Podcast Episode #35: National Parks for History Buffs, ft. Mesa Verde & Hot Springs

When most people picture a national park, what comes to mind usually fits into the “natural beauty” category of what is protected within the National Park System: mountains, shores, canyons, and giant trees. But there is another half of the NPS’s mission that is often overlooked: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources… Read more »

Podcast Episode #34: Our Top Ten National Parks that Aren’t “Parks”

In the United States, national monuments, preserves, scenic rivers, battlefields, and historic sites come together to create a wide overview of what we deem important in our country. We call these important places “national parks,” and we protect them with the National Park Service. When Cole and I started planning our big national parks trip,… Read more »

BONUS POST: Amazon Prime Day!

Affiliate links included in this post. It’s Amazon Prime Day! I know we don’t usually promote buying into the idea that you have to have stuff, like right now, but a good deal is a good deal, and I thought we’d pass some on to you today. One of the biggest ways we are able to acquire… Read more »

Podcast Episode #33: Interview with Mikah Meyer, epic National Parks traveler

Whooaaaaaa. I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday and time for another episode of Switchbacks! 4th of July last week super messed with my understanding of time. Hope you all had a great short holiday week and were able to spend some time celebrating our country! Even though it’s hard sometimes to be proud of where… Read more »

Podcast Episode #32: Gateway Cities of the National Parks, ft. Acadia and Olympic

Of all 32 podcasts we have recorded so far, this might be one of the biggest. Why? Well, today we’re talking about Acadia National Park and Olympic National Park. We are on the record as naming these two in our Top 5 of the national parks. We loved Acadia and Olympic for their natural beauty,… Read more »

Podcast Episode #31: Big City Getaways in the National Parks, ft. North Cascades and Channel Islands

Last weekend, we got away from the city. It was wonderful. Even though St. Louis isn’t the biggest metropolis in the country, we often find the desire to get totally away. We drove down just two hours into the Ozark mountains, to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, one of the NPS sites in Missouri that… Read more »

Unique Travel Opportunities with Voluntourism

Travel is a win. Volunteering is a win. Travel+Volunteering is a win+win.   “Voluntourism” a simple equation, but one I feel like too few people take advantage of. So I’m aiming to share my experiences and maybe help you brainstorm the broader possibilities for your next trip.   Over the past 11 years, I’ve taken… Read more »

Podcast Episode #30: BONUS Episode: Our Three-Week Southeast Asia Adventure

If you aren’t following us on Instagram, you may or may not know that we just came home from a dream three-week trip in Southeast Asia. I say dream trip because we have been working on this one for awhile. Since as far back as I have been traveling, I have wanted to visit this area… Read more »

VIDEO: The Perfect Great Lakes National Parks Road Trip

We’ve mentioned before that our trip to all 59 National Parks only lengthened our list of must-see spots around the U.S. The only National Parks in the Great Lakes region are Voyageurs in MN, Isle Royale in MI and Cuyahoga Valley near Cleveland. So we missed a lot of great spots. We decided before our… Read more »

Podcast Episode #29: Luxury in the National Parks, ft. Virgin Islands and Kenai Fjords

Cole and I speaking to luxury in the national parks is almost laughable, but stick with us. In our year on the road visiting all 59 national parks, we averaged about 4.5 days per park, most of that time out of cell service range. We lived out of our car and small backpacking tent, cooking… 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 »

  • 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 »