Earlier this month we were excited to be nominated by Theresa from National Parks with T for the Real Neat Blog Award. We first met Theresa during her Park Chaser Profile last summer, and have loved following her national park and state park adventures for the past few years. It’s always nice when someone else recognizes your work — so thanks for the nomination Theresa!
As part of the Real Neat Blog process, we’re answering a few questions and extending the nomination to a few of our own travel blog favorites. We hope that you’ll be as inspired by their travel stories as we are.
Real Neat Blog Award Questions
What do you envision as the mission statement or purpose of your blog? You can find the Park Chaser mission statement on our “Meet the Park Chasers” page: To help you make the most out of your visit to any one of the 419 sites in the National Park System.
How has that purpose evolved since you first started your blog? Our first blog post went live way back in August 2015. Hard to believe our community has been around for 5 years now. That original post was about the Night Program at Mount Rushmore. We made a few revisions to it since then, including updating the photos and information as the park service has changed the program over time. However, five years later, it’s still one of our most popular posts. Our mission has stayed pretty constant over time — focused on bringing others together around the national parks.
What has helped you grow as a blogger? Google Search and Marie Forlio’s attitude that “Everything is Figure-out-able.” (Affiliate Link) We’ve learned so much about building a community by watching and listening to others around us. We’ve learned so much about the technical aspects of WordPress, social media, and content creation just be having an insatiable curiosity.
What impact has the global pandemic had on your blogging? To be honest, the extra time at home has allowed us to focus more on writing and getting ahead a bit. We also had an amazing collaboration opportunity with the National Parks Creative Exchange back in April for National Parks Week that in part, came together because of the pandemic.
A genie kindly grants you a dream home. Where would you like to have it placed? What made you choose this location? Hmm…since we’ve got more than 300 national parks left to visit, the genie probably needs to grant us a van conversion kit or an RV. We’ve always talked about living on the road to finish off our #parkchasing list.
Do you watch your blog stats and obsess over the numbers or do you publish for the sheer enjoyment of expression? Some of both. Greg manages most of the travel planning, arrangements, and ‘business’ of Park Chasers. Amy manages most of the writing, social media content, and photography. We definitely keep an eye on what our community seems to enjoy the most, but we also plan to keep posting about every national park we visit, regardless of the stats.
What is your best travel experience? Oh, how do you answer a question like that?!?!
For Amy: One of my best experiences in a national park (and one of my Top 10 Days EVER) was hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park. We started out early in the morning from Logan Pass on snowy trails and hiked all the way through Swiftcurrent Pass and back to the Many Glacier Campground. At the time with was the longest hike we’d ever done and it’ll always be one of my favorite accomplishments.
Are you active on other social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…) and which do you like best? Why? We have accounts on Facebook and Instagram and find those platforms to be the best fit for us. Mostly, it’s our own preference for where our family and friends connect with us. Twitter has never been our thing. Amy’s always been a little too long-winded for tweets! Interestingly though, of all of our social media platforms, most of our readers originally find us from our Pinterest boards.
Have you ever had a nightmare trip? Thankfully, we don’t have a trip that we’d label as a ‘nightmare’ so far. We’ve definitely had some missteps and our fair share of bad weather. We’ve even taken some trips to the emergency room, but all-in-all, nothing yet meets the nightmare threshold. (Are you knocking on wood reading this? Because we are!)
Is there a blog post you’ve written that you’re particularly proud of? Why?
This year we wrote our first few posts for the Hello Ranger community. As the Midwest Ambassadors, we’re particularly proud to share all about the Midwest National Parks. There’s so much we love about Minnesota and the national parks in the Midwest. We think there’s something to offer everyone in the Midwest, whether it’s your first or your fifty-first visit to a national park.
What advice would you have for bloggers starting out today?
There’s one piece of advice we think most helped us sustain Park Chasers over the past five years:
“Writer” and “blogger” are nouns. But if you want to be a writer or a blogger, you actually have to do the verb. Write often. Schedule time to write content every day or every few days. Write even if what you write never makes it out to your audience. The best way to find your voice as a blogger is practice and dedication to writing.
Real Neat Blog Award Rules
- Display the blog award logo on your post.
- Thank the blogger who nominated you.
- Please link back to their blog.
- Answer the questions they have given you.
- Nominate the favorite bloggers of your choice for the Real Neat Blog Award.
Our Real Neat Blog Award Nominees
So one of the things about the Real Neat Blog Award is that it gives us a chance to nominate some of our favorite bloggers and the terrific work they do. Tipping our hats to these terrific blogs we think you should add to your bookmarks:
One of the first places we check out when researching new destinations for national park trips is the Just Go Travel Blog. Amy and Pete Brahan continue to put out some of the most informative and helpful posts around. We also love their custom vintage travel posters!
Visiting national parks with kids takes some careful planning and considerations. Erin Gifford and her family have been sharing their family travel adventures since 2011. They’ve created a massive number of blog posts and are one of the first places we look for travel info.
Although we’ve mostly followed Linda from The Bucket List Traveler on Instagram, we love the voice and energy for the parks that she puts out into the world. She recently finished her journey to all 62 national parks and is joining us over at Hello Ranger as the Pacific West Ambassador.
We were so excited earlier this year when Riley from Riley’s Roves announced she was moving her national parks related blog posts from her first travel site to an exclusively national parks blog called The Parks Expert. We’ll be getting together with Riley for a Q & A Park Chaser Profile later this summer to share more about her new project!
Other recommendations on our list:
In 2020 it’s hard to stop just with blogging. So many of our favorite national park friends have other creative avenues besides blog posts, including podcasts, vLogs, Instagram feeds and more. To follow along and gain some travel inspiration, check out these other lists we’ve assembled: