Former Austin resident Cody Esser, aka Impulsive Traveler Guy, is a man on a 10-year mission. He wants to visit every county in the United States, and Texas was his first conquest. He hit all 254 jurisdictions in only 52 days.
Esser, 33, lived in Austin from May 2014 to February 2020, and now lives in Belleville, Wisconsin. He had originally planned to take a year to visit all of Texas' counties, but plans changed and his timeline was accelerated. He was forced to complete his journey between December 2019 and February 2020.
The final stop in his Lone Star trek was the Hill County Courthouse in Hillsboro. "It was a bittersweet moment as I really liked traveling throughout Texas," he wrote on his Facebook page, "but it was also grueling and I was exhausted. I was proud of what I accomplished!"
Esser is a faculty member for an online university, and that position lets him spend the weekends on the road. "Just like some people would spend the whole weekend hunting or fishing, I'll travel," he told County magazine.
In 2019, he and Victoria Burgess wed. "Victoria stays home most of the time that I travel," he said. "My style of travel is kind of grueling, where I'll often go from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. and then sleep in my car. If she does come with me, it is usually because we're going somewhere to visit family or friends." And they stay in hotels on those trips.
When asked which five places in Texas he would like to revisit in his trusty Ford Focus, he listed Palo Duro Canyon, Lockhart — for more barbecue, Sulphur Springs, Denton and the border by Eagle Pass and Del Rio.
His expedition may be entering a slower phase now that the Essers have a 6-week-old son, Austin, aka Impulsive Traveler Guy Jr. As of April 8, Esser had been to 684 counties, including some in Wisconsin, Iowa and Oklahoma. That number is roughly one-fifth of the U.S. total of about 3,100. He expects that his quest to visit all of them will take 10 years, but his latest count may stay unchanged for a while, he said, because taking care of his son is his top priority now.
To learn more about Esser's adventures and to see his photos and videos of county courthouses, road food and assorted oddities, take a look at his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/impulsivetravelerguy) and his blog (www.impulsivetravelerguy.com).