Brent Weaver had already graduated from college with a degree in accounting and had snagged a job with the Federal government in Washington, DC before the travel bug bit him. Years later he set a goal to visit all 50 states by the time he was 50 years old. The then thirty-eight year old man reached that goal 12 years later, just shy of his 50th birthday.

And if 50 by 50 is not enough, he did the fiftieth state of the union last. Though he had not really planned it that way, it turned out that he was off to Hawaii as the last leg of his 50-state journey to attend the NFL All Star Pro Bowl game as a birthday present for himself. Talk about the big five-0!

One of the main things Weaver seeks out when visiting a city is the Black heritage trails and sites. Among the ones he has done are the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the Black History Museum in Boise, Idaho, the Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, the Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, the Little Rock Nine Historical Site in Little Rock Arkansas, and the Brown vs. Board of Education Historical Site in Topeka, Kansas. He encourages everyone to do the black heritages trails when visiting different cities because being there brings the history alive more so than reading about it in books.

The Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham (pictured top left) is a favorite historic site. One of his most memorable trails is the Civil Rights Trial in Alabama that includes Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham. “This trail is very significant to modern black life as we know it today,” he explains. “It makes you appreciate the sacrifices that so many leaders and freedom fighters have made.”

Weaver, a department manager with the federal government in D.C. also made it a point to visit memorials such as the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, HI and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.  He says that visiting land marks, memorials, and historic sites is a way of paying homage to those who came before us. Weaver experienced ecstatic feelings and awe when he visited major national parks like Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Glacier National Park in Montana, Acadia National Park in Maine and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota. “I have felt blessed to have been given the opportunity to travel to visit these places,” he says.

An avid sports fan, Weaver has traveled to attend NBA, NFL and Major League games, as well as horseracing events, track meets, and boxing matches. Well, boxing is a favorite as is Las Vegas, so he has frequented that city (ten times to be exact) where he did not hesitate to do the casino scene while there. Attending boxing matches in Madison Square Garden, Atlantic City and D.C. has also been high on his travel agenda.

Attending sporting events at NC A&T State University in Greensboro also had an edge, not only because it is his Alma Mater, but he loves visiting North Carolina where his mom and dad grew up, and many of his relatives lived. He also jumped at the chance to attend the Olympics in Atlanta, something he says he wouldn’t have missed for the world. When visiting Alaska, the usual sports spectator managed to get in a little fishing, catching a 14–lb salmon.

The accomplished 50-state-traveler future plans include visiting some more of the major cities as well as the capitals in each state. Weaver, who knew all of the state’s capitals by the time he was ten years old, wishes that he could have visited each of the capitals when visiting the states. Proud to have visited Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, he recalls that visiting the Capitol building there was the main highlight in for him.

He offers encouragement to all who aspires to visit all 50 states and says that it would help to thoroughly plan your visits. “Attending a state’s event would be a good time to visit because you would get to meet many of the people from that state as well as people from other parts of the country,” he says. “Also, the more things you plan to see the better because if one thing isn’t what it has been cracked up to be, you have other things to do and see.”

Weaver says that he has learned quite a bit during his travel, especially in terms of being better educated and informed from visiting the many historical sites and museums. He says that traveling has been therapeutic in that it helps him to relax and be at peace, and it has helped him to cope with the death of his youngest and oldest brothers, who both died prematurely. “I have also learned that although the country is huge, it is not as big as you think.”

With visiting each of the continents his next frontier, the self-proclaimed globetrotter says that one of the things in particular that he has noted is that people all over the country were generally nice and friendly. Despite different stereotypes that he has heard about people in different states, he says that he has learned that people are basically the same everywhere you go. And for this traveler: today the states, tomorrow the world.



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