We had the good fortune of connecting with Matthew Wurnig and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matthew, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe taking risks is key to a fulfilling life. Lots of people don’t like to take risks because there is no certainty behind it but sometimes in life the best things are on the other side of risk. It allows you to step out of your normal comfort zone and grow as a person.
For me, I’ve taken a handful of risks not knowing what the outcome would be. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but you have to prepare yourself properly in order to take certain risks. After college I landed a full time job where I had comfortable pay, good benefits and a supporting environment but something was missing. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I decided to quit my full time job out of college to take the jump and take my 50 Dates 50 States project on full time and travel the US. I didn’t know how it was going to be. I didn’t have the financial stability or the comfort of my own home anymore. I had to adapt, adjust and do my best to grow my brand.
Taking that jump and quitting my comfortable lifestyle was the best decision I’ve ever made. Take risks and chase your ambitions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think something that sets me apart from others is the passion I have for making people smile and my experience in doing that. It makes me feel so good when someone else has a good day or a good moment because of something I did. I remember it all hit me when I was an intern for the Bismarck Larks baseball team in North Dakota. I was helping graze a giant inflatable tooth through the crowd when a man from the upper deck of the stadium came running down with a big smile on his face and smacked the tooth and ran back up to his seat. The simple joy it brought him and all these other fans to touch a simple inflatable tooth for a couple seconds was incredible. I I thought to myself if I can take those couple seconds of joy and stretch that into a full 9 inning baseball game, I’d feel fulfilled. From then on I fell in love with being an entertainer.
After working for the baseball team for a couple years as the Director of Fun, I came up with the idea of 50 Dates 50 States. It all started when COVID first hit and everyone was at home quarantined. I thought to myself, everyone is stuck at home, bored, and seeing all this negativity happening in the world, let me create something to steer their attention away from that and entertain them. So I made it my mission to go on a virtual date with a girl in each state. I had no idea what I was doing but just took massive action and eventually found my way. I was going on 3-4 virtual dates a night and they were usually all in different time zones, which was hard to keep track of. I sat at my desk and had a giant whiteboard that I would schedule my dates on, then after I went on the virtual date I would right their name on my US map for which state they represented.
After completing all 50 states virtually, my followers that I had built up were asking what’s next. Thats when I decided to take it on the road and go meet all my dates in person for in person dates and the real 50 Dates 50 States experience.
I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned from this experience is how a simple idea can turn into something incredible. Like I mentioned before, I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning I just kept trying new things and putting stuff out there. Some things worked and some things didn’t. I’m most proud of the fact I didn’t listen to a lot of the naysayers or let things distract me from moving forward. I’ve been able to grow a following and accumulate millions of views and likes which makes me proud of my persistence throughout my journey. You have to keep a clear vision, never give up, take chances, and shoot for the stars.
I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason. It’s been great to travel across America, meet so many incredible people and see different lifestyles. When people see 50 Dates 50 States I want them to think of a journey that involves everyone. Something that everyone can relate to and get a sense of fun, humor, and excitement about that puts a smile on their face.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I will base this off of my hometown of Huntley, Montana since I’m currently traveling all over.
Growing up in a small town you have to make a lot of your own fun so if I had a friend come visit I’d show them the fun small town experience along with a taste of the bigger city.
I’d definitely take them 4 wheeling down the backroads and by the river. It always fun to cruise on a four wheeler to see farm animals, maybe some wild life, friendly neighborhoods and so on. I’d show them the little town of Worden and Huntley where we could grab an iconic brownie or donut from the local grocery store “The Merc” and probably some soft serve ice cream next door at the “Mini Merc”. I’d take them up to the golf course where we could hit a couple balls on the driving range then pop into the pro shop for a drink from some old friends. I’d most likely round up some of my best friends and have a bon fire at my house or at Anita Damm.
Then I’d show them around the city of Billings, MT. I would definitely show them the rims, which overlooks the entire town of Billings. We would probably go up at night to see the city lights and pull out a couple lawn chairs, listen to some music, spit some sunflower seeds and maybe even light up a cigar. During the day I’d want to take them to eat at either Mooyah for some burgers or the old restaurant I used to work at “Walkers Bar and Grill”. It would be awesome if there was a rodeo in town because it’s always fun for someone to experience a rodeo in Montana! Then I’d take them out for some drinks at “Hooligans Sports Bar” for Power Hour where drinks are 2 for the price of 1.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a lot of people that have helped play a part in my journey along with being big supporters. Here are some people I’d like to shoutout.
My 50 Dates – My dates are amazing. They wanted to be part of an experience and didn’t know where it would lead. I’d like to thank all of them for being the genuine, supportive and unique girls that they are.
Family – My Dad did so much to help maintenance my old 2001 Ford F150 with almost 200,000 miles to travel to every state in the US and be prepared for my trip. My mom is my biggest fan where she always checks in, shares my posts and is always there to talk. My talented sister who designed my original logo and created different merch designs and graphics to help lend a hand in my journey. I can’t thank my wonderful family enough for their efforts in my 50 Dates 50 States experience.
Alex Winchell – One of my best friends who helped design my whole entire website. Without his knowledge, expertise and friendship I wouldn’t be where I am.
Wyatt Snell – Another one of my best friends who took the risk of coming on the road with me at the beginning of my journey to help film and build the brand. He didn’t want me to be alone on the road and wanted to be there to help me out and I can’t thank him enough for his support on and off the road.
Sponsors – All my sponsors that wanted to be part of my journey and took a chance on a small town Montana kid. I can’t express my gratitude for their support, connections, and opportunities created. It wouldn’t be possible without them.
Followers/Fans – All my followers and fans that have been entertained by my journey. They are why I try my hardest to entertain. Their support and encouragement means everything.
Facebook: 50 Dates 50 States
Youtube: 50 Dates 50 States
Other: TikTok – @50dates50states