. Alabama and Florida are included because of a field trip, all the way to Key West, with a college class — one of the benefits of growing up as a “professor’s kid” who spent a lot of time on campus.
Brown — I have been to South Carolina once, but I wasn’t even close to ten years old at the time, and now I barely remember this family trip to the Atlantic coast.
Gray — I was so young, when my parents took me to Colorado, that I have no memories from that trip at all. I don’t think my younger sister had even been born yet, in fact. All I remember is being told, much later, that, yes, I have been to Colorado.