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50 States
100+ Households
375 Days
1251 Gallons of gas
29,403 Miles

Some Photos: (Over 2300!)
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Sylvan Lake Big Tree The Talented Margo Balanced from the Car Custer State Park Like a Pro

Latest Blogs: (437 total)
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Blog Archive
Jun 30 - Networking and More
Jun 8 - 141 Gas Stations
May 26 - Daily Fruit 2.0
May 8 - 624 Days in a Duffel Bag
Apr 30 - Bickering About Gas Prices
Apr 16 - We Are All Hokies
Mar 25 - A Small World
Feb 25 - Power to the T-Shirt
Feb 11 - Published in JPG Magazine
Feb 11 - 4 Best Bars in the United States

Daily Fruit

Q&A

Submit your questions about The Hometown Invasion Tour.  If there is anything you would like to know about how the project started, about me, the latest location, or anything else I will be happy to respond as soon as possible.  I look forward to hearing your questions! (For specific questions and contacting me please use the contact form)


Latest Questions

I was interested in traveling through all 50 states on one big road trip. Approximately how much did this trip cost you?
Submitted by Roman from brooklyn, NY

A: Gas cost me about $3,300. However, you can do that with a much more fuel efficient car and naerly cut the price in half. I haven't totaled everything, but I did the entire trip for less than $10,000.

Have you seen the video on YouTube called 'Where The Hell Is Matt'? It's a bit like what you're doing; you should check it out. I read about you in U.25 and wish I'd thought of your idea first!

Anyway, if you ever stop in the central Florida area, hit me up.

Submitted by Haylee from Maitland, FL

A: Matt has a great project going! It's great how many unique things are going on out there.

Hello, I have always Wanted to do a big trip like you are doing but my QUES. is how do you go about getting sponcerd and where do you find hosts? I also wanted to know if you ever wory about your host being a mad man/woman? thanks a ton Kelsey
Submitted by kelsey from pulaski, WI

A: The first question is answered earlier. However, as for crazy people, sure I was worried. But I never felt my safety was in jeopardy, never! People are good. You have to learn to put your worries behind you. It just comes down to attitude, the glass is half full.

Hi! I am so amazed by what you are doing! I wish I would have known about your journey sooner. I would have liked to meet you when you were in Oklahoma. I was wondering what camera(s) you use?
Looking forward to seeing more of your photography,
Kimberly

Submitted by Kimberly from Tulsa, OK

A: I used a Canon 30D. Refer to previous question.

What got you started on this GREAT ADVENTURE and how did you get all those sponsors
Submitted by Jesse from La plata, MD

A: A couple college degrees, a little creativity, and a lot of hardwork and passion! But the biggest thing was I used all my resources. Especially with the web anything or anyone can be just a few clicks away. Be smart out there, use your resources, be ambitious and dream big. And it doesn't hurt to be professional, write up a nice press release and sponsorship proposal.

Hey Justin!
I love photography....and i just got my first professional camera like 6 months ago and i was wondering wat kind of lenses u use the most and would recommend to me...
Thanks!

Submitted by Erin from Huntington Beach, CA

A: I used a Canon 30D on my trip with a 2GB card and a battery pack to hold a 2nd battery. It was a great setup. I only had a couple basic lenses, but I prefer using wide angle lenses as much as possible.

Hi!
I was just wondering how you pick a host. I mean, you don't meet them beforehand, right?
So how do you know that they're good/nice people that really want the best for you?
How do you end up picking your host?
And when you were first starting out, how did you get people to host you?
Did you advertise in various cities?
Thanks!

Submitted by Elle from Sacramento, CA

A: Well, at no point did I know if my hosts were going to be nice or hospitable, I had to go with my faith. Hosts were usually planned 2-3 weeks in advance. At the beginning of the trip I made a lot of connections through friends of friends, friends of family, and family of friends. After burning out a lot of those connections I made sevreal contacts through press and my website. Also, the snowball effect, meet someone in FL and they know someone in GA, they know someone in SC, and so on.

When are you coming to Vermont?
Submitted by Gina from Bennington, VT

A: Sorry, I was already there! But I'll be back. It's one of my favorite places.

have you visited any of the military bases while on your trip?
Submitted by melissa from Fayetteville , NC

A: I have not stayed on any military bases for my official hosts, however I have visited a couple bases and stayed with both active and retired servicemen.

have you been to Alaska? incredible State!
Submitted by Sheri from Springfield, MO

A: Alaska is amazing! I think Alaska is the one state that everybody needs to visit. Incredible is right!

Who's your favorite host??? :-) Just kiddin! Don't answer that....
Submitted by Jenna from Clanton, AL

A: My favorite host? Well that depends on how you measure it. But everyone has been awesome! I didn't think there would be tears from people when I left, or people bending over backwards to make sure I was comfortable and accomidated with everything I need. People are simply amazing!

Im actually from Baraga also, is this whole trip just simply a self based discovery thing or is there a point to it. It seems to me all the trouble of raising money and getting a car donated to you should be used for something more... substantial in the end. I love the idea I really do as Im a big travel freak myself. Im just wondering if there is something more to it? Or if your considering donating this car when you are done to some kind of charity? Simply curious I guess :D
Submitted by Vikki Santti from Mount Pleasant, MI

A: It's not all about self-discovery, that's for sure. However, naturally, I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, about myself, the country, people, family, careers, marriage, adventure, and etc. The self-discovery is just one dimension of hundreds. I'm not sure if there is a "point." It's an adventure, a journey, and like so many great quotes say, when it's a journey it's not about the destination. As for the Jeep Compass that's not my say, I'm borrowing it for the duration of the trip and then we'll see. Thanks for checking in!

What exactally is ice blocking? and how do you do it? and why do you do it? How did it get its name?
Submitted by Nicole Riegger from Longview, WA

A: Well, I'm no professional. I had just one ice blocking experience while I was in Boise and it was simply amazing. Ice blocking is simply sliding down a big grassy hill on an ice block. But you go fast! It's very hard to stay balanced. And why? Why not!

I just got home, but coming into town, I saw you in front of me! Are you really in Wilmore? I hope you have a great time in Wilmore!!
Submitted by Janet from Wilmore, KY

A: Yes yes! I was in Wilmore and now I'm gone. Thanks so much for checking out the website though and please keep in touch! Thanks!

I was wondering if you stopped here while you were in California. I wish I had known about your tour sooner because I would have invited you here. We have the best amusement park. Six Flags Magic Mountain. It has the best roller coasters. I hope your trip continues to be safe. Let me know if you will ever be here again.
Submitted by Brenda kelleher from Santa Clarita, CA

A: Unfortunately one of the tough things about my trip is that it's always hit or miss. There are lots of people who have been out of town or busy when I'm here or there. But hey, I have to save something for round II, right? And I have a feeling I'll be making it back to California.

Hi! I'm Ethan's Aunt Karen and Mary Foretich is my 'other' mom. You're being hosted by the best!! That woman is my hero!

Love your pictures and your website. You've got some incredible photos (especially the ones of that Star Basketball Player Ethan! I really like the one of the flag at Miss. City, too.
I intend to check out more pictures & info on your website. It's fascinating. What memories you'll be able to share with your kids and grandkids and maybe even your great grandkids! Cool!
This is my question: What type of camera are you shooting with? The quality of the pictures on your website is outstanding!

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. You're a blessing to all those you touch, whether you realize it or not.
Godspeed!

Submitted by Karen from Gulfport, MS

A: I'm shooting with a Canon 30D and two basic lenses (unfortunately). I save about 1,000 photos a month on the trip and a guy named Teddy from Boise is the most photographed person on the trip. If I could afford it I would give free prints to anyone who wanted them. And these photographs will live with me for a long long time. Anyways, it was great seeing Ethan's basketball game! And wow, a buzzer shot for a kindergartener!

What are the Boise State University colors? It's 4 a report and i can't find it ANTWHERE!!!! Help.
Submitted by Delila from Mpls, MN

A: Blue and oragne! Go Boise!

Have you read Peter Jenkin's book, Walk Across America? It is a great book that seems at least remotely similar to your adventure. You should check it out. How much longer will you be in Stillwater?
Submitted by Leah thorp from Stillwater, OK

A: I started reading Walk Across America shortly before I left on my trip. I didn't get too far into it before leaving and I haven't had much time to read on the road, but there are quite a few travel books such as Jenkins' that I'm hoping to read. And I'll be here in Stillwater until Thursday morning, the 1st of March.

When will you complete your tour? I work for an experiencial marketing agency based in Atlanta, Ga and we are currently looking for someone like you to do a college tour for a magazine this September/October. It would be a way to get paid and travel to a number of states. I just wanted to reach out to you and see if you would be interested in the opportunity.

I enjoyed reading about your journey!

All the best - John Stewart

Submitted by John from Atlanta , GA

A: John, this sounds fantastic. Colleges, touring, a magazine, it can't get much better. Please keep in touch. I won't be finishing up the tour until mid-September most likely. After that I will probably take a month or so just to catch up with all my thoughts and summarize as much of the trip as possible. I have a feeling that's when I'll be getting the most requests for press and lots of presentations to classes and etc. I'd love to learn more about the agency and magazine. Sounds like a great opportunity.

ihave a couple quistions for you one of them are do you know my mom she works at Thomes Ford her name is Cindy wadaga i think that is were you got your car from or do you know eny other people like Bill kalto Randy Bell or Dan larson please send me anweres back theys are inportant quitions because i am doing an SA on you thanks
Submitted by jackiewadaga from Baraga, MI

A: Yes, of course I know your mom! I worked at Thomas Ford for a short time while she was there. However, I did not get my car from there. I'm driving a 2007 Jeep Compass, which is a Chrysler vehicle. I worked with Bill and Randy for several years, they're great! I consider Randy to be a good friend of mine and a role model. The two of them always have great stories to share. Good luck on your school paper! Go Baraga!

So you are going to Hawaii, my question is where you leaving the beautiful Jeep at?

PS. I hope you have a great trip. It looks great from the website!!!!

Submitted by Elaine from Livonia, MI

A: I left the Jeep Compass in El Segundo at another hosts' house while I was in Hawaii. I'm thankful that they were kind enough to look after it for me for the week. But I did bring the flashlight from the Compass so I can still technically say it went to Hawaii.

what do you plan to do after this trip?
Submitted by moomoo from green bay, WI

A: The dream of dreams is to write a book, a coffee table type book with various photos, stories, people I've met, and things I've seen. But I also say that this is just a trial round, practice, I have plenty more ideas to carry this out.

Hey i am going to Europe next summer for sixteen days is there any opinion that u can give me to be confident and just any other advice since u are embarking on this great adventure which i think is totaly cool!!!!!!
Submitted by Cassie from Casper, WY

A: Stay open to things and don't pout. It's difficult to be in a place that's not familiar, you have to be patient, open, understanding, and willing to try new things. You have to be optimistic, excited, and eager to see different things. Lots of energy is a must. Lots of pictures is a must! And a good attitude will carry things further than you can imagine, it has for me.

Hey i thought that its really neat that u are visiting all the states and that u came to watch the kelly walsh band(i played that flute) lol but any ways i have one question for you when did u get the idea and how did u plan it all to do this casue i have to imagine that it is pretty expensive to plan all of this???
Submitted by Cassie from Casper, WY

A: I first thought of it the summer before my senior year of college. I was thinking to myself, "What in the world am I going to do after I graduate?" I wanted to merge all my interests and my two degrees together. It is very expensive, so I planned every detail so I was able to answer questions from press, sponsors, and most of all my parents! Aside from planning every detail I pulled together every resource I could think of.

Where is your hometown?
Submitted by Lucy from sioux falls, SD

A: My hometown is Baraga in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It's a small town of about 1,300 people. And it's in one of the most beautiful place in the country... four full seasons of it!

Hi Bugsy - Didn't know you by that name when you were at Camp Michigamme - (I was manager in the 90s) - If you need a place to stay in Montana or Washington state let me know! I have relatives there. Godspeed!
Submitted by Alan from Michigamme, MI

A: Sounds good to me. Be sure to check your e-mail, I can definitely use a place in Montana and Washington. Basically... the more the better. Incase something falls through or I can at least meet up for coffee with people along the way.

Hi,
I hope you are planning to visit the District as well. It is both a city and...more. Let me know if you want people to meet, places to go.

Submitted by Renee from Washington, DC

A: I will definitely be spending a week in DC. No doubt about it. it's a long ways from now, so more details to come as I get to that area of the country.

Aw yes. I believe Carl Sandburg did that in around 1897. Except he road the rails for a couple years to get the feel of our country at that time. Sometimes we need to refresh others expeditions with modern day ideals. Good luck on your journeys!
Submitted by Daryl from Odebolt, IA

A: Thanks! It's already been a great taste of the United States on this trip. I couldn't ask for more.

Hey Bugs, if you're down this way, I'll fix some pasties for you, plus treat you to our wonderful southern cooking. Just let me know, as you know, pasties take a while to make. :)
Submitted by Rocky from Tampa, FL

A: Pasties in Florida? That just doesn't sound right. But hey... count me in! I'd be happy to eat pasties on the beach instead of in middle of winter.

In your "about" section you mentioned the ever increasing wealth gap. How do you plan on making sure there are no disparities in your "research". I know I found out about your upcoming journey through myspace, but who has myspace? I would think you would only be getting the top tier with that tool or any other multimedia tool. I think it's a great idea. . .I just wondered how you were going to make an effort to visit homes at different income levels. Best of luck with your research. Will you be posting your journals?
Submitted by Natasha from West Des Moines, IA

A: Great question. It's not so much about formal research. That's not the goal. It would be difficult to stay with a perfect representation of the US population. People are hearing about the project in several different ways. When in states I plan to meet more people of different social classes and etc. Since I don't know people in many states I'm hoping that other people can assist me in finding a diverse range of people.

Hi Bugsy, I meat your brother Adam when I was up at Camp Michigamme. He was in the cabin next to mine we named him Lester so next time you see him will you say hi for me and i think what you are doing is really awesome and i think you should do this on television because that is something you should do before writing a book.
Submitted by Alex from W. Bloomfield, MI

A: Alex, I'll remember to call my brother Lester from now on. TV is kind of scary! If it grows that big from just one big dream I had a year ago I'd be honoroed. We'll see. As for now one step at a time.

What happens if you run out of money?
Submitted by Scott from St. Clair Shores, MI

A: GREAT QUESTION! Hopefully running out of money won't be the case. I'm thankful for the contiuned support I've had from everyone so far. I feel that I can pull a strong backing across the country for the support. But if it comes down to it, I'll find a small job in the local town and bust my tail so I can get the trip rolling!

Saw your story in this morning's paper-Detroit Free Press.

Great story! Great idea!

My son lives in Charleston, SC ON A BOAT.
I know that your're already sponsored in SC but he would like to give you the opportunity to spend a night on his boat with him. He travels on business quite a bit and is from Michigan also. Matt would really enjoy meeting you. Depending on his schedule of availability and your timeline for SC, he and his girlfriend, Amanda, would love to have you be their quest for a night on the boat.

Please let me know if you're interested.

Thanks and best of luck to you!

Chris

Submitted by Christine Murphy from Charleston, SC

A: That'd be fantastic! I've always wanted to spend a night on a boat. Not sure why. Just out there in the great wide open water. It'd be peaceful. I'll be in touch.

Hey Bugsy!! It's Daniel, you know, the one that lived across from you in Mason Hall this past year. How cool is it that you have attracted media from across the State and country! It really does sound like a trip of a lifetime. I would be more than happy to sponsor a state. However, my question is, does one have to be from the state that they are sponsoring? I do know some families across the country, but all their states have already been sponsored. If I were to sponsor a state, I wouldn't have anywhere to tell you to go to, but I still want to donate! Let me know!! -- Daniel
Submitted by Daniel from West Bloomfield, MI

A: People do not have to have any affiliation with the state they're sponsoring. It's all about how much people would like to donate. Some people have been sponsoring states by taking a collection of funds with a group of people. Several ways to make it happen! It's endless. Best regards.

I looks like you've pushed your departure date... why is that? And have you been able to secure any corporate sponsorships? Keep pressing on! -Amy
Submitted by Amy from Asheville, NC

A: I knew from the beginning that the original departure date would be a big test to make happen. And that's alright. Things are moving forward and that's what's most important. And the first big sponsorship is right around the corner!

hey when will you be hitting up my home town newiberia la
Submitted by Michelle Camacho from NewIberia, LA

A: Michelle! Thanks for getting in touch. I hope things are going well in New Iberia. I won't be in LA for quite a while. It'll probably be something like the 20-30th state of the trip, at about a week per state. Keep in touch though, and we can meet up when I'm in the area!

What is your route? When and where do you plan to be in TN?
Submitted by c from Knoxville, TN

A: My first official stay will probably be in WI as I work my way along the northern US over to the west coast. Then I'll weave my way back along the south during winter and finish up in the east. TN won't be until late in the tour, probably somewhere around the 25-30th state I visit, which means the 25-30th week of the trip approximately.

If you could take one Pud with you on the trip, which would it be?
Submitted by Deuce from Port Huron, MI

A: Well there's a tough question. I'd take you, but I don't know if the fiance will let you go away for a year. So it looks like I'm stuck with one of the other three. I'd probably bring jimma' jammer.

I am a poor college student probably much like yourself but for the longest time I have been talking about doing this exact same thing. I'm much further behind than you obviously, so I guess you'll beat me to it but I think it's a fabulous idea. Therefore, I guess my question is could you use any help? Monetarily I can't help you much but if you could use help with anything else I would be more than willing. I agree with you that someone young needs to get out and get a feel for the true "state of the union." I have a few ideas that may help you out so if you have time between your fund raising and such, feel free to e-mail me. Anyway, glad to see someone is on the same page!
Submitted by Kelly from Hancock, MI

A: I CAN USE LOTS OF HELP!

1) encourage a group of friends or family to sponsor a state together
2) encourage your friends and family to nominate a host
3) spread the word! post the site online, send it to friends, and word of mouth is always great.

If anyone would like to help more extensively I'd be happy to have you on board. Please get in touch with me with the contact form and we can work on something!

Thanks!

Have you contacted anyone at NPR? I think this is a story they would love to cover!
I have shared your website with my scrapbooking message board friends who live all over the country. I've also shared it with my sister in Savannah who pointed out that your photo looks a lot like her oldest son!
Best wishes to you!

Submitted by Trina from Haslett, MI

A: I haven't contacted NPR yet. I hope to nail a few things down before I contact national media. But I did send my story to Oprah this week. Hey, you never know!

Thanks for the wishes!

I read about you in the Detroit/Oakland County Legal News - and I've sent your site to friends and family. Hope you get some sponsors! : ) In the meantime though, how close are you to financially being ready to go?
Submitted by Beth from Madison Hts, MI

A: Financially I have a long ways to go. It's the most challenging part of project. But I enjoy the challenge and I'm learning lots along the ways.

Thanks for sharing the project with others!

when will you be hitting texas ? what parts
are you wanting to see ?
thank you, diana

Submitted by Diana from Austin, TX

A: Texas will probably be about the 16-20th state I visit, depending on the route. Probably be there in December.

I've never been to Texas though! I'm looking forward to seeing any of the towns I'll be in.

How long are you planning on this trip taking? It sounds like the trip will be more about the families or people you stay with and maybe their little city as opposed to an entire state. (Sorry, that was only sort of a question) Good Luck!!!
Submitted by Steve from Houston, TX

A: The trip will be at least 9 months and no longer than 12 months. That gives me the approximate 4-6 days with each family. I'll have a more precise answer as the departure time nears.

And yes, it's more geared towards each town I visit rather than each state. But I have to go to every state!

I can imagine how you'd expect the people you visit to have an affect on you; but what kind of affect, if any, do you hope to have on the individuals you stay with?
Submitted by Angie from Lansing, MI

A: I imagine the folks I stay with will have more impact on me, than I will on them. If anything to just show them the good that can come out of opening their home to others and be inviting.

Have you been thinking about "hometown invasion" for a while now? or was it a spur of-the-moment idea?..if so..when did you discover this idea?
Submitted by Emily from Traverse City, MI

A: It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that started around July or August 2005. At the time it was the summer before my last year at MSU. I was working the sports camps at MSU and thinking about my future.

WHat kind of impact on the nation are you looking to have with this tour? Also, aren't worried about meeting the "crazies" while you're touring?
Submitted by Drea-Lou from Murrieta, CA

A: Impact: That's a big question. I want to encourage people! To see their country. To meet new people. To listen to others. To explore! We have this huge beautiful country!

Crazies: Well, I know it's going to be invevitable to meet some crazies. It worries me some, but you only live once, and I'm not going to live a life of worry. I'm probably crazier than they are anyways.

When do you leave?!
Submitted by Lindsey from L'Anse, MI

A: Idelly, I hope to leave by August. I've got a long ways to go, but am committing myself to this.

I'd help you, but I just spent all of my money on "Pay to Fix My Car"!
Submitted by Robin from San Diego, CA

A: Haha, I hear you on that one Robin. Thanks for the moral support though.