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 »

  • Switchbacks Episode #4: People of the Parks

    Even though they primarily feature very natural elements, the national parks would not be what they are without people. People advocate for the preservation of parks, people work to maintain these beautiful places, and people take time out of their lives to visit the parks. People.

  • Our National Park Hall of Fame

    I’m sitting here in my nice comfy bed in a house with electricity, having just eaten a dinner cooked in an oven and taken a long relaxing bath with soap and it’s hard to believe that just three months ago, Cole and I were living such a different life. For a year, we relaxed by lounging… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #3: Are We Loving Our National Parks to Death?

    Episode #3, yo! We are settling into a nice routine with this whole podcasting thing now that we are 3 episodes deep. We are pretty basic with the music and editing, and we are doing it all ourselves, so of course there was a steep learning curve. BUT I think I’m getting better and better…. Read more »

  • Parks that Aren’t “Parks” – Part I

    Every time we talk to national parks people — rangers, travelers, and enthusiasts — we have to clarify that we visited all of the 59 “capitol-P” parks, not all of the 413 national park units. It’s necessary to be specific about these things, as certain people loved to remind us. It became an automatic disclosure we included… Read more »

  • Switchbacks Episode #2: There’s No Wrong Way to Visit a National Park

    There’s no wrong way to visit a national park. Do you agree with this? We certainly didn’t when we started our trip a year ago. We thought that the “right” way to visit the parks was to camp in a tent, hike a bunch of trails, and try to get off the beaten path as… Read more »

  • Silver Falls State Park: Double-digit waterfalls, single-digit miles

    Our mission to hit all 59 National Parks in one year didn’t leave much room to spare. But we made a few rare departures from our itinerary to visit some spectacular non-National Park spots (Niagara Falls, The Price is Right, Seward Sea Life Center, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, etc.). When we were up around Crater Lake… Read more »

  • Our Podcast is Live! (Episode #1: Our Top Ten National Parks)

    You guys! We started a podcast! It’s very exciting and new. And it only took about five hours to figure out how to submit our RSS feed to iTunes. But we are officially on the air. Our podcast is called Switchbacks and, as you might have guessed, it will cover our experiences, insights, and advice… Read more »

  • How We Pack for a Day of Hiking: The 10 Essentials

    *Elizabeth wrote this post months ago and we’ve never had a chance to finish and publish it until now. But don’t worry, these essentials are timeless! Cole and I are by no means expert hikers. Let’s just start there. We are constantly learning, trying new things, and making mistakes when it comes to packing for a… Read more »

  • Our Celebrity Video and Road-Tripping with Garmin

    Last year we visited all 59 national parks. As redundant as that might sound to you guys, it is still a bit surreal to us. And while we were hiking, kayaking, and driving across the country, we weren’t alone. As we have mentioned throughout the year, we had several brand partners in our corner, cheering us… Read more »

  • What’s Next for the Switchback Kids?

    “There will become a time when you think everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” – Louis L’Amour (thanks Darius for the quote inspiration!) We are “done.” But nowhere near finished. We officially ended our very full year of travel on August 1st. We have showered. We have been sleeping on a bed. We have lounged… Read more »