Podcast Episode #21: Flexibility in the Parks, ft. Canyonlands & Congaree

In travel and in life, flexibility is usually the key. We had planned and mapped and reserved as much as possible before taking off on our year-long trip around the country, but of course we experienced many times where we had to switch gears on the fly. Today, we’re sharing experiences from two amazing national… Read more »

Podcast Episode #20: Battling Travel Fatigue, ft. Kings Canyon & Theodore Roosevelt

It’s no exaggeration that our trip to all 59 national parks was a dream. But it’s also no exaggeration that the trip was hard at times. Amazing, yes, but also hard. With any kind of travel, extended or short-term, travel fatigue can set in when you least expect it. Since we were traveling almost non-stop… Read more »

Mixing business with adventure in Eastern Uganda

** This post is a bit different from our usual content, but I wanted to share this amazing visit I just had to Uganda. Now that we’re not traveling 24/7 and returned to “normal life” in St. Louis, it’s more important than ever for us to realize adventure (and the lessons it offers) comes in… Read more »

St. Louis Getaway Weekend in Shawnee National Forest

We are now fully settled back into real life here in St. Louis. Even though our lives were very different — dirtier, more exposed to the elements, more awe-inspiring — six months ago, we snapped back into reality in almost no time. Cole and I love living in St. Louis, primarily because almost all of… Read more »

Podcast #19: Recap & Preview

Good morning, lovely readers! Hope your view today is as gorgeous as mine was yesterday morning when I recorded this podcast: snowy & still.  This morning, as you read this, we are probably already on our way to BELIZE! So excited to break away from the wintery midwest weather to the beach for some snorkeling,… Read more »

Podcast Episode #18: Weather Woes, ft. Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Teton

Despite what our Instagram may look like, our trip was not all sunshine & rainbows. We traveled for a full year, so we saw all of the extremes: pouring rain, snow, desert heat, tent-destroying winds, and, yes, lots of sunshine & rainbows. Today on the podcast, we’re sharing two of our park experiences that were very… Read more »

17 Experiences to Have in 2017

For awhile now, Cole and I have been dabbling in the experientialist lifestyle. I read a book during our trip that completely shifted my thinking about the stuff in our lives, and ever since have been singing to the tune of simplify, minimize, and focus on experiences.  We’re not doing a perfect job, by any means…. Read more »

Podcast Episode #17: Our Top Ten National Park Animal Encounters

You GUYS! This is probably the most fun podcast episode Cole and I have created. It was so hard to narrow down our top animal experiences during our year in the parks, but we managed to break it down to just 10… plus some honorable mentions… plus some “still on our list” candidates. Does this… Read more »

You Are Now Free to Move About the Midwest: Flying with Air Choice One

*This post is in no way sponsored by Air Choice One. We wish it was :)* Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized when you discover a new travel hack or an amazing deal that no one ever told you about before. Hello! Today (well, two weeks ago by now) I am sitting in… Read more »

Switchbacks Ep. 16: Interview w/ gap year cowboys on a shoestring budget

In the 59 national parks we visited last year, we met a lot of fellow visitors. (Except in North Cascades, where we literally ran into Z.E.R.O people on any hiking trail.) Among all the unique people with interesting stories we met during our trip, 59 of those people made it onto our “People of the… Read more »


    Both Elizabeth and I come from families of enthusiastic board gamers. At holidays, for a weekend in, in the car or on vacation, our favorite family times always seem to center around games. The first time I visited Elizabeth’s hometown when we were dating we went to a coffee shop (I might not have told… Read more »

  • RECAP: Leg 1 of Our Year-Long Adventure

    Well, we made it through the first of our trip’s six legs. It doesn’t actually seem that impressive when I think about only being a fraction finished with our trip. But it definitely feels impressive. Up until we left for our trip on August 18th, our minds were completely wrapped around this first chunk of… Read more »

  • BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON: The Hardest 5 Miles of my Life

    In 1901 there was an expedition to survey the unknown, unexplored 48-mile length of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. A 5-man crew set out in 2 wooden boats. On the first day one of the boats was smashed to pieces on the raging rapids that created by the Gunnison River dropping an incredible average… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

    Like a few other parks in the National Park Service system, I had never heard of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park until diving into a little initial research. We bet a few of you have never heard of it either, so we hope you enjoy seeing a few of the sights from around… Read more »

  • Choose Your Own Adventure at Arches National Park

    We learned quickly that Arches National Park isn’t too wild. Sure, the retirees who file out of giant tour buses at each overlook may have been party animals in their day, but still… The vibe of Arches is quite touristy. Pull-outs and overlooks are everywhere, 3-mile trails are deemed “strenuous,” and the entrance gate lines… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Arches National Park

    Arches National Park is famous for having the largest concentration of natural rock arches of anywhere in the world with over 2,300. On the surface it is a pretty straightforward and comparatively small National Park. As Elizabeth will describe in her post on Friday, we were able to cover almost all of the advertised points of… Read more »


    Looking at the first leg of our trip, Canyonlands is one of the parks I would’ve said I had a pretty good handle on through my fair amount of research. Mainly I learned there are 3 distinct districts, the districts are divided by the converging Green and Colorado Rivers, it’s next door neighbors with Arches… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Canyonlands National Park

    A lot of our pre-trip dreaming and scheming, especially this Utah-rich first leg, revolved around the sights and experiences of Canyonlands National Park. We thought we knew a bit of what to expect, but our trip wasn’t exactly like we had planned. Read all about the unexpected Canyonlands in Monday’s post. For now, enjoy the views… Read more »

  • How to Visit Capitol Reef National Park for (Almost) Free

    All National Parks, by typical vacation standards, are cheap. But lately, we’ve been trying to find creative ways to enjoy the parks for even cheaper. When we researched and planned out our visit to Capitol Reef (one of the “Mighty Five” in southern Utah) we knew almost nothing about this place. It isn’t nearly as… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Capitol Reef National Park

    Capitol Reef National Park is like all the other Utah parks smoothed into one: towering slot canyons like Zion, mind-bending rock formations like Bryce, spans of Natural arches and bridges like Arches and expansive overlooks like Canyonlands. Throw in the Historic Fruita district at the center of the park where you can tour an old… Read more »