My Personal Travel Quests

It wasn’t until the release of the book Happiness of Pursuit that I really started to think about the role that quests and goal-seeking had played in my life. Looking back, it’s always been a part of what I’ve done. It probably started with trips to the state parks of Michigan with my mom when I was a kid, as we sought refuge and tried to make the most of our annual park pass.

Of course, the most well-known and important of my quests is to visit all 417 units of the National Parks System—it’s my longest running quest and the one that’s hardest to accomplish.

But that’s not the only one I’m currently pursuing.

Below is a listing of quests currently in progress, as well as ones I’ve already completed. Some of them are “complete” only for awhile, while others are more static. It’s unlikely that we’ll end up with a new county high point, for example, while new breweries are opening every month or two. Still others, like the highest points of otherwise flat states, are more about just collecting as many as I can with no final number in mind.

National & Global quests

National Parks Quest: visiting all 417 units of the National Parks System; the quest I’m probably best known for.

Highest Points of Otherwise Flat States: visiting each of the country’s Drivable State Summits, aka the “Lazy Highpointers” quest.

National Monuments of the US: visiting each of our land-based national monuments

All 50 States: visiting every state in the country—and I’ve since added the 5 major territories, too. (Contiguous US completed 2016)

#45by45: visiting 45 countries before I turn 45.

National Conservation Lands: major areas protected under the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System.

Manhattan Project: visiting the major sites associated with the development of our early nuclear weapons.

Stein Brewery Quest: visiting every brewery in countries that end in “-stein” (completed 2017)

Japanese Internment Camps: visiting the 10 “War Relocation Centers” where Japanese-Americans were confined during WWII.

Visiting all three of the World’s Largest Balls of Twine (completed 2013)

National Scenic & Historic Trails: visiting all 25 scenic and historic trails managed by the National Park Service. (completed 2018)

Statewide quests

AZBeerQuest: visiting all of Arizona’s breweries (completed 2016)

Arizona State Parks: visiting all of Arizona’s State Parks

Arizona Wilderness Areas: visiting each of the designated Wilderness Areas in Arizona

High Points of each of Arizona’s Counties: tackling the highest points in each county.

Local quests

Visiting all of the locations designated as Phoenix Points of Pride.

PhxBrewQuest: visiting all of metro Phoenix’s breweries (completed 2015)

Sketchy Chinese restaurants of downtown Phoenix: just…don’t ask. (completed 2015)

Attend a game of every professional sports team in Phoenix

Phx Trail Quest: Hiking every mile of every official trail in the City of Phoenix

I’m considering adopting

  • Craft breweries of the US territories
  • National Natural & Historic Landmarks of Arizona
  • “Culture Pass” locations in metro Phoenix
  • National Scenic and Historic Trails
  • Pac-12 football stadiums
  • Section hiking the Arizona Trail
  • Section hiking the Maricopa Trail


Craft Breweries: keeping track of how many breweries I can visit since 2014

52 Hike Challenge: completing 52 hikes in 2018

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