Illinois State University alumna, Summer Slevin ’16, has reinvented her life around dedicating 18 months to visit all 59 national parks.

“The national parks have been a huge passion of mine for years, so slowly I started creating a lifestyle that would enable me to travel long term,” said Slevin.

Slevin currently works remotely, creating her own hours as a marketing consultant and virtual assistant.

Protecting national parks has always been important to Slevin. However, she was motivated to undergo this journey after the National Park Service recently lost nine board members due to resignation. She feels that it is important for the public to know about each park’s story and history. To that end, she is starting a podcast called Nat Park Stories.

Summer Slevin '16 and Rocky Road Trip at Yellowstone National Park.

Summer Slevin ’16 and Rocky Road Trip at Yellowstone National Park.

Nat Park Stories will launch in May as a preview of her journey beginning in July, right before her 26th birthday. Her podcast will also include interviews with park rangers and historians along with her own perspective on the importance of preserving each park.

“I am hoping to get sponsors and collaborators for the podcast to make it more financially sustainable for the next two years,” said Slevin.

Slevin is creating a schedule that will split her journey into six-month terms based on location, climate and accessibility of each park. For companionship, she is bringing her dog, named Rocky Road Trip, along with her. The pair will live in a renovated van to travel and camp in for the duration of their journey.

Don’t forget to follow her journey through her podcast, Nat Park Stories, set to launch in May.