The Journey Begins
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T. S. Eliot
Here I am. Quickly sliding into my latter forties. Recently divorced. Single. Child-free. Pet-less. Living in a friend’s apartment. An underperforming overachiever. Surviving, but not thriving. Bruised, but not broken. Either avoiding or embracing a mid-life crisis. I’m not really sure yet.
Life has a way of screwing up your best laid plans. Sometimes I wonder if we are nothing more than Autumn leaves at the mercy of the wind – with no control over where we land. It’s futile to fight things out of your control, but we can change up the equation. That’s what I choose to do.
2019 is going to be an adventure year for me. I am checking out of my normal life for the whole calendar year. I’m going on a journey across the United States. My goal is to visit all 418 units of the National Park system. The trip will take me to all 50 states and 4 U.S. Territories. I will be driving wherever I can drive to and flying or boating to where I can’t drive. I will camp whenever possible. I will begin my trip at Dry Tortugas National Park on New Year’s Day and end my trip at Gateway Arch National Park on New Year’s Eve, 2019.
Our National Parks and public lands have always been a place of solace, healing and wonder for me. I have visited around 200 of the 418 sites in my lifetime – some of them many times. The year will be full of adventure and challenges. The current government shutdown will certainly have an impact on my trip until it is resolved, but I am not daunted. I am looking forward to visiting the few states I have not yet seen, and the parks and monuments I have been wanting to visit for years.
I will be posting photos throughout the year on the 418parks.com website, on Instagram, and on Facebook. I will do my best to blog about my experience. I hope you will follow along.