Matt and Diana have been drawn to the outdoors since they were young. Diana grew up in Latvia, where she hiked and backpacked with her family and solo (including backpacking around the world) before coming to the Eastern US for school and getting involved with the outdoors club there. Matt grew up as an outdoorsy boy in England before he started work in the travel industry and caught the travel bug.
Eventually, they both ended up in San Francisco where they met, fell in love, and decided to adventure their way through life together. In October 2018, they began their latest adventure together—visiting all 419 National Park sites while living full-time in their Outdoors RV Mountain Series 21-foot RBS trailer.
Looking at the list of National Park Units, which includes Parks, Monuments, Recreation Areas, Battlefields, Historical Sites, Memorials, Preserves, Reserves, Rivers, Trails, Seashores, and others, their agenda is quite full. However, the couple is working to do more than just show up at each of these US treasures. They are exploring each in an effort to understand what makes them special. Then they take their experiences and share them with others.
Matt explains that they are both planners and enjoy researching an area before they get there to see what to expect and to make plans (or reservations) that need forethought. They strive to fully immerse themselves in the experience and find the more adventurous aspects of each place they visit.
Since they are not on a set schedule, they can decide how long to stay at each location and what aspects to take in. They then share their wisdom on their YouTube channel and their fantastic blog in an effort to educate others about each place. This is especially helpful for those planning trips that may not have a lot of time to do a lot of research.
So far, the duo has visited 26 of the US National Park Units. The last one, El Malpais National Monument in Grant, New Mexico, explores a unique volcanic landscape and has one of the best visitor centers they have visited so far. The couple has found that stopping by the visitor center at each unit is a great way to start your experience at a National Park.
Rangers and staff always have great advice and can direct you to attractions that may not be on the brochure or trails that are not shown on the map. They can also help review your plans and make recommendations based on recent happenings. For example, you may find the trail you wanted to take is closed due to a flood, but you can try this other route that will give you an even better view.
Another tip the couple shares is that if you want to be really IN the National Park, you can’t do it by staying in hotels, you really have to camp. This was the big reason that they bought their RV, as tent camping isn’t for everyone as a long-term full-time solution.
They also recommend using rvreviews.net as a resource for finding the RV with the set-up that you need. Before they settled on their OutdoorsRV rig, they rented several to test them and ensure they got the features they were looking for, specifically insulated walls and that it was a solidly built off-road RV with plenty of tank capacity for extended boondocking. They further upgraded the electrical system with lithium batteries, an inverter, and solar panels.
Diana and Matt also have found amazing friends on the road. They are a part of the Xscapers group of the Escapees RV Club and enjoy meeting fellow young adventurers living their own RV lives. They also found the OutdoorsRV Owners group on Facebook as an excellent resource and a way to get prompt and reliable answers to questions about their RV as they arise.
The biggest message Matt and Diana want to pass on to others is to get out there and explore. There are a lot of unique and interesting parts of the US that have been preserved for us to explore and learn about. As Matt says, “Travel makes the world feel smaller.”