I decided to start a new journey called county collecting. I have never heard of county collecting until recently. As in, just last week. I had no idea it was a thing that people strive to accomplish. When I heard of it, I knew this is what I needed to do. Since moving back to the United States, after living in China for 13 years, I’ve had this feeling of inadequacy. A feeling that I should be striving for something greater than random travels.
After 15 months of bouncing ideas around, county collecting came to me in the form of a podcast. I have thought of various ways I could travel around the United States with the possibility of making it profitable in the future. I have thought of photography. I have thought of freelance travel writing. I have thought of being some sort of guide. Basically, ever since being away for so long, it is difficult to be confined to a specific area. I’ve been wondering how I could possibly earn a side income at something I enjoy doing. Every thought on the subject of figuring out life kept coming back to travel.
I’ve been listening to the GaryVee Audio Experience Podcast by Gary Vaynerchuk. The episode titled “Laziness Could Be a Useful Signal” (opens in a new tab) and the guest Jimmy asked Gary along the lines of, ‘Is it a good idea to visit every county and take photographs?’ Gary replied that if photography makes you happy, then do it. I immediately took an interest in the conversation. Traveling around taking photographs is what I’ve been thinking about for the longest time and now I have a “reason” or “sense of purpose” in accomplishing this feat.
The Idea: County Collecting
I’ve been to many places in the United States and, of course, I was always within a county. I didn’t necessarily know which county I was in at the time, but I believe that if I think hard about it I could probably come up with a better number. I’m not going to do that though. It doesn’t matter because I didn’t document the county in a meaningful way. I’m in the camp that if I am going to undergo a journey such as this, I need to document it rather than to simply pass through a county to make it count.
During my research into county collecting, there is a website called the Extra Miler Club (opens in a new tab) and it showcases the folks who have been to every county in the United States. It appears it’s based on an honor system of documentation. There is, however, a membership of $12 per year and in the members’ area, one can mark off the counties they’ve visited, I believe. I’m going to sign up for the membership to see what’s inside.
The club was founded in 1976 with two individuals. The most recent, #63 completed all counties in September 2019. I hope to be on this list someday only because it will mean that I will have produced an enormous amount of content from start to finish.
I would like to think I could complete this in a year. It’s possible, but I would need to visit eight counties a day to do it. A bit intense for me at the moment. The goal is to take my son along for the journey and see some cool stuff around the USA and see how long it takes. 5 years? 10 years? 20? If I had the funding I would go now and do it in a couple of years. But, we’ll take it one day at a time.