Wanking around the blogosphere this morning, I found this map of visited states via Tiki Dave. I’ve been around quite a bit of the US, but this map is misleading in a way. In 1999 I spent part of the summer driving around the southeastern US in my Ford Ranger, sleeping in the bed, running, and visiting places I thought were interesting. With the exception of Mammoth Cave, most places I visited were cities or towns. I mostly didn’t care about the countryside, even though I made it a priority to stay on US highways rather than interstates. So I’ve really been to Hannibal and St. Louis, rather than Missouri; Knoxville rather than Tennessee; and Athens rather than Georgia (why didn’t I go to Atlanta, again?). At the end of that same summer I flew to Folsom, CA and drove back to Michigan with a friend who was concluding an internship there. That’s how I saw Tulsa and, even though we drove through New Mexico, I don’t remember a stop other than for gas, so I don’t count it. (NOTE: I just remembered I spent a day in Gulfport, MS, the week before Katrina hit and got stung by a jellyfish.)
This reminds me I should read some more Jane Jacobs, who, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations, argued that cities and city regions were the basis for the creation of wealth. Aggregate state and national economic evaluations were meaningless as they elided the substantial disparities between city regions and unconnected rural areas. The same goes for travel, I think. My map, in terms of places actually visited, would look like a spray of dots across the national map, rather than the large blocks of real estate indicated here.
More interesting wanking available at Common Census.