200,000 Miles Later…
by Mikah Meyer

Faith & Inspiration | September 24, 2019

So after Mikah travels 200,000 miles traveled to every U.S. state and territory, 419 National Parks Service sites were visited and it ended on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This
by Mikah Meyer

Sitting in my apartment, writing this email at my own desk with a kitchen and bathroom nearby, it’s hard to believe that for the past 3 years I’d be carrying my laptop to the restroom, filling up my water bottle on the way back, and sending journey updates to you from some library desk, cafe back corner, or leeching WiFi from a Wendy’s in the front seat of Vanny.

Yet on April 29, 2019, after nearly 200,000 miles traveled to every U.S. state and territory, this journey to all 419 National Park Service sites came to its Finale on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Joined by 100 family, friends, journalists, and those who’ve discovered this journey along the way, we walked from the Washington Monument, my first site of this odyssey, to the top of the Lincoln Memorial steps that signified the official completion of this once-in-a-lifetime goal. You can watch the final moment here via the Voice of America’s video coverage. I’ve also put together a photo album that shares the moment in chronological order via pictures from all the cameras (on Facebook but viewable to the public even without an account). Or you can see 30 of these pictures and a summary of the day/journey in my own words in 3 Instagram posts + 2 Instagram Story Highlights with friends’ social media photos from the day and local news video coverage (also publicly viewable).

Lastly, a list of some of the Finale media coverage which included NPR (audio), BBC News (video), the Washington Post, NBC, Roadtrippers, Outside Magazine, OUT Magazine, CNN, Univision (Spanish video) and (English video), USA Today, a blog in my own words summarizing the journey (editor edited) on REI’s website, a phone call into a local DC radio station who was talking smack about my journey the day after, and a really comprehensive video by NowThis who sent a reporter to Minneapolis to film in my new home.

And that’s the next adventure, as everyone has been asking. I moved to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago, and am basing out of here as I start to write a book about the journey, schedule speaking engagements around the country to share the lessons/experiences from this project (if you’d like me to visit your area, learn more here), and hopefully finding a TV channel who wants to work with me to make it financially sustainable to continue doing adventures that challenge stereotypes, encourage people to live fully, and uses travel to make the world a better place.

I can already hear people asking “Why Minneapolis!?” as the journalists did. But after driving around the entirety of America, I think it’s the best place for what I need right now. While there are many awesome places in the country I’d love to live, Minneapolis is the only city with a large gay population where one can live in the “gayborhood” (or the closest the Twin Cities has) and easily pay under $1,000-a-month in rent. That affordability mixed with its size (4 million, 15th largest MSA in the U.S.) make it ideal for someone in my situation looking to have a personal life again after 3 years of being a nomad, and trying to make a living essentially as an artist, with speaking appearances and writing opportunities coming in waves (I’ll continue to add public appearances at facebook.com/mikahmey/events).

Minneapolis’ central location and Delta-airport hub is also super helpful for traveling to those speaking engagements, and the city has a light rail which takes people to/from the airport for just $2.50 each way (a welcome change from the DC metro that could be $7-8 each way on public transportation).

Yes, it will be very cold for a large chunk of the year, and I admittedly am a little scared of how I’ll handle that after 3 years of chasing temperate weather for van living. But I’m excited by the ability to have a place to come home to, and look forward to what adventures–and places–this relocation will take me.

I’m working on what exactly they will be, when they will happen, and how to pull them off. But if this journey has taught me one thing, it’s that there are goals in life we’ve been told are impossible, though there are ways to make the impossible, possible.

So no matter what dreams you have for your life, I hope this national parks journey has shown you that they are attainable. Have you always wanted to work your family farm? Start your own business? Focus on raising a family?

Whatever goals you have, I encourage you to pursue them now, because whether it’s visiting all of America’s 419 National Park Service sites or whatever vision you have, tomorrow could be too late, so start chasing your dreams today!

Thank you all for being part of this journey being successful. I could not have done it without you.

So let this photo of a completed route at the Lincoln Memorial be one of celebration for you. For everything we accomplished together. For this not being an “I journey,” but a “WE journey.”

– Mikah

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