The votes are in!

What can I say? -- I’m blown away...again!

On this, the second time around, hundreds of people voted for my next location -- and holy guacamole -- I can’t get over how many passionate pleas there were. Granted, I asked everyone to create “Lists of Love” about their favorite state, so I shouldn’t of expected anything less than long accolades of glorious environments.

Again, I’m simply blown away, which is why I thought you’d like to hear some of these “lists”.

Here’s a handful of my favorites:

Texas: “Because its where we live! It’s ginormous, so there's a ton to explore, help with, be transformed by, and love.” ~B.M.

Iowa: “Because it's the greatest state in the Union. And living in Missouri has given me a better appreciation for states that don't smell like tobacco. Or not as much anyway.” ~A.K.

Washington: “Why not come visit the total opposite coast and experience what our great state has to offer?! We've got beaches, Crystalline Mountains, desert beauty and remoteness! We also offer a big city that you'd never get tired of exploring! Also, native Indian heritage, cuisine and Indian dancing islands. Or take a cruise around Puget sound.. You'd love it!! And if you come to our Eastern side of the state you wouldn't even need an umbrella!” ~J.P.

New York: “It's THE state.” ~J.W.

Georgia: “We are so rich in history and there are so many different areas all over the state. We have the coastal areas (Jekyll, St. Simons, and Tybee Islands) all the way to the mountains in the north where the Appalachian Trail begins!” ~K.W.

South Dakota: “Oh, let me count the ways on why I love the great state of South Dakota. It's a state that truly matches it's slogan. "Great faces and great places!" It's a state that offers many opportunities and many places to explore. In what other state can you see the buffalo roam and the faces of four presidents carved in rock/stone? South Dakota provides a place for one to be close to family and friends. Oh, and who can forget South Dakota taking part in all four seasons. South Dakota would be a great place for your face! Come visit SD and let it become one of your favorite states.” ~M.J.

Nevada: “If you don't move here I'll eat your brains.” ~J.C.

Louisiana: “The People and The Food! The people of Louisiana are unlike people in most any other state and, in fact, are very different in different parts of the state. In other words it will be like visiting several states at one time. But wherever you are in the state, the people are wonderful -- full of love and life! As the French would say, there is a "joie de vivre" unlike in any other state. The food is beyond compare. You would never go hungry -- even if you have to stop and knock on a door to be invited in for a meal. Or drop by a tailgate on a Saturday afternoon baseball or football game and be offered good fellowship and great food -- even as a stranger! You are welcome here! And the "welcome" will come in many dialects, languages and accents! All of which will truly mean, "please come in, sit for a spell (a year) and we promise you will not want to leave!" I surely don't want to leave!” ~V.T.

Arkansas: “Arkansas has a reputation for being full of ignorant rednecks and hillbillies, but there really is more to us than that. The Ozark Mountains in the NW corner of the state is one of the most beautiful places in the country with lots of places to hike and camp. NW Arkansas is full of industry leaders, such as Wal-Mart, Tyson, and JB Hunt. You can also visit Bill and Hillary Clinton's first home in my hometown of Fayetteville, a city by the way, which was listed as one of the most beautiful cities in the country by Parade magazine. If you're interested in volunteer opportunities, there is a high rate of poverty in the central and SW/Delta regions. I'm sure there would be plenty of opportunities. Besides, what other state has a razorback as its college mascot? Come to Arkansas!” ~K.D.

Texas: “Because its where we live! It’s ginormous, so there's a ton to explore, help with, be transformed by, and love.” ~B.M.

Montana: “There are so many fascinating things about my home state. While it's not as populated as all other states save WY and AK, it's got culture in abundance. There are museums and ghost towns and tourist attractions galore. There are National Parks and fun places to be found everywhere. There are quirky towns and college towns and teeny tiny towns. We also have a huge need of volunteer sources in everything from the homeless shelters to animal rescues. There is much need in our state as well as more than enough beauty. If you come here you won't be found wanting for hospitality either!” ~M.F.

Nevada: “People who live in Nevada feel a little more fabulous! Most people think of the glitz and glam of Las Vegas when they hear Nevada, but there is so much more to this state than showgirls and strippers and Cirque du Soleil. Take a chance on "the silver state." You won't be disappointed.” ~J.H.

Iowa: "We have the same number of cows and people! Cow tipping, cow milking, and cow counting are all beloved pastimes." ~H.D.

Again, thank you all for voting. Here A Year is only here because of you.

I wish I could post every reply I got, but that would simply overload your inbox. (Maybe I’ll share more throughout the selection process.)

Also, I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, February 1st -- something to look forward to.


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