The thirst to travel somewhere new, take on new experiences and see new places is a thirst I have had most of my life. Many would call this wanderlust. So I suppose that makes me a “wanderluster” (for lack of a better word). And as many of you know from previous blog posts, I am taking on the lifelong goal of visiting all 50 states. So many people spend so much time traveling outside of the country to see new sights, however, they often forget that even just in one single country (in this case, America) each state differentiates so much in terrain, weather, people and places. I have experienced that first hand, especially with my most recent travel to state no. 18, South Dakota.
Depending on which city you are visiting, South Dakota is not too bad of a drive from Indiana. In my case, I was headed west towards Beresford, South Dakota. An itty bitty city outside of Sioux Falls with a population that just barely scrapes 2,000. Because the city lies on the southernmost, East tip, the drive was just around 12 hours. A drive that can be comfortably completed in just a single day.
Because I have not had the opportunity to travel very far west, I was in absolute awe of the endless miles of complete openness South Dakota had. It was absolutely beautiful. I also became very fond of the small, quaint towns found out West. People were good and honest, and life was far more simple than it is in the bustling cities I am used to.
Additionally, I loved being able to see an entirely different world than I am used to. South Dakota, as I mentioned before, is full of wide open spaces. However, it is also much more hilly than Indiana, and part of it is filled with wonderful mountains.
Naturally, while visiting the state, I had to visit Mount Rushmore. This iconic monument is set in Black Hills. This area was absolutely gorgeous, and unlike anything I had ever seen before. And of course, Mount Rushmore was mesmerizing, and much larger in person than I had expected.
One of the highlights of this trip was being able to go over Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills in a helicopter. Not only was it my first time in a helicopter, but it was also incredible to get to see nature like that from up above.
Like I previously mentioned, I adored the quaintness of both Beresford, and all of the other small towns I visited. People waved at one another as they passed by on the road. People were not as eager to lock their cars and house doors each and every time they left. They did not have as much to fear as we do in other parts of the country. At one point, I passed by the smallest town I believe I will ever encounter. This little place was called Nora, and according to the town sign, the population was five. I could not believe it. Just in my household alone do we have six people! That meant my family could pack up and move out west and become a town!
Another place I had the opportunity to see was the Badlands. The Badlands is an enormous National Park, and completely unlike anything else I had ever seen.
When I stood up on the rocks and looked out (as seen in the photo to the right), I could not believe what I was seeing. Now that is something you do not see in Indiana.
During my first real trip out West, I finally had the opportunity to experience a side of the country I had never seen before. It was beauty incomparable to anything else. Life was slower and simpler. I could not have asked for a better first trip out West, and the opportunity to cross state no. 18 off my list.