Josh & Meagan McFarland
The son of a park ranger, Josh spent his formative years exploring the national parks of Utah. In 2009, he found inspiration while visiting several of the highlights along the Park-to-Park Highway circuit and has been planning to complete the master loop ever since. The daughter of a travel agent, Meagan has been an international jet-setter since she was a toddler. Her most recent travel includes several weeks in Cambodia and an upcoming trip to Myanmar.
Josh completed his undergraduate work in Utah, while Meagan studied nursing in Oregon. Both later completed graduate studies at Oregon Health and Sciences University. As a nurse practitioner, Meagan now practices gynecologic oncology; Josh practices emergency medicine as a physician assistant.
The McFarlands spend most of their free time refurbishing a recently purchased 1920's home in Salem, Oregon, and exploring the beautiful green country of the Pacific Northwest.
Jared Jennings & Ashley Wall
Jared, an Eagle Scout, spent much of his childhood in the great outdoors, backpacking, rock climbing, spelunking and running rivers throughout Utah and the lower 48. He continued to pursue his love of the outdoors in his studies, graduating with a degree in geography from Portland State University.
While Ashley calls Portland, Oregon, her home, she has also lived in Greece, Canada and Israel. Ashley has her Master's degree in International Migration from the University of Kent (Brussels) with her research focused on forcibly displaced groups around the world.
In their nine years together, Jared and Ashley have never found it in themselves to settle down. Since being married, they have spent two summers in Alaska, one year in Belgium and three months camping in the American south, visiting 15 national parks along the way.
Recently, Jared and Ashley purchased their first home, a 43-foot sailboat, with plans of sailing the seven seas. While living according to the ebbs and flows of nature presents its challenges, they hope to experience firsthand the varied realities of the different geography and cultures around the world.
The Loosli Family
Ask Saren where she's from and she has a hard time answering. She grew up all over the place - lived several years in England, Virginia, and Salt Lake City and spent time in Mexico, Japan, Israel, and just about every European country. Saren completed her education in Boston - did her B.A. at Wellesley College in International Relations and Sociology and her Masters at Harvard in Education.
Jared knows exactly where he's from. He spent all his growing-up years on a potato farm/cattle ranch in the tiny town of Ashton, Idaho, not far from Yellowstone National Park. He grew up driving tractors and herding cows with the Tetons on the horizon. When it was time for college, he took off for Boston to attend MIT, graduating in Mechanical Engineering.
Together, they traveled all over Europe, to Kenya, Bolivia and Peru before settling down in the Bay Area and embarking on their greatest adventure: having five children in five years. With babies on their backs and little kids in tow, the Looslis made spending time out in nature a big priority. They've taken countless road trips and camping trips around the United States and traveled through Bulgaria and Italy. They spend a lot of time hiking, biking and skiing in the mountains near Ogden, Utah, where they now live.
Saren runs the popular website, Power of Moms, which has provided great ideas and resources to well over 3 million moms in the past 8 years. (As part of this trip, Saren will be creating a National Parks Guide for Families.) Jared manages software development and always has an exciting side project going on. The Loosli children are Ashton (16), Isaac (14), Eliza (13) and Oliver and Silas (11).
The Ballard Family
Ask the Ballard kids what their mother does best, and they'll undoubtedly tell you plan trips. The last four years have included a road trip to Alaska, a six-week expedition across South Africa, a tour of Thailand, and an adventure to Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico. The Ballards enjoy traveling globally, but they have always loved U.S. national parks.
Steve and Emily both graduated from Utah State University with degrees in Organizational Management and Behavioral Nutrition. Steve loves food so much that he decided to make it his career. He is the owner and operator of Sonora Grill and Thai Curry Kitchen.
Rachel (13) and Lucy (11) started camping as newborns, and Adam (8) figures we might as well camp when we travel, since he gets stuck sleeping on the floor in hotels anyway. The Ballard Family resides in Ogden, Utah, which is equidistant between two of their favorite places in the world: Grand Teton National Park and Zion National Park.
Jason is an artist and designer whose work explores the connection between social and personal histories of landscapes and places. He studied visual arts at Weber State University and graphic design at Virginia Commonwealth University. More importantly, Jason claims an informal education in wandering from the time he spent in the canyons of the upper Colorado Plateau. His practice shows a devotion for geology, history, ecology, mythology, mysticism, and folk traditions. He is loyal to design as a social art form and seeks to teach others the joy of remaining curious.
Jason is co-creator of Designer and Forests, an interdisciplinary project that focuses on creating healthier forests through engaging place-based workshops. Jason has facilitated design workshops in the United States, Germany, and Iceland. He is a 2014 Marion Fellowship recipient and is currently engaged in a project that takes him paddling, peddling, and hiking his way across the continent as he documents the changing North American West.
Jason lives and works in western New York with his partner and their three dogs.