Last year, on December 1, Michigan native Jasmine Wilson embarked on a cross-country journey to see every National Park in her newly renovated van. Equipped with all the necessities, the van is the perfect size for Wilson and adventure mate, Ice the dog.
When the vagabond-inspired adventurist came up with the idea the previous summer, coronavirus-related shutdowns and precautionary measures captivated the country. Feeding off of the world’s current state of improvisation, Wilson felt it was the ideal time to conquer her goal of visiting every National Park in the U.S.
“I decided to look up [vans] for sale and then I found mine at a dealership and then I just picked it up the next day,” Wilson said in an interview with Fox News. “I was just going to go for it, because this year’s been very unpredictable, so I figured, you know, take advantage of the somewhat freedom we have while we have it.”
After purchasing the van midsummer, Wilson began renovating the vehicle herself—even though she had no prior experience with power tools.
“I didn’t know how to build anything outside of IKEA furniture,” the National Park explorer admitted.
However, with a few short cuts and some YouTube video guidance, Wilson created a compact yet luxurious home for herself. Now completed, her van has a full-sized bed, a fridge/freezer, a shower, a monitor for gaming, a ceiling fan and security cameras.
“I have everything like a normal house has, I just chose not to, I guess, display it in the same way,” Wilson said. “Because I guess for me, the goal was to get out of the house. So I didn’t want it to exactly look like a house.”
Van Adventurist Begins Visiting National Parks
Once her van was all set, Wilson didn’t hesitate to begin her trip across the country. With already seven months into the journey, she has seen ten National Parks as well as a few State Parks. Her next regional destination in mind is the East Coast, as Wilson plans to visit the parks there before the weather gets too cold.
Traveling so often from place to place, it’s a wonder how Wilson funds her adventure. However, the newest National Park visitor had a plan in-store before she left her permanent home. She works remotely. As a designer for three different start-up companies, Wilson has the advantage of working anywhere as long as she has access to WiFi.
“They know I live in a van and that I travel a lot and they love that,” Wilson said. “On our meetings, they ask where I am that day.”
With a flexible job, accommodating home and an open road, Wilson has everything she needs.
“I haven’t seen a lot of the country, but because [National Parks are] in so many different places, that’s a good way to find something to do in almost every state,” Wilson said.