WAHOO – Summer is a great time to get out and explore some places. Two Wahoo natives this summer have done exactly that.

Since April of this year, Seth Varner and Austin Schneider have been roaming all around the state as they aim to visit all 531 communities in Nebraska. They also plan on visiting some landmarks and state parks throughout the state along their journey.

“We plan on visiting all the incorporated towns, ” Schneider said. “In addition to that we also try to visit some historic markers, some monuments or anything that has a little bit of history in it, we like taking pictures of that stuff. ” 

After last weekend’s trip up towards the South Sioux City and Winnebago areas, Varner and Schneider are already over halfway through their travels.

“Up to this point we just went over the halfway mark,” Varner said. “We’ve already visited the whole southeast portion of the state, the east central part and the northeast. Basically we’ve been everywhere east of Hastings. After that we’ll begin our one big road trip out west.”

This idea came up at a young age, when Varner’s father first put the notion in his head. After getting a taste of traveling and seeing the sites a decade ago, and having COVID-19 cut their school year short at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Varner and Scheider decided to make this thought a reality.   

“When I was about 10 years old my father and I did something similar to this only we only got to about 30 or 40 towns in Butler and Saunders County, and then it just died off,” Varner said. “My dad kind of knew realistically it wasn’t going to happen, but being a 10-year-old I was optimistic about it and I always wanted to go back and do it someday.”

“Here we are now 10 years later and the coronavirus happens and Austin and I come home from UNO, and we had nothing really to do, aside from video games, play sports and work,” Varner continued. “One day I just went up to Austin and said, ‘Hey do you want to do this super road trip all over the state?’ He said, ‘Let’s do it!” and that’s how we got going.” 

Having visited over half the communities now, Varner and Schneider have seen some memorable places and look forward yet to seeing many more.

“One of the towns that stands out the most right now is Carroll, Nebraska,” Schneider said. “They kind of had a welcoming parade where they had all these people out to greet us and we took  pictures with the fire trucks and all of that, and we both thought that was really cool.” 

The pair is eagerly anticipating their trip west and the sites they will see.

“We are also looking forward to visiting Chadron State Park. I’ve seen pictures of what’s out there and it looks really beautiful so we’re also really excited for that as well,” said Varner. 

Welcome committees have not been the only thing that have supported Austin and Seth on their journey. They opened a GoFundMe page to help with travel expenses. The results and support they have seen has truly been amazing to them.

“We set up a goal to reach $1,000,” Varner said. “It helps us cover gas, meals, possible car and lodging maintenance and we actually just recently hit our goal of $1K, and it’s awesome to see so many people support us as we look to travel the state. To give back, if we got to free museums and such we’ll leave a little donation with them. All the money we raise in some way is going to go towards our trips.”

All money that is left over from their travels, will go towards Schneider and Varner’s college expenses. You can support Austin and Seth with their travel expenses by entering this link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Visit531Nebraska. Follow their adventures at Facebook.com/Visit531Nebraska and on Instagram.

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