Mikah Meyer is on a mission to visit every one of the 413 official sites of the National Park Service, and he’s making ten stops in New York City.
On Saturday, Meyer, who has been made an official Find Your Park ambassador (an initiative of the National Park Service on its 100 anniversary), joined Hamilton star Nicholas Christopher for a tour of Alexander Hamilton’s New York City homestead called Hamilton Grange.
The 30-year-old man from North Bethesda, Maryland, quit two jobs (at a boarding school and in a choir), loaded a van, and set out on April 29 on a three-year spiritual quest that will take him through every state in the union.
Meyer told Metro that the purpose of the journey is triple-fold: to honor his late father, Larry Lee Meyer, who died of esophageal cancer in 2005 without fulfilling his travel dreams; to show Internet-obsessed millennials that there is beauty all around (and that there are National Park sites in every state); and to inspire interest in the outdoors among the LGBT community.
“It is just not a demographic that’s seen in the park,” Meyer said. “It’s a stereotype that gays aren’t wanted in the park and they don’t want to be in the park. I want REI to do an ad with gay couples, or if The North Face shows gay outdoors people in a magazine, then hopefully we can change that perspective.”
While Meyer continues to try to persuade his boyfriend to join him on the trip, there are others whom he knows he can’t impress.
“I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail that say I’m a lazy millennial, trust fund baby, that I’m on a giant vacation,” he said, but asserts that this trip is a deeply meaningful experience that he’s been blogging, and plans to write about it in a book to help inspire people to live out their dreams.
“We must honor our dreams now because tomorrow you might never get to do it. So learn the trade, open the business,” or set out to see the world, he said.
“Most people think they have to eat, pray, love in India, in Italy and Indonesia and we have so much to offer in our backyards.”
During his trip to New York City, Meyer will make stops at all of the official and frequently overlooked spots that are official sites of the National Park Service:
- African Burial Ground National Monument (downtown Manhattan)
- Castle Clinton National Monument (downtown Manhattan)
- Federal Hall National Memorial (downtown Manhattan)
- Fire Island National Seashore (Fire Island)
- General Grant National Memorial (upper Manhattan)
- Governors Island National Monument (Governors Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan)
- Hamilton Grange National Memorial (upper Manhattan)
- Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Cove Neck, Long Island)
- Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site (Bronx)
- Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island (Liberty Island and Ellis Island, off the southern tip of Manhattan)
- Stonewall National Monument (Greenwich Village, Manhattan)
- Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site (Midtown Manhattan)