In our first year of 50 in 5, May 2017 to May 2018, we visited seven states. The farthest we traveled was to Hawaii, and we also explored close to home in two of our neighboring states. Brandon and I are going to do a recap at the end of each year to look back on some of the highs and lows of this adventure:
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 3 MEMORIES FROM THIS YEAR OF TRAVEL?
Brandon: The best moment of that year for sure was grilling burgers with you, Josh, and Chelsea at our Airbnb in Hawaii with beef we bought at Kualoa Ranch.
My second favorite memory is riding in the cab of Mary Lou’s truck in Nebraska and looking out over the vastness of the prairie and seeing the storm out in the distance. I also loved the whole experience of driving the Mustang up the Pacific Coast Highway. It still feels surreal, like I didn’t actually do it.
Hannah: We share the same favorite memory! My other favorite memories are seeing NEEDTOBREATHE at Red Rocks and surprising you during our California trip_especially when I told you we had tickets to see “Hamilton.”
WHAT WAS A CHALLENGE THAT YOU ENCOUNTERED?
Hannah: I only referenced this a little in the original blog post, but I had an infected wisdom tooth that caused me terrible pain during our California trip. I couldn’t eat a lot of foods and when I did, I had to chew on only one side of my mouth. We also both caught colds halfway through the trip and were heavily medicated for a lot of the travel.
Brandon: We both became extremely ill in California, but powered through it anyway.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU?
Brandon: The entire first trip was a surprise to me!
Hannah: I was surprised by how magical Muir Woods was. We had an unpleasant experience with the tour company we used, but I’d do it all over again just to spend an hour there.
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO RETURN? WHY?
Brandon: Hawaii, obviously! I want to go back to Kualoa Ranch and to Maui.
Hannah: I’d also like to return to Hawaii, and I really loved Colorado. There’s a lot more I’d like to see there.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL OF THE YEAR?
Hannah: That’s a tough choice. Our lunch at Rocky Point is my favorite. The food was good, but the view—wow. The view is something I will never forget. Dim sum in Chinatown is a very close second, along with Brandon’s 30th birthday dinner in Hawaii.
Brandon: I hate picking favorites. I really enjoyed Linger in Denver and the bison burger on the ranch in Wyoming. Our random picnic in Nebraska wasn’t special food-wise, but memorable. Honestly, it might be when JC and I were pretty lit and ate late night hot dogs from a food cart in Oakland.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN YEAR 2?
Brandon: I’m looking forward to Moon River in Chattanooga in the fall. It’s going to be a good time.
Hannah: I’m going to be in my friend Laura’s wedding in Boston in November… not sure we’re going to be visiting in the ideal season, but I know it will be a special trip.
By the numbers
In year one, we spent 22 nights away from home. We stayed four times in standard hotel chains, twice in boutique/independent accommodations, once with friends, and in four Airbnbs. We took 10 flights and rented three cars.
We had zero pieces of luggage lost and one rental car damage claim. I was sick and/or injured during two of our trips. We visited one national park and two state parks. Schmidt joined us on one trip, and friends joined us for three trips.