Saint Louis, Missouri

I joined after hearing Murielle share the vision and story of Venku. The concept of hosts sharing their most beloved outdoors resources really resonates with me and outdoor experiences are so much richer when they are done in the context of personal interaction and a community like Venku. 

In 2014 Cole and Elizabeth of the Switchback Kids had a crazy idea to visit all 59 National Parks in one year. Throughout 2015 they worked, saved, sold stuff, planned, budgeted, quit their jobs and finally were ready for a journey that would take them from sea to shining sea.

By 2016, the pair were ready to embark on their quest. Using a combination of tent camping, crashing with friends and family, overnights in Walmart parking lots and just a handful of nights (7 to be exact) in a hotel, they made their way across America. During their year-long mega-trip, the couple visited every National Park (even those in Alaska and Hawaii!), all while keeping within a $20,000 budget.

Readers can learn more about the Switchback Kid’s cross-country trip on their blog, podcast, and social media platforms (Facebookand Instagram). You’ll not only find a comprehensive breakdown on gear and how to plan a National Parks visit, but you’ll also get some great tips on frugal travel, camp life, how to plan for a day of hiking and other hard-earned wisdom. 

Despite checking off every box on their National Parks bucket-list, the couple is still passionate about travel and perfectly embodies the millennial generations’ desire for collecting experiences and  memories, rather than stuff. On their website they write, “We want to help our peers realize the endless beauty and adventures waiting in the national park sites in their backyards.”

Although the pace of their travels have slowed somewhat in the past few years, Elizabeth and Cole still take trips quite frequently and are now embarking on a totally new kind of adventure — parenthood. The Switchback Kids just welcomed the newest addition to their team in June and look forward to experiencing many new destinations together as a family.

Click here to listen to a podcast where they talk about a trip to Azores and mention Venku (formerly Outside360)!