I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but I’m fairly certain it was over a glass (or two) of wine.

We were celebrating. The last of our four children was in college, and for the first time, in like, forever, we were feeling freer than birds and bubbling over with excitement. I personally saw myself lounging under a beach umbrella, while Paul envisioned digging up ancient civilizations; both of which are a bit hard to come by in the Corn Belt.

But there were some obstacles. First, although we had always considered ourselves good parents, we had always been terrible accountants. After three decades of married life we could barely rub two pennies together, and our financial situation wasn’t going to change anytime soon. We began to feel sorry for ourselves – oy vey, life is passing us by, what did we do to deserve this?

But then, we had an epiphany…

We could travel in our own backyard. I mean, Missouri is a pretty interesting state. No really! I mean where else can you see the world’s largest pecan, goose, and ball of string all within a day’s drive? Not to mention an entire park dedicated to dog with an exceptional IQ, and a hair museum. But we also realized willy-nilly travel would never work for us. We are simply too indecisive – so we needed a goal.

Map of Missouri

With the road atlas spread before us, we huddled together and got down to serious business – we really looked at our home state in detail. It wasn’t long before we noticed a lot of cities have very familiar names. For instance, about an hour north of Columbia is Paris, and a stone’s throw away is Vienna. And who knew Troy was so easy to find? We actually discovered there were dozens of Missouri towns with not only international and ancient names, but ones with names that mimicked famous cities in other states, ones named after other states, and even some that “borrowed” names from other countries.

Our goal suddenly became crystal clear: we would visit these small towns with more famous counterparts.

So, now we are on a mission – to go where no travel guide has gone before. To find out what makes each of these copy-cat cities tick, and then, compare and contrast them with their more famous namesakes.

And finally, we’ll blog about our adventures. Eventuality – we’ll compile our findings in a fun, funky guidebook.

But for now, feel free to follow along. Drop us a line if you hail from any of our destinations – let us know what famous attractions we should see when we visit. (Honestly, nothing is too insignificant – in fact, the quirkier the better).

We’re heading out – packing light and traveling heavy!

Molly and Paul Wright