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Meet Jake Northern of National Parks Pro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jake Northern.

Jake, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The story of National Parks Pro is really the story of Whitney and me. I was just a wandering soul swimming in a fishbowl, working in a small office in Pacific Beach. Like many young professionals, I worked long hours in an uninspired cubicle setting and sought more fulfillment from my lackluster routines. That all changed one day when Whitney walked into my office. Time stood still and I heard “Dream Weaver” playing majestically in the background as Whitney floated into my life. After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I managed to ask her out for a slice of pizza and luckily, she agreed. We have been exploring life together every day since.

Unfortunately, our new love did not insulate us from the grind of daily commutes, cubicle life, and the information overload of our modern lives. After dating for some time and sharing our love for the outdoors exploring our local trails and beaches, we started spending more and more time in Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree offered everything from hiking to camping, to climbing, to exploring the small shops and cafés in town. We became borderline obsessed with spending time in the National Parks. Not only did our love for each other grow, but so did our passion for exploring the parks. We started to see how many National Parks in California we could easily access over a three-day weekend. Then we started taking ferries to the Channel Islands. Then we started driving to Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and telling our families we couldn’t make it for the holidays because we are National Park Obsessed. The addiction was real at this point!

Eventually, we ditched the cubicles and pursued our dreams. We’ve spent countless hours on road trips, spent a small fortune at REI, and visited as many National Parks as we could. We haven’t looked back since. Looking back at where we started from, it feels like we’re on top of the world! We now want to share our true passion with the individuals who are looking for more and feeling stuck.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It is never a smooth road when you are looking to start a business. There will always be challenges along the way. Some of our biggest struggles were getting past the first few roadblocks on how to start a community. Understanding social media and website development has been instrumental in overcoming these challenges. Now, we have over 10k followers on social media and have built a community of people who share our passion!

Please tell us about National Parks Pro.
We’re special because we put people before profits. Our main goal is to create a community of people who share our passion, not target customers and look at them as a number. The main focus is to create a safe community online where people can learn about all the National Parks that are right in their backyards. Our website covers everything from geology to Native American history of each park, fun facts, travel tips, and so much more. Our Instagram account and the Facebook group gives people a place to share their love and exchange ideas.

Most people don’t realize how close they are to some of the most beautiful places on earth and don’t take advantage of these public lands while people travel from all over the world to visit. National Park chasing is also an inexpensive way for families to take vacations and not have to book airfare and hotels.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from childhood is my Grandma taking the family to Yosemite National Park. This trip was my first time at any National Park and it was more memorable than my first time to Disneyland. I was blown away by the unbelievable scenery, the endless forests, majestic mountains, and countless waterfalls. Seeing how much my Grandma loved the park is what really made it special for me. She would always say, “Yosemite is my Cathedral.” Seeing her love of the outdoors and respect for the land is what truly inspired my lifestyle.

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