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 »

  • PETRIFIED FOREST: The Ultimate Road Trip Stop

    The Great American Road Trip is a longstanding summer tradition. Many would say the advent of the road trip began when Route 66 opened up the wonders of the west to the common traveler – beginning in 1926 and hitting its heyday during the ‘50s. One of the many stops that fascinated the travelers of… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Petrified Forest National Park

    Of the three National Parks we have visited thus far on our year-long trip to see all 59, Petrified Forest initially had the most prominent feeling of a “drive-by” attraction. However, after scratching quite a bit beneath the surface, it is clear that Petrified Forest is a park for all visitors — regardless of length of visit…. Read more »


    When Cole and I first thought out this trip we’re on a year and a half ago, we soon realized we wanted to seek out companies and brands who supported the National Parks and the great outdoors. We sent dozens of emails to these such companies, large and small, all over the country. Amidst the flurry… Read more »

  • MESA VERDE IN THREE ACTS: A Guide to the Distinct Areas of Mesa Verde National Park

    We are not National Parks experts. We may try to make it look like we are (when we spew off a bunch of stats about the NPS, and we pretend to be good at planning our trips), but we didn’t start this journey much further ahead than any average traveler. So we had no idea… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Mesa Verde National Park

    Mesa Verde was one of the coolest surprises of our trip so far. We didn’t go into this huge trip with much more knowledge about the National Parks than the next guy, or than any of you for that matter. So Mesa Verde wasn’t high on our radar as far as National Parks excitement. But little did… Read more »


      We found Great Sand Dunes National Park is obviously, but very appropriately named. The size of the tallest dunes in North America and the vastness of the 30 square mile dunefield definitely steal the show. However, during our visit, we learned of so many eccentricities of Great Sand Dunes that really fascinated us and… Read more »

  • FOUR DAYS IN THE DUNES: Our itinerary for maximum adventure on a minimum budget

    Cole and I intended two main things for this year-long trip: (1) to have big adventure (2) without breaking the bank. If every trip goes as smoothly as our first stop at the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, Colorado, we will be just fine. We hiked, sand sledded, climbed dunes, souvenir shopped, had a nice… Read more »

  • VIDEO: The Great Sand Dunes {& Contest Winners!}

    Well, we officially made it to ONE of 59 National Parks. Six days of traveling to and exploring Great Sand Dunes. 37 miles walked. 1100 miles driven. Zero showers. Until now! Right now, we are cozy and clean in a hotel right outside of Mesa Verde, the next park on our list. Rejuvenation is on… Read more »


    I really wanted to publish this post the night before we left St. Louis for our all 59 National Parks tour, but we had a billion other things to finish up and I felt like using my remaining 4 hours to sleep was more important. Imagine if you will… a young couple traveling for a… Read more »

  • HITTING THE TRAIL: Departing in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark

    We started planning this trip 16 months ago and the countdown started at 300+ days, the Big Day Countdown on my phone is at -1. It seemed like time kept accelerating exponentially as the countdown turned from months to weeks to days to hours while the to do list was going in the opposite direction…. Read more »