National Parks Project
In the summer of 2015, I spent every dollar I had traveling through South America, Iceland, Canada, Greece, and Croatia. I was hoping that spending an entire summer bouncing around the world would finally satiate my desire to travel, and that I'd be able to get back to "more important" work developing my professional career. Instead, traveling abroad only whetted my appetite for more new experiences.
I was sitting at the airport in Frankfurt, ready to board my final flight of the summer, when it occurred to me: I really hadn't seen that much of my own country. Like so many others, I'd gotten caught up in the idea that you have to travel somewhere far away from your home in order to see something beautiful. I spent the next 9 months working to save money for another summer of travel, this time, with the intention of exploring some of the beautiful places in my home country.
So, in the summer of 2016, I set out to backpack through 17 of America's National Parks. Up to that point, I'd never gone on a backpacking trip by myself; hell, I'd never even hiked alone.
What followed was the most intense period of personal growth in my life. I learned skills from wilderness first aid to kayaking; I suffered from severe dehydration, I ran into bears, and I nearly killed myself with altitude sickness. More than anything, I learned to become self-reliant and accept responsibility for myself in a way I'd never known before.
To read more about my summer of backpacking, check out any of the trip reports below: