About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view latamad's profile
    Posted May 19, 2014 by
    Woburn, Massachusetts
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Visited all 50 states?

    50 States Completed.. a dream achieved


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     latamad emigrated from India to the U.S. when he was 25-years-old. He settled in Massachusetts and has traveled to all 50 states, collecting a thimble from each state.

    "[I] never thought I would do it. When I crossed into the 40th state, [my] optimism grew," he said. In order to count a state as "visited," he had to spend a full day and night in the state, as well as take time to drive around wherever he was staying.
    - Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer

    It was a surreal feeling, as I pulled into Montana in late 2013. 50!! I had made it to all the 50 states in less than 20 years. This from an immigrant from India who liked the idea of traveling and seeing cultures, people, sights and the awesome feeling of seeing all this from the road.

    My constraint on the count the 50 states – visit or drive at least one of major cities in the state and stay a night or more. Airports and travel were part of my work but there were surely places where business would not take me. It started off as habit as I crossed into my 10th state that I would collect a thimble for all my visits. I found that something small and something cute enough to keep like the shot glasses or the spoons. There was something about sowing(stitching) and the connection to my mom that appealed to me. My parents had taken me travelling when I was in India via car and reveled in being able to see any new location from the road, eat their cuisine and understand what/why there was a distinct flavor/style to each one.

    I did spend some time in the UK and drove every nook and corner there as well England, Scotland and Wales in my 2 years there. The experiences there were unique with the diverse culture and nature that made every county in UK a little different in terms of speech (English accents) and in terms of architecture.

    In 2013 I visited a number of the states in the US in including Alaska, New Mexico, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Utah and Montana. Alasks was a pristine, clear and gorgeous, a long haul from the east coast of the US – but a sight to behold and visit again. Utah was breathtaking with the Canyons and the natural landscapes and Yellowstone. It was all worth the extra strain the travel from a hotel to another every night as we drove, flew and covered the last few states that I had left to see and enjoy.

    The drive into Montana in late October capped that 50 state visit. I really revel in the fact that I was able to do this and it all started in October ‘94 in Massachusetts. That being said, my wife has listened to this push to visit the Mt Rushmore, the Badlands and many of the sights over the last few years and she has been instrumental in visiting, capturing and being part of the travel in the last 10 years – she is at 41 states – and I am sure if we continue to be in the US she will get to 50 as well ☺. I can see her smile when she reads this (or do I!!).

    As part of this 50 state trip, I have viewed some gorgeous landscapes, natural beauty and with very unique memorable sights. I still live in the North East Corridor therefore see the sights of Boston, New York, New Jersey, Florida very often through my personal travel. However, there are some states I will be eager to visit again, time & company being there – they include and are not limited to Hawaii, Alaska, California, Utah, Colorado, Tennessee and anywhere in the North East during the fall.

    Now that the 50 states in the US is done - what beckons? Europe, China, Oz and NZ beckon. We have started on that in earnest with many more to go – part of a bucket list that has started early. However, there is something that tugs at my heart too that while I was born in India that I have not seen/visited as much there. India is a land with so much diversity and has opened it doors so much more to facilitate the ease of tourism (Incredible India!!). That also will be a driving force, as I head towards knocking off those dreams when I got into a cab at around 7 years of age and told my parents – I wanted to be a driver – since I could drive and see places when I wanted to!!!

    Thanks to all the people who helped me achieve this including my parents, sister, my wife and the entity that has kept me able.

    TAGS: USA 50 states US India immigrant
    Add your Story Add your Story