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 »

  • 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 »


    I can’t believe we haven’t shared the story of last year’s summer vacation gone so, so wrong. We had planned an amazing week-long road trip through the southwest, taking us up and down our second fourteener, through Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon, in and out of the Grand Canyon (my first time!), and culminating in… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Our Someday

    In many ways, Cole and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to travel the country starting this August. Blessed to have the resources. Grateful for the freedom. But in other ways, we feel like it’s simply the stride toward clarity and the return to simplicity that we (and probably many other people) need to take. A grand… Read more »

  • THE BEGINNING: Rationalization is our favorite (Part 2)

    Read Part 1 – “The Decision of a Year” HERE. Once we decided the trip was on, we never looked back. If anything we tried to rationalize the trip even more as we explained it to interested, yet puzzled and sometimes skeptical friends and family. Here are the questions that we had to answer first… Read more »

  • THE BEGINNING: Decision of a year (Part 1)

    Read Part 2 – “Rationalization is our Favorite” HERE. We often hear stories of people who have suddenly caught adventure fever and cast off their old jobs and thrown away their former lives to take off on some exotic journey without the slightest idea where they are heading for, how long it will take or… Read more »

  • SHOW-ME ADVENTURE: Finger Lakes State Park

    Before we take off for our year-long National Park tour in August 2015, we thought it’d be fun to share a few of our favorite adventures closer to home. After all, adventure is everywhere. And that includes the great Show-Me state of Missouri. Growing up in the St. Louis area, Cole and I explored many… Read more »


    Before Cole and I set out on our adventure of a lifetime, I thought it’d be fun to recap some of the adventures we already have under our belts. Because Cole and I both grew up with the adventure mindset, our honeymoon was not a difficult decision. When we were engaged, we knew we wanted… Read more »


    As we prepare for our upcoming adventure to visit all National Parks in one year, it is fun to look back on how we got to this point. How did we come to this decision to take a huge plunge into spontaneity and (kind of) irresponsibility and drive around the country for 12 months? Well,… Read more »


    I’m going to go out on a limb and say not everyone has considered traveling to all 59 National Parks over the course of a year. Well we’re not just considering it, we are doing it. Our adventure might seem like the ramblings of a crazy person to some people, but to us it seems… Read more »