David is a photographer and graphic designer who grew up in Kansas City. Former alt-rock cellist, Freestyle Wheelbarrow innovator, and DND enthusiast, he has a special gift for retaining trivia from Wikipedia articles he read 15 years ago.
Madison is a writer who comes from a long line of hearty Idaho stock. She enjoys books, beaches and musicals, but does not enjoy socks. Her grandpa once said of her (and we feel it sums her up nicely), “She may not look like much, but she sure can buck hay.”
Graham and Margaret are children. They are delightful and perfect in every way.
What We’re Doing
We’re moving out of our NYC apartment and into a converted shuttle bus for roughly 18 months to visit all 59 U.S. National Parks, and a bunch of other places in the U.S. and Canada.
Why We’re Doing It
To fulfill some major lifelong dreams.
To spend more time outside with our kids.
To delve into the issues facing public land preservation so we can be knowledgable advocates on complex issues.
To inspire people to get outside and connect with nature in whatever way they can.
The Origin Story,
Because Every Great Road Trip Needs One
David and I (Madison) have always had a thing for road trips. One of the first plans we made after we met was to form a band and go on a tour of random truck stops across the country: The Great American Truck Stop Tour. We wanted to play music, but mostly we wanted to see America, and we liked the idea of seeing it through the everyday places where people’s lives play out. Our band never made it to a tour (it barely made it out of our living room), but the idea of making our way around the country and trying to really experience America kept niggling away in our minds.
We drove cross-country several times, lived briefly in San Francisco, worked on our degrees (David’s undergrad in Graphic Design, my MFA in Creative Writing) in Utah, and settled in New York City. Sometime in 2015, we started wondering how our less-practical dreams could fit into the more traditional life we were starting to establish. We had two kids and an apartment in New York, David had a great job as a graphic designer, and I was loving taking care of the kids full time, exploring the city and attempting to do some writing on the side. But we still had a lot of goals and ideas that we didn’t want to save for retirement or squeeze into two weeks of vacation per year. So I made David sit down and write a bucket list; two of the first things on it were to visit every National Park and to live in a bus.
So I started planning.
When I began pitching tentative ideas about van life and working from the road, neither of us thought we’d be going so soon. But the more we considered it, the more we realized the timing would never be perfect—chasing after a dream like this involves a pretty big leap, and it would be scary whenever we did it. So we decided to give it a go sooner rather than later, and a few months into serious planning, we bought a shuttle bus.
Planning our route around the 59 U.S. National Parks is, for us, more guide than gimmick, and it’s definitely not about checking places off a bucket list, but we do love the National Park System and the lands it protects, and we hope experiencing them all will give us a good sense of the American landscape and what’s at stake when it comes to protecting public lands. We also hope to spend plenty of time exploring other cities and regions we aren’t familiar with (or re-exploring those we are familiar with). And we are also determined to find the country’s best doughnut in our explorations, a dream we’ve been only casually pursuing for years—it is high time we take this quest seriously.
Sometimes Madi also writes for these awesome websites. Click through to go check out her latest articles!
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