By Tim Morizet
This week I had the pleasure to talk with self-confessed travel maniac Mikah Meyer, who some of you probably recognise from his blog Travel Beyond Convention. Born in the United States, Mikah, a professional singer currently based in Washington DC, is planning on visiting all 410 U.S. National Park Units in only 3 years and therefore, would become the sole person to visit all 400+ units of the US National Park System on one contiguous trip. Mikah Meyer talks about how his traveling passion started, his big upcoming trip and happiness. Here are excerpts from the interview.
You have been traveling quite a bit over the past years. How did that interest start?
Travel was always a big part of our family lifestyle. We never really took lavish, airplane trips or international travel. I never left the country until I was 21. But we did a lot of road trips. We often would drive to and from Florida, which is about a 28-hour drive. So, I grew up, always wanting to travel a bunch, not having really the money to do it. And when I was 19, and my dad passed away, we had our very first road trip planned already for what turned out to be just days after this funeral. So I ended up taking that road trip anyway with my best friend at the time and it was just a perfect time to escape my hometown, which would just remind me of death and a lot of sadness. Hit the road for new wisdoms, new scenery and new people and it was an amazing experience.
So, you are leaving for 3 years now. Breaking a few world records as well.
I’ve been thinking about this since I was 28, because I knew that age 30 would be the first planned epic road trips. So in June 2014, I started thinking about what I wanted to do and remembered the amazing places I saw during my previous trips and I decided that I wanted to see all the National Parks. Once I realised that there are so many, I determined that it would take a little bit longer than one year to reach that goal.
You’re leaving in a month. Already feeling nervous?
Oh, I’m completely scared! I’m insane, like, I wake up nightly like how crazy I am, and that I can’t believe that I’m actually doing this and all the things that could go wrong.
Many people are currently living for their nine-to-five jobs. For them, traveling is happiness. Do you agree? How do you define happiness for yourself?
There is a wonderful saying. ‘Are you living to work, or working to live?’ Are you going to your job everyday so you can survive or are you doing something you enjoy, that gives you life, that fulfills you? So I think, happiness for me, is not regretting the one life that you get. When I reach 65 or 80, or I don’t, I don’t want to regret the way I lived my life. You regret more the chances you don’t take than the ones you do. And happiness for me is knowing that I don’t have to say to myself in 5 years, what if?
There we are – traveling makes you happy. But, you don’t need to travel far to experience that tickling in your stomach.