25 Nov Newlyweds Visit All 50 States!
Our friends, Heath and Alyssa Padgett, have recently accomplished an incredible journey. We first introduced them to you in our Intentional Travelers feature last November while they were traveling in an RV across the country and filming the documentary, Hourly America. Today, we’re excited to share an update from Alyssa as she reflects on the completion of their quest and the highlights from visiting their 50th state.
Two days after our wedding, I remember sitting in our RV in Austin, stuck inside because it was pouring down rain—which started as soon I started walking down the aisle during our wedding ceremony, by the way. I was chomping at the bit to start traveling to all 50 states with my newlywed husband and I had no idea what to expect.
Would an RV this old make it to all 50 states? Would we? When would we run out of money? How would we finish? After all the doubts, all the breakdowns, and all the moments when we had to decide this goal was worth all the money and all the trouble, we visited our 50th state: Alaska.
WE DID IT!
We actually visited all 50 states together in a little over a year’s time!
I’m going to have to write that down a few more times before it sinks in that we accomplished our goal. All fifty states for our honeymoon. Can you believe it? I still can’t.
I’m trying my best to savor this moment and reflect on everything Heath and I have done together in our first year of marriage. This past year has been filled with experiences I never thought possible. When in Alaska, we crossed even more items off of our bucket list beyond just visiting our 50th state.
√ White water rafting
√ Fly in a small airplane
√ Ride in a helicopter
√ Swim in hot springs
√ Finish filming documentary
Upon arriving back in Texas, I found our bucket lists (or life lists, as they are labeled in my notebook) and we crossed off the goals we’ve spent the past year working toward. (And consequently started dreaming about our next adventure, I’m think a tour of Europe).
There are so many things that I want to tell you about our trip to Alaska. We drove from Seattle, through British Columbia and the Yukon. This was Heath’s first time to ever leave the country. We spent five days driving through some of the most beautiful parts of North America. We saw three bears: one black, one brown, and one grizzly. We saw half a dozen moose, even a mom with her two babies. We saw dozens of bald eagles soaring around us–and it was just as majestic and America as I imagined.
Literally thought I was going to see this man get mauled by a grizzly bear, he was standing WAY too close.
We visited Fairbanks, where we panned for gold and drove out to swim in some hot springs. We explored Denali National Park and even worked our 50th job there (more on that adventure here!). We rafted down a glacier-fed river and Heath even swam in it! He wore a dry suit of course, since the water was roughly 35 degrees. We choppered up to Denali base camp and flew in a plane around the Alaska mountain range. We spent countless hours driving around the state, pulling over on the shoulder of the small roads to jump out and take pictures of the mountains or the ocean.
The entire trip was breath taking. Everyone says oh, Alaska is so beautiful. You’ll love it! Which is true. It’s awesome (you should go!). But the best part of visiting Alaska is all the time it took to get there. Not just the five-day trek across bumpy, winding roads in Canada, but the months of preparation and the year of traveling to the first 49. All together, it made visiting the largest state a little more captivating.
We are now officially done filming Hourly America. We’ve visited every state.
In a lot of ways, achieving this goal is anticlimactic, kind of like graduating high school. Once you get close to finishing a goal, in your head you already start planning the next big thing. I’m already dreaming about traipsing across Europe or cruising around the Caribbean. But I know the next big thing for us is producing and premiering Hourly America so I can share with you all of the breathtaking footage of Alaska and the rest of America.
As we edit the film, we’ll share sneak previews and bonus footage on our Facebook page. Check it out to see lots of hilarious, awkward, and heartwarming moments from our honeymoon adventure!
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