The adventure begins… as another adventure has ended. After a decade in Asia and six intense, action-packed and stress-inducing years working on rule of law and human rights in one of the biggest, most polluted urban jungles in the world, S and I decided to leave our lives in China and take this seventh year as a sabbatical.
So in 2017, we’re trading in the Air-pocalypse of polluted Beijing for fresh air and blue skies. Instead of fighting traffic jams and a billion people, we’ll spend our days in the wilderness and hang with the deer and grizzlies. (Hopefully more deer than grizzlies.) Instead of staring at computer screens and iPhones, we’ll star-gaze and bird-watch. Instead of obsessing over politics and news, we are taking a much-needed break from newsfeeds, listservs and Facebook to spend more quality time with books and each other.
Inspired by the Centennial of America’s National Parks in 2016, we decided to get ourselves an off-roading all-American truck (“The Dude”), and a tubby-but-oh-so-shiny Airstream (“The Grey Whale”) and visit all the National Parks in the continental US (plus Hawaii).
This will be our Great American Road Trip, and the goal is to hit 50 National Parks in 50 weeks. That’s about a park a week, and the journey will take us all across America – from the West Coast to the Four Corners and Texas, through Appalachia and dipping into Key West then back up the East coast to Maine and crossing over the Midwest to the Great Lakes and circling back through the West in the Rockies, the rainy Pacific Northwest and the magical moonscapes of Utah.
It’ll be living in Parks, on Wheels.
It will be a year spent without –
Without, in the magnificent wildernesses of the National Parks of America. Without the distractions and addictions of 24/7 news cycles and social media. Without all the usual comforts as we learn better how to live off the grid and be more responsible for all the resources (water, electricity, heat) we’ve taken for granted.
And a year spent focusing on what’s within –
Learning to live within our tiny 200 sqft Airstream and feel grateful to have home attached to the most amazing backyards in America.
Reading, drawing, painting, writing, singing, playing guitar and the fun you can generate by yourself.
Restoring the inner strength and peace within that I need to get back out into the world in 2018 as a better advocate and person.
….And of course, after this year I will magically metamorphasize from a committed urbanite into a wilderness rockstar. Haha, not a chance. But honestly, even if Mother Nature kicks my butt, this year of learning in the wilderness feels like a tremendous gift. My only real goal is to do as Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested:
Live in the sunshine
Swim in the sea
Drink the wild air.
Off we go!