Sometimes I get so focused on exploring other countries that I don’t take advantage of all the wonderful things in my own. I’ve never felt this more acutely than with the publicity surrounding the 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service. It’s sad to say that if visiting the Grand Canyon required a passport, an overnight flight or bribes to government officials – you know, the silly things that give locations world traveler street cred – I’d probably have gone there already.
So I’ve decided that the focus of my summer is going to be national parks, beginning with a hiking trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, pictured below:
In a time of political insanity, national parks are definitely a peaceful respite and something of which we as a country can be proud. I encourage you to explore them in the event that – God forbid – a certain presidential contender is moved to carve his own gigantic doofus face on Mount Rushmore and then burns the rest of the national parks for kindling. Because terrorists. Also, Canadian national parks are waiving their entrance fees in 2017 in honor of Canada’s 150th birthday – you know, just in case if you find yourself moving there for any reason, whether it’s for political asylum or to be closer Tim Horton’s. Whichever. We don’t judge.