Man on journey to visit all 417 U.S. National Parks comes through Savannah

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - A journey to remember his father's passing has now turned into a national record-breaking story.

Mikah Meyer, 30, has made it his mission to spend the next three years on one continuous road trip to visit 417 national parks

Monday, Meyer's journey brings him to Fort Pulaski. When we met him Monday, he caught us up to speed. The Nebraska native has been on the road already for nine straight months, which means he is about 25 percent done with his trip.

Ft. Pulaski was on the agenda Monday. Tuesday he heads south for Ft. Frederica and Cumberland Island.

Meyer's journey has become known nationally as he has built his own totally mobile and eco-friendly van to tour the country.

"This is home. This is what home looks like. This is Vannny McVanface. We named it while we were building it because we built this all ourselves. I'm a music major so I don't have any skills in architecture but did a crash course thanks to YouTube on how to build your own cargo van into sort of your own little RV," said Meyer.

He got the inspiration for this trip after his father's passing 11 years ago.

"It totally shook my world view into thinking that we don't have all the time we think we have to follow our dreams. So I made it a goal when I turn 30 to pursue one of my dreams and I hope that as I do this it inspires other people to follow their dreams as well because tomorrow is never guaranteed," said Meyer.

He wanted to honor his memory and love of road trips by visiting all 417 units of the National Park System. This double world record trip will not only make him the youngest person to experience every park, but the sole person to do so in a continuous trip.

He has been all along the eastern seaboard so far.

"Well this is the first fort that I have been to that has a moat. So already that is pretty cool," said Meyer. "I have been to all 48 states in the lower United States and by far Savannah is the most beautiful city I have been to in the lower 48 states. It's such a charming city to a scale, I haven't seen in any other American city."

This once in a lifetime excursion won't just keep him in the lower 48. He's already been to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He'll also set to go to parks in U.S. territory Guam and will wrap up with trips to Hawaii and Alaska.

"Resilience in myself that I am still doing this after nine months of living in a van and not sleeping well. But also the amazing diversity of America," said Meyer.

Diversity in geography, yes, but also people. Meyer takes individual donations to fund this outing and has found that nearly half have come from the LGBT community hoping to expand the narrative on what it means to be a gay person in America.

"That is one of the demographics the National Parks struggles to reach but I think I'm breaking so stereotypes now as to what people imagine when they think off a gay person," Meyer said.

Meyer said Tuesday that this trip right now is self-funded. He worked three jobs for four years to make it happen.

For more information on Meyer or to follow his journey, please click here.

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