Woman ‘jet hikes’ across country riding in private planes

Amber Nolan
’s story might not sound all that original at first. She’s attempting to hitchhike around the country. But this is what sets her journey apart: Nolan is traveling to all 50 states “jethiking” by private plane .

Nolan, a travel writer, started her journey in July 2012 and only has eight states to go before completing the unusual voyage. She’sbeen chronicling her journey on the Jet Hiking blog, and on her Facebook page, where she logs each of her stops along the way.

“As a travel writer, I've been all over the world but I hadn't seen much in my own backyard,” Nolan said in a recent interview with the Daily Mail. “I wanted to experience the United States in a unique way and started brainstorming ideas.”

She’ll have officially knocked out all 50 states once she’s able to hitch a ride to Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Most of the states on that list are clustered next to each other, so it’s entirely possible Nolan could wrap up her quest before too long.

Still, the trip has been far from easy.

“I spend hours and hours contacting people,” Nolan said. “I'll go to the airports and tell people what I am doing and wait around - and sometimes it is days before I find someone heading the direction I am.”

She’s even run out of money along the way, taking temporary jobs in some of the 250 towns she has visited along the way until she has the funds, and a ride, to head out on her next leg of the trip.

Interestingly, Nolan is not a pilot herself but said she would like to get her pilot’s license once her journey is complete. And she hopes to inspire other travelers around the world to consider her experience as a viable alternative to typical hitchhiking and couch surfing ventures.

"I think an organised ride-share system between pilots and travelers to cut costs on both ends could make this a reasonable option for travelers with a limited amount of time,” she said. “I definitely recommend visiting a local airport or flying club and seeing what the general aviation side is all about."