Nathan Fluellen of World Wide Nate is an adventure traveler-turned-TV-host who’s visited 50 countries and six continents while bringing an entertaining and joyful perspective along the way. Now he’s finished an important bucket list goal of visiting all 50 states in the US.
Visiting His 50th State in a Rented RV
To complete Nate’s bucket list item to visit all 50 states, he rented a Class C RV through Good Sam Rentals and made his way through South Dakota to wrap up one incredible experience.
On this trip, Nate experiences the open road, an underground cave, goes ATVing on some trails, visits Mount Rushmore—one of America’s greatest National Memorials—and even takes to the sky in a hot air balloon while explaining the importance of living life without regret and checking off items from your bucket list.
Learn how to plan a bucket list road trip from World Wide Nate
Nate’s journey is a part of his bucket list, and his “Bucket List with Mom,” where he calls his mother along the way to bring her along (virtually) for the ride shows how you can make these trips meaningful. Follow Nate’s example and learn how to create your own bucket list by clicking the button below.
What is a bucket list?
A bucket list is a compilation of places and experiences you want to enjoy before you “kick the bucket.” Bucket lists are actually a celebration of life–an effort to live intentionally, without regrets.
When traveler Nate Fluellen, aka World Wide Nate, set out to see all 50 states, he gave it his own personal spin by bringing along his mom–virtually, that is. He coined the list “Bucket List with Mom,” and made it a point of video calling her as he set foot across new state lines.
“’Bucket List with Mom’ has been a fun time because, as an adult, I’m learning more about my mother. I have childhood memories but making adult memories is fun.” Said Nate.
Why a Bucket List Road Trip?
For many wanderlust travelers, the classic American road trip is the destination itself–a journey that personifies the American landscape, making it an important character in our life story.
But road trips need not be defined by gas station food, questionable hotels, or overnight rentals with disappointing views. In fact, road travel can be anything from a rugged adventure to a luxury experience.
An RV rental supplies road-trippers with both the vehicle and the destination. Worldwide Nate says of his bucket list RV trip, “The RV experience was fun because of the freedom it offers to go and sleep where you want. It was a different way of living because you’re off the grid but still have the amenities of a home or a hotel in one vehicle.”
Stay comfortable in an RV’s cozy confines. Tuck into a hot meal made fresh in your own kitchen. Sink into a clean bed at night. And never stay anywhere without a good view again.
Ready to plan your bucket list road trip? Grab a pen and paper, make yourself a cup of coffee–let’s get planning. No better time than a brand new year to make plans for the future you wish to see.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Think of your hobbies and passions, new and old.
Love antiquing at rural brocantes, thrift stores, flea markets, and vintage fairs? Hop in an RV and hit all the best collector venues in each state.
Have a love for baseball? Travel to see games in all 30 MLB stadiums and savor the local flavors along the way: a Skyline Chili dog in Philly, or a Chicago Dog at Wrigley Field, just to name a few.
Fancy yourself a history buff? Travel deeper into the country and learn more about the beginnings of the land you call home.
Consider new skills you want to learn.
Have you always wanted to learn to ride a horse on a real Montana ranch? Or maybe you’ve been dreaming of sailing the sweeping surface of Lake Michigan? Maybe you’ve never lived near snow, and mastering a course on cross-country skis is a challenge that excites you.
Consider the things you’ve always wanted to learn but never felt like you had the time. Add these experiences, classes, or lessons to your bucket list.
Rekindle childhood memories to remember something your younger self always wanted to do.
As you get older, it’s easy to forget your lofty childhood dreams. But those dreams are still there, along with your inner child. Get back in touch with this childlike curiosity and wonder.
Were you always spooked, yet fascinated, by Alcatraz island as a kid? Hop in the RV and head to San Francisco.
Maybe your child self dreamt about drinking all the world’s Coca-Cola flavors at the Atlanta headquarters. Sample them all and pop some in the RV fridge to enjoy later.
Or have you always wanted to get lost in the world’s largest corn maze in Illinois? Head to the midwest during harvest season and camp in America’s heartland.
Tap into all 5 senses. What do you want to smell, taste, see, or hear?
Memories are closely linked to our senses. The fresh scent of evergreens, fir, and cedar dripping in morning dew smells like the Pacific Northwest. The honeyed taste of the first Georgia peach pie of the season tastes like summer. The synchronized fireflies lighting up Appalachian forests in June look like magic. Wild wolves calling over the Alaskan tundra sound haunting yet beautiful.
Bucket list items don’t have to be monumental to be memorable. When we slow down and tune into our senses, the simplest act can be noteworthy, whether that’s eating a meal, enjoying a fire, or listening to the natural world around us.
Challenge your body and mind.
It’s easy to think of epic challenges that test the limits of your body as bucket-list items: cliff jumping, shark diving, spelunking, parasailing, big wave surfing, black-diamond snowboarding. Remember to always prepare and train safely for challenges such as these.
But also include bucket list challenges for the mind. If going full-speed is your normal pace, slow down and savor the northern lights, or listen to a live show in Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Check event calendars to see what piques your interest.
Traveling to see musicians is nothing new. It’s fun to follow your favorite bands and artists as they tour the country. The term “roadie” is slang for a stagehand or crew member on tour, always there at every stop to set up and help the tour go smoothly. Think about what you could be a “roadie” for, metaphorically speaking. Chase solar eclipses. Attend every bluegrass festival on the eastern seaboard. Follow the monarch’s migration. There are so many annual events to get excited about.
Ponder family, friends, or any other folks who have played a pivotal role in your life.
Do you have a family history you’ve always wanted to uncover, a culture you’re longing to get in touch with? Plan a road trip around reconnecting with distant family. Or visit a location profound to your lineage. Consider revisiting someone who made a big difference in your life to tell them how much their influence meant to you.
Step 2: Refine and Prioritize
Note the most important items.
Factor in company.
Step 3: Think in Themes
It can be intimidating to look at a long list of things to do and feel paralyzed. But a bucket list shouldn’t leave you waiting for “the right time” to do it all. Nor should you feel pressed to tick everything off in one weekend. Rather, this list is a long journey; things to do over the course of a lifetime.
Break up your list into achievable trips. Group your seasonal items together. If your bucket list includes “learn to surf in the Atlantic” and “feast on freshly caught lobster,” then a road trip to Maine in the summer will get you there. Or, consider organizing your list according to things you wish to do before you’re 30, 40, 50, etc.
Step 4: Gather Inspiration & Motivation
So you’ve made your list. Now what? Visualize yourself taking that bucket list road trip to keep you motivated and intent on achieving your goals. Browse rental RV’s and favorite the rigs you can see yourself cruising down the highway in. Place your bucket list somewhere you see every day, so you are reminded of all the adventures passed and the ones still to come. As you check off items from your list, add more!
Though Nate has ticked off his “visit all 50 states,” bucket list, there are still places he wants to see: “Zion and Sedona are high on my list, and those areas are incredibly remote, so visiting in an RV makes sense. It is on my adult spring break bucket list!”
Step 5: Find a community. Connect.
Traveling is transformative. It reminds us that we are all more alike than different. We learn this truth repeatedly the more we reach out and connect in the new places we go. No matter where you travel, you can always find community.
RVer communities, like Good Sam, help travelers connect in every corner of the country. Good Sam members are frequently seasoned RVers, and many live by the club credo: “Be good. Do good.” Good Sam members are often the first to lend a helping hand to those just starting out.
Helping someone, no matter how much, is a quick way to connect and foster that friendly traveler’s community. You never know what doors may open when you stop to help a traveler in need.
Step 6: Plan Your Route
When planning your route, decide first whether you wish your RV rental to be delivered onsite, or to drive it yourself.
Though hopping in the RV and letting the wind guide you may sound romantic, having a route in mind ahead of time will be far less stressful. Know where you’re going and what roads you’ll take to get there. Use free resources, like the Good Sam Campground Finder, to source campgrounds close to your destination.
Account for gas and meal stops so you arrive at your campsite before sundown. Or, pre-pack food so you can cook once you arrive. As a seasoned traveler, Nate found cooking consistent meals a favorable part of his trip. “…I cook every day when I’m home, and to have the same appliances to continue with my food plan in the middle of South Dakota was cool.”
If your RV rental includes delivery—just show up and enjoy the RV experience.
Step 7: Book Your Adventure Vehicle & Go
Embarking on your bucket list road trip is the easiest and most exciting part. Here’s Nate’s advice for RVers curious about renting an RV for their first road trip: “I would tell them to check out Good Sam RV Rentals to get the experience without the financial commitment of buying an RV. We can test out to see if they’re about that RV life. If they aren’t, at least they tried something new, and if they love it, then spread the word!”
It may take many trips to tackle your bucket list. Consider setting aside several weeks per year to take these road trips. Book your recreational vehicle on a recurring basis so you never skip a trip. Revisit and rework your bucket list as your interests and priorities change.
Pull up to your destination, park, and step right into the adventures you’ve planned. No further commute necessary.