I’ve had a life and a career that has allowed me to travel around the world. As I’ve said many times on-stage, “You’ve got to get out of your zip code. Go to a different Walmart. It really broadens you.”
My Father, from whom I inherited my wanderlust, encouraged me to run, go, see. And while my mother was afraid for me to even leave the house, she’d say a prayer and let me go.
And so, I had a passport before I had a driver’s license. England, Holland, Germany, Djibouti, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq. I remember what travel was like before 9/11 and actually watched it transform. Back then you could walk through security with full-sized toiletries, a bottle of water, and your dignity. I talk a lot about my travels in my book, “Real Women Do it Standing Up.”
But I think I’ve loved and learned the most from traveling around my own country. While it’s fun to think so, New York City is not the center of the universe. There are plenty of people from big cities with small minds and vice versa. If you never leave your neighborhood, it doesn’t matter how cosmopolitan your city is.
In Oklahoma, I saw real live buffalo. In Alaska, I froze my ass off and ate Alaskan King Crab Legs. In Arizona, I saw the Grand Canyon. In Miami, I melted into the sidewalk and developed a deeper appreciation for air conditioning. In North Dakota (or was it South Dakota) I sat in the flatbed of a pickup truck, parked on a mountain top and saw the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet. In California, I was introduced to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles and the delicacy that is Salt & Pepper Pork. In South Carolina, they serve grits with a side of grits.
As I traveled from state to state, learning what was special about each, I collected state-shaped magnets and put them on my refrigerator, building my own in-house map. I noticed they weren’t always made to scale. The Delaware magnet, for example, was almost as large as California.
Well, this weekend I’m proud to say that I’ve at last reached the top left corner of the country; the nation’s 42nd state, and my 50th: Washington! And it’s as beautiful as I’ve heard. It’s been surprisingly hard to find a cup of coffee though. They should work on that. (Yes, I’m being totally sarcastic.) Coffee shops abound. With so much easy access to caffeine, I don’t know how anybody sleeps here.
Delightfully, I’ve come to Washington State on business. As part of the Ladies of Laughter Funny and Fabulous Tour I had a show last night in Olympia (the capital) and tonight in Bellingham. If you’re here I hope you can come out to the show and celebrate my uniquely American accomplishment and have a great laugh with some very funny women. If not, who knows, there are 49 other states I might pop up in.
And when I do, run, go, see.