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  • WESTWARD, HO! Here A Year's next state is...


    This might surprise you, but the announcement of the next state in the Here A Year adventure is actually a little bittersweet for me.


    I have to leave a state I have genuinely fallen in love with.
    I will have to say goodbye to friends who have become family.
    I can’t move to all the states people wrote “lists of love” about.
    ~but~
    I will be closer to other good friends.
    My senses will have new experiences by switching environments.
    I will be able to tell new stories about life in a new state.


    I’m sure most of you can relate when it comes to moving someplace new. There’s a happy (sometimes nervous) energy that surrounds the unknown -- but overall -- I can’t wait for the new state! Adventure awaits!


    And the winner is...


    NEVADA!


    There were so many terrific “lists of love” that came my way that I almost changed the journey back to a cross-country trek visiting all the states again. But, after a lot of deliberation, and mental fatigue, I concluded that Nevada will be my next home.


    On top of it just feeling right, it also happened to be the state that had the most people asking for me to move there -- here’s a “small” sampling of a just some of their lists:


    --“Overall awesome state, friendly laws, and..VEGAS! Trust me, you won't regret it.”

    --“Because it is a great place to find love.”

    --“The weather may be really hot in the summer but it is a dry heat which makes it very tolerable. The rest of the seasons are just perfect too! Just a great place to live.”

    --“WE ROCK!”

    --“Low cost of living.”

    --“My entire family will be living there in 2013, along with other cousins and relatives, so I will find out how deep is my love for Nevada is very, very soon.”

    --“If you don't move here I'll eat your brains.”

    --“Because we are just a little more fabulous than all the other boring states.”

    --“Snow-capped mountains, plenty of sunshine, and all-you-can-eat buffets rolled into a one glorious state.”

    --“Feels right.”

    --“We have more mountain ranges than any other state!”

    --“Vegas. Graboids.”

    --“It is an economically sensible place to live.”

    --“The Gold Rush!”

    --“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.”

    --“Lights, Dice, & Great friends.. Where else could one person want to be?”

    --“Burning Man...duh.”


    So, in just a few, short weeks. I’ll be packing up the Honda, and driving 2,400+ miles to my new home in the “Silver State”.


    Thank you to all who sent in your “list of love” -- I enjoyed reading each one and can’t wait to live in your state sometime soon.


    Cheers Here-A-Yearers!

  • 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.

    Cheers!

  • State your love - its time to vote for Here A Year's next location

    My time in PA is quickly coming to a close.

    As of today, I technically have eleven weeks (or 77 days) until I depart for my next location and adventure. Trust me, it won’t be an easy move as I feel there is still so much to see, learn, and do. Also, I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to all of my new friends and forged bonds...ugh.

    But alas, I must start thinking ahead as March 24th will surely sneak up on me -- like the quote says, “luck favors the prepared” {Louis Pasteur paraphrase} -- I need to begin laying the foundation of my next journey thoughtfully and intentionally.

    Of course, this means I will be doubling my duties as I am still 100% immersed in the world of Pennsylvania, plus being 100% in preparation mode for what lies ahead. If I do this right, you shouldn’t notice a decrease in blogs, videos, or volunteer hours - but you will start to see the coming project woven into the conversation stream.

    To begin, I want you to know that voting will be a little different from last time. I’ve had many (and I mean many) people message me, telling me they can’t wait to vote for my next location. As much as love getting those notes, I must be open and as honest as possible with all of you -- so -- after much research (and lots of good counsel), I’ve decided to change the methodology of voting.


    Here’s what I mean:
    Voting will begin on Monday, January 7th and will end on Monday, January 21st (9:00pm-EST) - anyone can cast ONE VOTE for a state they would like me to move to for a period of one year - along with this vote, they must tell me what they LOVE about that state (i.e. why I should move there) - then, on Friday, February 1st, I will announce which state I will be moving to based upon its LIST OF LOVE.


    It’s not that I don’t trust the populace, I do, but I want to make sure all the states get a fighting chance -- not just the big territories with lots of voices.


    So -- what are you waiting for? Start spreading the love! (Click to tweet.)


    Head over to hereayear.com/vote to cast your ballot for my next chapter.



  • Jump-start your volunteer adventure


    A way of life is picking up steam here in the United States; one that is marked by adventure and charity. Whether it's college students trading a bikini for a paintbrush during spring break, retirees joining the Peace Corps, or a twelve-year-old walking across America for the homeless, they all want the world to be a better place, and really, who doesn't?

    There's just something about adding curiosity and variety to the mundane. It can trigger passion, creativity, awareness, appreciation, and motivation; all while renewing the person within.

    It's like cleaning your house. If the task is seen as a chore or something that just has to be done, it's usually not enjoyable. But when an opportunity arises to clean someone else's house, it's seen as a journey into the wild. Perspective makes a world of difference.

    Here are three suggestions to jump-start your volunteer adventure:

    1. Experiment, experiment, experiment - So much of life is simply identifying what one likes. The same goes with volunteering. There really is something for everyone out there, you just have look. Start your search by going to allforgood.org, createthegood.org, or idealist.org. Also, try typing in your city's name along with "volunteer opportunities" to see what you find.

    2. Form a Mega-Zord - Sorry for the Power Ranger analogy, but talk about the perfect picture to say that working with others makes a big difference. Surround yourself with like minded individuals and hit the road serving others.

    3. Open your eyes - When you wake up in the morning, make a conscience decision that you will spend the day looking for ways to make your community better. You'll probably have a list full of ideas by lunch. Take one of those items and make it your project. Once completed, repeat the exercise until there is nothing left to change.

  • Packing for Pennsylvania: My 100 Items


    If your house was on fire and you could only save three things, what would they be?

    Fun icebreaker question -- I know.

    My answer is pretty traditional and boring -- computer, camera, safe box.

    But what if you could save 100 items? {Now we’re talking!}

    I’ve been thinking about this silly scenario a lot lately as it has been a firestorm of cleaning and packing around here as I vacate my current accommodation. I find myself just standing there with an item in my hand, asking the same thing over and over...”do I really need this?”

    While I don’t own a lot of things, I still think of myself as having too much.

    Do I really need this cable? Can I get by with six pair of underwear...or do I really need seven? Do they make running shorts that double as a swimsuit? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    Now, I’m not going to get all “zen” on you (that’s Leo Babouta’s job), and I’m definitely not trying to come across as self-righteous (because I don’t believe it’s evil to own more than a hundred things...or even a hundred-thousand things) -- I simply want you to know that it’s possible to have a good time in life without having a lot of things.

    So, here are my 100 items:

    • 2002 Mazda Protoge
      HP Laptop
      Wireless Router
      Canon T2i Camera
      Tripod
      Samsung Galaxy S Cell Phone
      Power strip
      Tent
      Sleeping Bag
      Thermos
      Pull up bar
      Recorder (Musical Instrument)
      Rook (Card Game)
      Farkel Dice Game
      Scale
      Tuperware meal containers
      Leatherman Utility Blade
      Pillow
      Blanket
      Blanket
      Safe box
      Jeans
      Jeans
      Kakis
      Dress shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      T-shirt
      Long sleeve T-shirt
      Polo Shirt
      Cotton Shirt
      Cotton Shirt
      Light Hoodie
      Medium Hoodie
      Heavy Hoodie
      Wool Coat
      Scarf
      Stocking cap
      Gloves
      Under shirt
      Under shirt
      Under shirt
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Underwear
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Socks
      Running Shorts
      Swimming Trunks
      Glasses
      Razor
      Hair Trimmer
      Nail clippers
      Toothbrush
      Knitting Sticks
      Backpack
      Crock pot
      Convection Oven
      Roadside Repair Kit
      Suitcase
      Storage bin
      Storage bin
      Shoes
      Shoes
      Moleskin notebook
      Pen
      Battery Charger

    {Looks like I only have 84 at the moment. I know there is more and will update it as it as I finish packing. Also, please note that I don’t count items like toothpaste, shampoo, or food as they are commodities.}

    Consider writing your own list. It really was eye opening and helped me to focus on what I value most.

    Anything I missed? And what would you save from your house if it was burning down?

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