In 2011 they quit their jobs, sold their house and gave away their possessions to travel around the world for a year with a Rocky statue. They're now global nomads–completing an epic American road trip to visit all 50 states. I asked them about their travels here in the USA and get their global perspective on road tripping with Rocky ...
Q: Michael has been to 49 states and Larissa been to 42. What do you guys have left and how long do you think it will take you to finish?
A: Larissa has the upper Midwest and Hawaii left to visit while Michael just has Hawaii. Later this year we're driving cross country so Larissa will pick up her remaining mainland states and then we're off to Hawaii where we'll both get #50 together. Yes we are travel geeks who keep track of such things. Our original goal had been to go to all 50 by age 50 but that didn't happen so how about "50 states by 55"?
Q: You guys travel around the world, what are you're favorite things about the USA?
A: We like to travel slowly, staying for a month or more at a time in each place. We usually rent apartments through Airbnb so we are practically citizens of "Airbnb World." It's hard to come up with "exotic" in America that compares to far-flung corners of the globe but Las Vegas was a blast. We don't gamble so we went there for 10 days with the goal of never setting foot in a casino and found out there is so much to see and do there. Larissa went aerobatic stunt flying with Sky Combat Ace where she did barrel rolls and flew the plane herself in a 360 degree loop. (Michael was content to stay on the ground for that one.) We also operated heavy construction equipment at Dig This, shot Uzis at Gun Garage and renewed our marriage vows with Elvis at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. How many cities offer all that?
Near the mist of Niagara Falls we were also wowed by the dynamic city of Buffalo, NY and learned that sometimes the overlooked places offer the most interesting stays. We spent a day working at Mazurek's, the last of the old-time Polish bakeries, arriving at 6 AM to make the donuts and meeting quite a few local characters who are full of pride for their city. We also just returned from Alaska and were really blown away by the scenery there. Pictures don't do it justice. To anyone who wants to go to New Zealand to see The Lord of the Rings scenery you can go to Alaska instead. It's just as awe-inspiring and much closer. Our Rust's float plane tour where we flew over a glacier and landed right next to it is one of the most exciting things we've done anywhere.
Q: How do you support your "nomadic" lifestyle? How do you decide where you're going next?
Q: How many states has Rocky been to? Does Rocky have a favorite besides PA?