TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) An Ohio couple is making their way across America, and were in the Magic Valley Wednesday.
Jim and Mary Competti were in the Magic Valley, on their way to visit all 50 states. (Source: KMVT)
KMVT sat down with Jim and Mary Competti, before they headed out to hike at Shoshone Falls, and found out memories are better than possessions.
“We wrote an article on one of our blogs about living a more simple life, you know, trading possessions for experiences. And so we decided when we retire, we said one day we're going to travel the U.S., because the U.S. has so much to offer,” Mary said.
That led to the Competti's to where they are today, a month and a half into a yearlong journey to all 50 states.
The couple have been working with a couple of people to make it a reality, and even had a trailer company sponsor them.
“And this has been phenomenal for us,” Jim said. "You know, to travel around in an 18-foot, fully enclosed camper that has everything we really need, but small enough that we can fit it anywhere."
The husband and wife duo are both retired, and their four children are grown up, so they decided there was no better time.
“We just wanted to experience it while we could," Jim said. "You know, I just turned 50, somehow, you know, she got to retire early, and she also gets to turn 50 in our last state, in Hawaii. But we're at the age where we can still do all this stuff, and we wanted to do it now."
Eight states into the journey, they can say they've made plenty of memories so far.
“It's been a really great experience, and to see all the different sites that we would have never saw, unless we went through each state, so it's been an incredible experience as well,” Mary stated.
“And people. You know, that's the thing for us more than anything. A lot of the stories we tell everyday are about the people we meet," Jim said. "I think that's been the greatest thing for us. We make a lot on new friends, in a lot of new places."
“Absolutely,” Mary agreed.
It’s also been a learning experience.
“It's neat to see the different ways people live, but also at the same time, how really everybody is the same,” Jim stated.
“It’s been really neat going to each state, because each state, we try to experience what the state has to offer. And one of the things we’re doing in every state is, is we’re trying to eat the food that the state is known for,” Mary continued, “So we had never heard of runza sandwiches in Nebraska, we never heard of knoephla soup, and fry sauce in Utah."
Jim said that while they do want to see the big tourist attractions, there's something else they want to see as well.
“Small town America and back roads America, that's where it's all at," Jim said. "It's where we've had our most fun, it’s where we meet the most people. When you're in a major metropolitan city, yeah we want to see some big sites, but we both get really excited when we know we're going to the smaller sites and the smaller towns. Maybe because that's where we're from, but also because we get to experience what it’s really like."
The couple also has a map on the back of their trailer, putting a sticker up for each state they've spent a night in.