I am a traveler. I suppose this is my spot.
For most of my career I worked in marketing and most of that on an international basis. When several years back I decided I'd had enough of it I set out on my own to engage with the world in ways I had yet to explore. Problem was I wasn't sure where to start. My son unknowingly helped clarify things. You see he's the great outdoors type. Works for an adventure travel concern based in CA and when he's not actively on assignment he's out scouting new areas and testing out new gear. I enjoyed his stories and photographs and the physical challenge he was faced with on much a daily basis and so slowly began to adopt the concept myself.
Of course I wasn't going to go to work for an adventure travel operation. I wasn't going to go to work for anyone. But I've always enjoyed documenting my travels in words and photographs and decided that if I combined that pleasure with an exploration of the US - which I had only really seen from 35,000 feet - it might serve to launch me on to a new path. All I needed was a little focus.
My son's operation places its focus on parks: national, state and even a couple of city parks, using them as both destinations and waypoints. I figured if I adopted this idea it would work for me too. As a bonus I had a built-in expert consultant in the family.
There were some skills I had to develop, hone or learn from scratch and so I set out to do that. The develop part was photography, so I found and hooked up with a couple of commercial photogs for that purpose. Even managed getting credentialed at an annual horse event in Lexington, KY. The honing part was writing. It's one of the few skills I've always considered myself good at but I'd never employed it in a photo-journalism mode. So I started reading the blogs and hooked myself up with an annual writer's conference in Taos. And the from scratch part? Well, that would be hiking and camping. And for that I threw myself upon my son's mercy for advice and a gear list.
It all added up to a plan: travel to, photograph, and write about the 58 (update: now 59) US National Parks. And when not doing that shoot and write about anything I damn well please. Like most plans it hasn't turned out exactly as constructed but it has served to transform my life and fuel what has become a true passion. Since 2010 I've managed to visit 43 national parks and at least that many lesser monuments, scenic areas, rivers, historic parks, etc, mostly in US but also in CN. These have all been in the Lower 48 and I have only three let in that category - all in Florida. After that come the islands: Hawaii, Samoa and St John's. Then it gets tough: Alaska. Hopefully I'll finish up sometime in 2015. And then think about what comes next.
I need all the help I can get in researching my destinations so I am very happy to have found National Parks Traveler.
It's a good life!
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