I think fell in love with the woods when I was a kid.

It must have been those camping trips we took every weekend, fishing out of the creek with found lines and the smell of smoke in our hair that never seemed to wash out. Maybe it was on my first multi-day backpacking trip with my best friend, where longhorn cattle slept around our tent the first night, keeping us company and scaring the wits out of us. Most likely it was on my most challenging trip where I was sick as a dog hiking through Grayson Highlands, but at night the Milky Way simmered brilliantly above me and made it all worth it. It’s the little things. As I grow older I’m realizing that our natural places are an escape and a reset button, one that I’m needing more and more to make the normal ballet of life more cohesive.

So I did what any normal 20-something would do. I quit my reliable job, bought a old Honda Odyssey Mini-Van (Miss Lucille), and decided to be voluntarily homeless for the next four months or so in as many State and National Parks as I can. On July 1st, my partner and I are hitting the road on what I’m told is called “The Great American Road Trip,” and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s a happy coincidence that it also is the U.S. National Park Service’s 100th year anniversary this summer. My goal for the next few months is to be able to share my experiences and stories from some of our finest parks, and celebrate the NPS which has been protecting our wild lands and assisting visitors for a century.

Also, beware. This road trip is the Great Vegan American Road Trip. Prepare for portabella bacon recipe attempts and maybe a curry or two. And tacos. Lots and lots of tacos.

To be continued…

[divider]Guest Contributor[/divider]

Lundun Herron worked in the outdoor industry before quitting her job to set out for the great outdoors. She’s currently driving from National Park to National Park. Check back to follow along with her trip. Read more of her work at lundenherron.com.