“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 in air conditioned bliss.

You might think that two people who are coming off of a year in the woods would take a beat and just relax for awhile, but instead we hit the ground running. Cole started a rigorous MBA program at Washington University in St. Louis (he even blogs for their business school now!) and after being together constantly for 365 days, we are both adjusting to this new independence thing.

I am working a little bit here and a little bit there. My dad hired me to scan medical files into the computer (which might be the exact opposite experience of visiting a national park) and I will soon be substitute teaching around St. Louis. I also picked back up my part-time paid hobby of painting & selling furniture and other knick-knacks. (Come say hi to me this weekend in Eureka!)

Our days are full, and so are our future plans. There are so many trips we want to take soon (and less soon), and I thought it would be fun to share a few of those plans with you all.

First, let’s talk short-term. Here are some places we want to visit this year:

  • Missouri & Arkansas State Parks: The more places we visited last year, the more we realized there are so many places around Missouri we have not seen. We are planning to visit the Ozarks at least a few times this year, especially this fall when the colors come out to say hello.


Image via: http://annestrebinger.org/fall-foliage-destinations/

  • Through-ride on the Katy Trail: I have wanted to bike the 238-mile Katy Trail across Missouri for several years now, and it looks like this year might be the perfect year to do it. We plan to ride the Amtrak west and then bike back home.


Image via: http://blog.visitmo.com/katy-trail-jefferson-city/


Image via http://www.la-viajera.com/2012/11/14/a-patagonian-autumn-photos-from-bariloche-argentina/

  • Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: We traveled to most corners of the U.S. last year, but one area we neglected a bit was the Great Lakes region of Michigan & Wisconsin. There are so many beautiful NPS sites around here — Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Apostle Islands, Macinac Island (a former NP) — that we are dying to see sometime soon. It might make a perfect summer biking & kayaking road trip!

(Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore)

Image via http://ianplant.photoshelter.com/image/I0000kilz_b1VBrI

  • Mexico or a cruise or something relaxing: After our year of crazy planning and logistics, all we (maybe mostly I) want to do is have something all planned out for me. If I had a dollar for every time I looked at Cole last year and said, “you owe me a cruise,” I might actually be able to pay for that cruise. 🙂
  • Road trip in the south: Like with the Great Lakes area, we feel like we neglected the southern parts of our beautiful country. We’d love to spend a little bit of time in cities like New Orleans, Asheville, Savannah, Charleston, and Charlotte. Also we wouldn’t hate to hike in the Smokies again and visit some NPS sites in between!

It should be a fun (and busy) year. We have very little expendable money at the moment, so we will be practicing many, many penny-pinching tips for travel. (#1 tip is to win stuff on the Price is Right, lolz) We will be sure to share as much about our upcoming adventures as you will care to listen to.

Looking further into the future, there are also big bucket-list trips and adventures we want to have, maybe in the next five years, including:

  • New Zealand
  • Iceland
  • A Mediterranean cruise to to coasts of Spain, Italy, Greece, etc.
  • Southeast Asia: especially Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia
  • South Africa
  • A southwest U.S. road trip to some places we purposely saved: Havasu Falls, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, etc.
  • San Diego, a random U.S. city we never quite made it to
  • Reruns of Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Crater Lake, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton, because of all the dang snow, and Congaree because of flooding

Besides travel, we also have a few projects in the works that relate directly to last year’s trip. We are writing a book (if you have publisher contacts, we’d be so happy to connect with them!) that we hope will be part love letter to the parks and part guide for long-term cheapo travel

One more project we have been teasing for a while has yet to be announced. We think you guys will love this way to connect to us even more, as well as hear our tips & advice for visiting the national parks. We’ll be sure to tell you more about it soon!

It’s go-go-go here in Missouri. We had an amazing last year, and we feel so grateful to be able to share it all with you.

Thanks for listening as always!

Pssssst! If you have anything specific regarding the parks that you’d like us to write a post on (detailed hikes, packing lists, camp cooking, how to not get divorced while traveling, etc.) TELL US! We’re going to keep shoving posts at you and we’d love your input. Leave a comment, email us, submit the contact form on this website, find us on Facebook


Written by Cole

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2 Comments on "What’s Next for the Switchback Kids?"

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Have loved following your adventures. When you visit Michigan again, consider these two stops as well, two of our off the beaten track favorites…Palms Book State Park, Manistique, MI and The Great Lakes Boat Building School, Cedarville, MI Happy Trails to you!!


Ooh, thanks Beth! We will have to add those to our list!