In the summer of 2017, I launched “My National Park Quest.” It was born during a trip to some of the astounding National and State Parks in Utah. The goal of my quest was to visit every National Park Unit, along with every National Monument, Forest, and Grassland.
An Unease Settles In
Over the next few months, I began checking off a few of the locations on that enormous list. It was exciting and invigorating to start the monumental task, but something didn’t sit right. Perhaps it was the list and checkmark concept. There was a feeling of confinement, narrowness, and hurry.
The truth is that fascinating, meaningful, and remarkable places exist outside of my predetermined checklist. I planned to share stories of the destinations on my blog but found myself looking at photos from locations not “officially” on my list and telling myself that those places don’t count.
If that wasn’t enough to make me ponder, I’d write one blog post about a location, and then get stuck debating whether to write another about the same location, aka “item on the checklist.” I found myself mentally plugged up, wondering if I should even bother to write the stories of my travels or just put the checkmark down and count it as done.
Additionally, the way that I had defined the quest was too geographically constrained. Part of my quest was born out of the knowledge that I would be an empty nester in a few short years. I am planning to transition to a nomadic lifestyle, but I know that it will include more than just the United States. I have always dreamed of sailing around the world and using the sailboat as a base to travel inland.
It became clear to me that I needed to redefine this quest as something very different. I began thinking about expanding the list, after all, there are over 3,000 National Parks on planet earth, but that wasn’t quite the ticket.
Redefinition and Relief
In a moment of contemplation, I realized that what I honestly wanted to do was to travel to beautiful and meaningful destinations and
share my experiences, photos, videos, and stories
The point was more than the checkmark on a list. It was the journey and the telling of the story, along with sharing the pictures and videos. Redefining my quest opens up a world of possibilities.
I am still planning to visit all of the US National Parks, Monuments, Forests, and Grasslands as part of this mission. However, the definition of where I am going will be much broader with a focus on sharing the adventure with you. I won’t be rushing place to place in order to check it off the list.
I’ll be enjoying the moments and capturing the wonder and sensations that spring from an unending curiosity and desire to see the beauty of the natural world and reverent contemplation of visiting sites of significant historical value.
Transitioning to 1001 Tales of Treasure
Coming up with a unique way to encapsulate the redefinition took a bit of thinking. I considered calling it My National Treasures Quest or Stories From A Traveler. The idea that places that I am visiting are treasures stuck. While we might think of treasures in terms of gold and jewels, these treasures are something so much more.
The destinations are treasures in terms of the locations themselves. However, regardless of whether national, regional, state or local entities have blessed the geographic area, my quest seeks places of real human value.
The destinations that I seek are treasures for those who visit. They provide moments of personal contemplation, a connection with nature, and a timeless kinship to the people who made the location valuable.
I am more excited than ever to dive into this new quest. While I love my moments alone in isolated places of nature, I feel even more connected to the world at large when my stories are shared and enjoyed by others.
So, today, I begin my telling of…