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 »

  • Our Camp Kitchen

    As our launching date approaches (6 days!!), it has become more and more important to look at what gear we have and what we still need to order on Amazon (with 2-day shipping) at the last minute. We are very close. We will be updating the Gear section of our site as we look at… Read more »

  • NATIONAL PARKS 201: NPS history, visitor boom, the $$ trail and more

    HOLD UP! First check out our National Parks 101 post for a great intro to National Park System definitions and designations as well as maps and tables of the 59 National Parks.   After our decision to visit all 59 National Parks and rationalizing leaving our careers and our home to do it, Elizabeth and I knew we… Read more »

  • NATIONAL PARKS 101 – Deciphering NPS designations, maps and stats

    When we cooked up the idea for visiting all the U.S. National Parks we had no clue how many National Parks there actually were, much less how the National Park System was organized. Then as we described our idea to others, we realized that many of them were as clueless as we used to be…. Read more »

  • WHY U.S.?: Our Goal to Promote Traveling Close to Home

    As we prepare to take off for a year, we have been carefully considering the kind of ideas we want to stand for and promote to others. We will be sharing, sharing, sharing and we want our message to be clear. So what is our message, exactly? We believe firmly in a few things surrounding this trip,… Read more »


    OK, I admit, this post doesn’t technically relate to any of the subjects this blog is about. But it’s also about pushing your boundaries and having adventures. And I did plenty of that during my tour of China!  I just got back from 2 weeks in China where I was on a volunteering trip sponsored by First… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Meet the Switchback Kids

    If you’ve been reading our posts, you probably know a little about the two crazies that make up the Switchback Kids team. You know that we love to hike. You may know that we are going on a year-long tour of all 59 of the U.S.’s National Parks. And you may even know how we decided… Read more »


    In just a little over a month, Cole and I will be officially taking off on our journey of a lifetime. The journey will include biking, kayaking, photography, and climbing, but above all – hiking. We want to have the energy and stamina to pull 10-mile hiking days often enough to make the most of… Read more »


    It didn’t take us long after coming up with the idea for traveling to all 59 parks over the course of the NPS Centennial year before we had designs on making this trip more than just a personal adventure. One of the things we immediately decided was to keep a blog to document the triumphs… Read more »

  • 6 MUST-DOS AT ARKANSAS’ BUFFALO NATIONAL RIVER (besides a float trip!)

    Growing up in Missouri, float trips were a very regular part of my upbringing. It always amazed me when I met out-of-state college friends that some people don’t even know what float trips are. If you are one of those people, never fear, because this post has very little to do with float trips. Rafting, canoeing, or… Read more »


    As most of you know, a huge supporting pillar in the National Parks adventure ahead of us is our budget. I think it’s the most common question I’ve gotten when I tell people about our trip: how will you afford that? Cole and I are young — about to turn 26 this summer — but I like to think… Read more »