A National Park Marathon

By Amy Jeanroy

 

"We are all so different in many ways, but really we are so much alike." Mikah  Meyer, travelling to every National Park and monument in the U.S. in answer to the question "What is the most striking thing you have noticed so far during your trip?"

 

You may have noticed a large travel van with a snazzy soy candle logo across the back, traveling around Calais and Red Beach. The van is the homebase for thirty-something Mikah Meyer, who after the unexpected passing of his father, decided that life was too short to keep dreaming of doing something, and instead jumped in with both feet. He worked for 5 years at 3 jobs to finance a special dream trip of visiting every National Park and monument in the United States. 

This is the kind of undertaking that truly does seem spontaneous, but requires a great deal of preparation. Meyer spent two years planning the logistics of the trip. For instance, he has a spreadsheet of each of the 413 stops he is going to be making over the next three years. On this spreadsheet he includes the amount of time he will probably need to stay, according to a friend and neighbor who actually traveled on his own trip to the National Parks. He also planned the way he would be traveling, making certain that he visited the potentially extreme temperatures of the northern parks or the deep south, during times when it may be too cold or hot to manage.

Another resource he cites is the National Park Travelers Club (NPTC), an organization that helps people plan and prepare a trip of this size. Between the two resource, Mikah was able to plan how much money he would need for the trip. "Actually, I planned my budget and found out that NPTC actually recommended that he double that amount. 

One of the ways he saves money is by using solar power to power the refrigerator, ceiling fan, and power strip for the laptop and cellphone. Removing a panel, Mikah shows the compartment where his refrigerator sits above the inverter and dual VMax solar batteries. Other than that, the van is sparsely filled with a sleeping compartment and not much else.

Saint Croix Island International Historic Site (the 47th stop) was next on the list, which brought Mikah to the Calais Area. 

Before this journey, Mikah's life was very different from that of a traveler. He is also a professional classical singer. Thinking about the future, he says that no matter where life takes him, he will continue to sing. In fact, he still does. In one month, he has a gig with a symphony, so he will have to take a quick break to fly out to perform and then get back to the road. 

Mikah is officially the youngest person to take on a trip of this size and scope and he feels as if he also is the spokesperson for people who aren't the stereotypical traveler. "My hope is that the person who doesn't seem like he/she could do this sort of thing, the young LGBT person who never considered traveling or thinks they can't have a dream like this, can see what I am doing and know that anything is possible." 

 

Follow along on the journey at his website Travel Beyond Convention, www.tbcmikah.com.