how to lie with maps

An old meme, the visited state map. Mine would suggest that I am extremely well-traveled as far as the continental United States goes:

But a closer look reveals otherwise:

Note especially Montana, North Carolina, and Georgia. On the other hand, I did make a special effort to drive through the two inches of northern Idaho and into the first small town in Montana — in blinding rain no less — in order to have a beer at a local bar. This fares much better than Georgia and NC, which I drove through on the way out of the Smoky Mountains. I got out of the car, at the very least, and stepped onto the sweet sweet soil of both states. But that hardly counts.

I rather like the “Drink Rule” (airports don’t count, of course) as the litmus test of counting whether you have been to some given place. Since I created the maps above, I have visited Charlotte, North Carolina. This has created the oddity of making Charlotte a lone island in my U.S. Places Visited map. Some day I may have to connect it by driving there. On the other hand, I’m tempted to leave it an island with no terrestrial connection to the other places I’ve visited. It can be my personal Point Roberts.

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