Our Vie Adventures consists of Cees, Madison, Vladimir the Kitten, and a 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Cees and Madison are on the road, living the dream of every outdoor-minded couple by visiting each national park in the country over the course of the year. In celebration of our National Parks centennial, we’ve partnered with Cees and Madison to bring you stories and photos of their yearlong quest (and of course, plenty of #vladimirkitten along the way).

In honor of our new partnership with the National Park Foundation, we’ve asked Cees and Madison to reflect on their journey and the significance that the national parks hold in their lives. 

Stay tuned to Downstream for updates on their adventures and follow them on Instagram (@ourvieadventures) for more frequent updates from the road.

When I’m out here in the parks or in the other wild places we’ve been fortunate enough to frequent on our trip – I feel a very real pull. There is something about being surrounded by wild that shoots me back to my elemental beginning.

It resets me. These places help me clear away the fluff. I see clearer; I feel in place.


The feeling seems to be heightened after a successful coexistence with that “wild”. For example – finishing a long bike ride through a heavily-rooted forest trail, hiking out from a multi-pitch climb up remnants of volcanic activity, or being scared out of my wits by a friendly whale! These interactions with the rock, the trees, or the animals send a very tangible message to my heart, or perhaps my soul, that I’m part of it all. That somehow, amidst the complicated web of geology, ecology, and biological evolution – my piece to the puzzle is essential. I belong.


And I think that’s the part that feels so good. That’s what keeps me seeking those feelings. A sense of belonging in the universe is one of the greatest blessings we, as human beings, can experience!

And that is why we, as stewards of these wild places, need to do everything we can to protect them. We need to stand up for laws that ensure that sense of wild belonging for future generations. I want my future children and grandchildren to feel as I do in these rugged landscapes.

img_3502 img_3446 7l1a95577l1a89457l1a0815 7l1a0051

The National Park Service has been trying to accomplish this goal for over 100 years now. Not only do they strive to protect these special areas, but they try to provide opportunity for all to experience them.

Madison and I have had the great fortune of exploring these parks as a tribute to efforts made by the National Park Service. Even though we barely scratch the surface of each of the parks, we see the unique value of every one.

img_0505 7l1a9475 7l1a9409 7l1a8583

Because of the NPS we’ve been lucky enough to experience desert sunsets, feel the soft light through a grove of mighty sequoias, and summit snow-capped mountain peaks. The list doesn’t stop there either – we’ve watched whales, been close to bears, and kept company with chipmunks . The access to these amazing places provides countless opportunity to connect, not only with our planet, but with the creatures that inhabit it. All of these experiences may not have been possible without the protective and preserving powers of the National Park Service and National Park Foundation.

7l1a6367 7l1a54847l1a4750 7l1a5496

We owe our support to this beautiful organization. Click here to donate to the National Park Foundation now.

See more of our national park adventures at www.ourvie.com.

Featured Styles: Men’s Z/2 Classic, Men’s ZX/2 ClassicWomen’s Dharma, Women’s Natilly Boot, Women’s Z/Cloud X2.

  1. Posted By Sandy Carver

    Inspiring. Love everything about this adventure, the support for the parks and the opportunity we have to share it. Great article. Looking forward to more. Love the pictures!

Your email address will not be published.