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 »

  • One Week in Buenos Aires: Our Itinerary

    Hola, amigos! Cole and I just finished up our two-week trip to Argentina — like, we’re actually still in the airport — and are just itching to share all the details. We spent one week in Buenos Aires and one week redeeming our Price is Right prize in Bariloche (northern Patagonia region). We spent a lot of time… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #12: The (Park) Road Less Traveled, ft. Big Bend & Kobuk Valley National Parks

    Wellllll, we’re off! Just about off, at least. We’re literally sitting in the airport in St. Louis, scrambling to upload our podcast in the ridiculously stingy 20 minutes of free wifi that this place offers. So here goes nothing! This week’s episode is about two very lonely parks. They’re relatively unpopular (at least for normal… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #11: Our Top Ten Easy-Access Campsites

    Hi everyone! Hope you are all in a semi-comatose cookie-laden state of relaxation like we are this week. With Cole being in school and me being back on a teacher’s schedule, this week in between Christmas and New Year’s is especially lazy. We’re spending a lot of time with family and friends, catching up on… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #10: Interview with Darius Nabors of #59in59

    One of the absolute best parts of our year-long trip was connecting with other national park travelers along the way. Before we started our trip, we connected in Kansas City with Don and Shelly Hafner of 59NationalParks fame. They became mentors of sorts, since they completed their all-59 trek just before we started ours. (If… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #9: Parks that Live in the Shadows, ft. Pinnacles and Biscayne

    While on our trip, we often came across parks that we felt were extremely under-hyped. We. LOVE. These. Parks. We love the underdog. Love the pleasant surprise. Love the feeling of standing somewhere a million people haven’t already Instagrammed.

  • Switchbacks Episode #8: National Parks in Motion, ft. Glacier & Hawai’i Volcanoes

    Well, it’s better late than never! Yes, we know it’s Wednesday. Night. Like 11 p.m. We have tried to get our new podcast episode out by Tuesday each week, but this week we have an excuse. We are so sick! Cole brought home something gross from his flight back from NYC last weekend, and since… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #7: National Parks: Are They For Everyone? Ft. Dry Tortugas and Lake Clark National Parks

    It’s the first real holiday since Cole and I have been home, and we are big-time taking advantage of living close to people we love again. Last night, we hosted a Friendsgiving with my best friends from high school, tomorrow morning we leave to spend a few days with Cole’s family, Saturday will be with… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #6: Our Top Ten Day Hikes

    How are we already 6 weeks into this podcast thang? We still don’t really know what we’re doing, but we’re glad to hear that at least a few people are listening! A big reason why we wanted to record weekly podcasts is similar to why we started our blog in the first place: to not… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #5: Interview with Don & Shelly

    “Customarily, particularly in America, when you meet someone, the first question is ‘what do you do for a living?’ But people we would meet, we would say, ‘did you see this waterfall? What about that herd of bison, a few miles back?’ That’s what we were focused on. We could have a very long conversation… Read more »

  • So, what do you do?

    These days, it only takes five little words to make me straight-up panic. “So, what do you do?” I did not notice how often people ask this well-intended question two years ago when I had a simpler answer: “I’m a sixth grade teacher.” A teacher, respectable. A sixth grade teacher, easy conversation starter. Without saying much more,… Read more »