Newark, New Jersey

Among the states I hadn’t visited in the United States sat beautiful, isolated New Jersey. Beautiful because every state can be beautiful. Isolated because I’d been to every state that borders New Jersey and didn’t have a particularly compelling reason to make a special trip, other than to color it on the map of states I’ve visited.

After coloring in Louisiana earlier this month on the way to the Houf wedding, I started thinking again about my quest to visit every state by the time I turn 30. And that’s when I saw Jersey, lone little state, and figured I’d probably have to get it during my trip to New York City.

But then – surprise, surprise – I got to the airport to check in and get my boarding pass on the way to Bahrain, and they informed me that the reason they seemed to have trouble processing my ticket all the way to Bahrain was because I didn’t fly in and out of the same airport for the first leg of the trip. Instead, they said, I was flying into Newark, New Jersey and then flying out of New York City.

I didn’t really appreciate this at first. At first, I thought it meant I’d end up wasting my sort of lengthy stop in New York City just transferring from one city to the next. But then I started to realize the potential upsides.

For one, I’d get a new state to color, which is a bonus I’ve gone out of my way to grab in the (not-so-distant) past. For two, I’d get a forced chance to get out of JFK airport.

Turns out, I got to see the moonrise behind the New York City skyline, including the Statue of Liberty, along with a photo-ready look at the Brooklyn bridge with the sunset in the background, to say nothing of the rest of the fun I had during the airport switch.

And so, thanks to an annoying flight transfer, I added another state to my map and got a brief chance to saunter around New York City. The bonuses for this job just keep stacking.