Journey Castillo (3): I Was in 63 National Parks and I Need to Go Again, Today

Journey Castillo at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, one of 63 national parks she visited before the age of 3.

Journey Castillo (3) has a name that seems tailor-made for adventure. This pint-sized powerhouse from San Antonio, Texas, has seen more landscapes than most of us will in a lifetime. The hiker with a pacifier has visited all 63 U.S. national parks, earning the title of the youngest park-hopper in history.

The prodigy child is not only breaking hiking records. Castillo’s voyage made her a sensation, with dozens of media appearances. Journey got an entire page in the People magazine, and even popped in Saturday Night Live, where they joked she accomplished her feat “in the talons of an eagle”.

As a hiker in a diaper, Journey Castillo set her eyes on the Grand Canyon when she was 2 weeks old

But who is Journey Castillo in real life? How did she become this intrepid explorer of national parks at the age of three?

Valerie and Eric Castillo, Journey’s Mom and Dad, operate a tree removal and preservation company. As soon as they welcomed Journey into the world on September 19, 2020, the proud parents took her on a road trip. When the hiker in a diaper turned 2 weeks old, her tiny eyes already met the Grand Canyon. It’s been full speed ahead ever since.

Whether it’s taking her first steps at Zion National Park or conquering city parks back home, the hiking wunderkind is always on the move, preparing for her next big adventure. ย 

To say I sat down for an interview with Journey Castillo would be an understatement. One doesn’t sit down for an interview with such a whirlwind. We chatted over Skype, and the petite multitasker managed to answer questions while simultaneously swinging, hanging upside down, or sprinting like her feet were on fire.

Her Dad, Eric Castillo (40), did his best to keep pace with her racing body and mind, stepping in as an interpreter when I couldn’t decipher toddlerish.

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Candy-powered adventures of Journey Castillo

Good morning, Journey. I see you’re already at the playground! What’s your favorite thing there?

Journey Castillo: Erm, purple.

Eric Castillo / Interpreterย (whispers): Hiking!

J: Hiking.

Three-year-old Journey Castillo, dressed in Nike wear, stepping into a mud.
Just like all other kids, Journey also loves puddles

Is this park far from your home?

J: It’s not far away. (runs away to pick up a disassembled penguin toy)

E: She was up at 7 this morning. She’s an early riser, and she likes to get going. So she is always outside, on trails, and hiking in parks. That’s kind of all she was seeing growing up. It’s in her spirit, in her blood. (laughs)

Did you eat your breakfast today, Journey?

J (with a radiant face): Yeah.

What did you eat?

J: I ate at Starbucks.

What did you have?

E: They have these breakfast sandwiches with a vegan patty made of beans, an egg, and a little bit of cheese.

J: And the meat.

And the meat? (now I laugh, imagining a vegan sandwich with meat) And when you go to national parks, what do you eat there? Do you have a picnic? Do you bring a sandwich?

J: I bring my candy.

Mom Valerie Castillo feeding baby Journey Castillo with a nursing bottle during one of their first hikes in national parks.
Journey’s first breakfasts in national parks came via a baby bottle

So candy is your favorite food?

J: It gives me energy! (starts chewing on the penguin)

Yes, I saw it. You can run really fast. Do you like to bring snacks on the trail?

J: No.

E: You like fruit, don’t you?

J: Yeah, I bring it to the pool.

E: Smoothies?

J: I make smoothies, and they look pretty, and then I bring them to the pool.

What do you make smoothies from?

J: We mix smoothies from the house. Banana, strawberries, ice, juice, and pineapple.

Future park ranger โ€“ Journey’s dreams in the making

Do you know what you’d like to be when you grow up?

J: I’d like to grow up in national parks. As park ranger.

Did you meet many park rangers?

J: Yes, I did.

And what did you like about them?

J: I like about them that they gave me books. (rubs penguin against the wall)

Journey Castillo as junior park ranger speaking to a real park ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, one of 63 U.S. national parks she visited before turning 3.
Junior park ranger Journey Castillo making friends with a senior colleague at Rocky Mountain National Park

E: Every park that she goes to, they give her a junior ranger book. It comes with an itinerary and a map of the park. The book gives you activities to do, such as ‘find this animal’, ‘these flowers’, or ‘these trails’. And when you get back, you turn in the book, you put your hand up, you swear in, and they give you a little junior ranger badge. She gets an incentive for doing it. She knows the logistics of it, and how it works, so she looks forward to getting the book and getting the badge.

And how many badges did you collect, Journey? It must be a lot!

J: Sixty! (looks at her father)

E: 63.

J: Sixty-three!

Sixty-three? In every single park? Wow, that’s a lot! And how old are you again?

J: I’m… (starts with a thumb, then adds two more fingers) Three.

And how much is 63?

Journey shows all five fingers.

Yes, it’s a lot more, right?

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From parks to press

Journey Castillo on the cover of the Virgin Islands Daily News, with a national park ranger.
Journey on the cover page of the Virgin Islands Daily News

Do you know what is my job, Journey?

J: No.

I’m a journalist.

J: Right.

Do you know what journalists do?

Journey stays quiet.

Is their job – talking to Journey? Or what do they do?

J: Right. (raises a fist in the air, as if holding a mic)

Did you meet a lot of journalists? I saw that you were on many TV shows, and in magazines!

J: Yeah.

How do you feel about all that?

J: It feels good!

You like it?

J: Yeah. When I was a baby, I went to national parks!

But do you remember it? It was a long time ago, no?

J: Yeah. I’m getting big right now.

What do you remember when you were little?

J: When I was little, when I was in mommy’s tummy, I kicked it. And I said: “Get me out!”

E: And boom, you were in the park already! We did the Grand Canyon, that was the first one.

J: I need to go now!

Valerie Castillo holding her newborn 15-day-old Journey Castillo while visiting the Grand Canyon, the first of 63 national parks in the USA the kid will see before the age of 3.
Newborn Journey in mom Valerie’s hands – one small step for baby, Grand Canyon for mankind

Did you go to the Grand Canyon only once?

E: Three times.

So you are already a regular visitor there!

J: Yeah. But I go to school.

E: They have little classes for kids there, at the Visitor Center.

J: And I have teachers!

What do they teach you there?

J: They help me to do basketball. I have basketball day.

Do they teach you about nature?

J: I don’t have nature at my school.

E: Oh, she’s talking about her church school, here in San Antonio… But the one at the park, you remember! We went the other day, with the park ranger, she had a book, and she was teaching us about what… Look at those! (pointing at the trees)

J: I don’t have those trees. I don’t have them. But I don’t have marshmallows.

Journey’s wild encounters

What kind of animals did you see in national parks?

E: What are the brown ones?

J: A buff. Allo. I saw birds! (mimics the wings) I saw real bears.

Journey Castillo (3) with a plush teddy bear, posing next to a park ranger in Glacier National Park, one of 63 U.S. national parks the toddler visited before turning 3 years old.
Journey, the bear-hunter, at Glacier National Park

Wow… But they are dangerous, Journey, no? How close were you?

J: I was close like that. And they bite me. (climbs over a wall and collects some stones)

E: That was in Katmai National Park, in Alaska. She was on the wooden boardwalk. And you look down on them. You are like 15 feet up, I guess. They were eating fresh salmon, right? They were eating the fish?

J: They were eating. (opens mouth widely, like a growling bear)

But buffalos are also big, and dangerous!

J: There are a lot of cars!

E: Cars would stop around the animals, to see them. She saw buffalo in many parks. Quite a few have them.

Baby Journey Castillo dressed like a junior park ranger at Zion National Park, one of the 63 national parks she would visit before her third birthday.
Junior park ranger reporting for duty at Zion National Park

Journey, what do the park rangers say about touching wildlife, animals?

J (raises shoulders): I don’t know.

E: We cannot touch them, because they are dangerous. Remember?

J: I knooow.

E: What about the trash at the parks? What do you do when you see the trash?

J: I hide it, so I can later throw away.

E: You take it with you, right?

J: I know.

And people in the cars, do they behave well? Do they throw garbage?

J: They throw garbage in the trash can.

E: And sometimes on the floor.

Do they go too close to the animals?

J: They do. I was in national parks. And I need to go again, today.

E: Yeah. Next week?

J: No, today!

E: She’s gonna go again next week. She’ll go to Bryce Canyon, Zion, Death Valley, and the Grand Canyon again. (laughs)

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Journey’s national park favorites โ€“ sandy shores to snowy slopes

You were in many different national parks. What do you like the best: sand, snow, mud?

J: I like Grand Canyon. I like beaches.

E (whispers): Virgin Islands.

J: Virgin Lions. The white sand and the water.

Journey Castillo playing with sand during her first visit to the White Sands National Park, one of the 63 American national parks she will visit before the age of 3
Journey’s virgin steps on Virgin Islands

Do you know how to swim?

J: Yeah. (shows swimming movement with her hands)

E: A little bit.

J: Yeah. A little bit. (gesturing “little” with a thumb and index finger)

Do you do anything else on the beach?

J: I build the sand.

The sandcastles? Nice! And what kind of weather do you love? Do you prefer when it’s raining, snowing, or when it’s summer and hot?

J: I like snowing.

It’s not too cold for you?

J: No. (runs away)

Toddler Journey Castillo standing in the snow at the Great Sand Dunes, one of the 63 national parks she would visit before turning 3.
Journey meeting the snow-covered Great Sand Dunes with a smile

E: We’ve done a lot of the parks in the off-season. Sometimes we would have to put her out of the car when the conditions were heavy with snow, high winds, and heavy rain. If we were doing everything in the season, we wouldn’t have been able to do it how we did it. So a lot of them were done off-season. We got to experience different weather patterns. And I felt that these different weathers that she got to experience, didn’t just build her strength and character. It also gave her an opportunity to adapt and understand what it felt like to be cold. She really loves the cold. When she’s around cold water or cold air, snow, cold weather, she just loves it.

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Brave and bold

Journey, did you ever stay in a national park, for a sleepover?

J: Aha.

Where did you sleep, in a tent, or a cabin?

J: In a tent.

And how was that experience?

J: Good.

Journey Castillo by the tent at Redwoods National Park, one of 63 national parks in the USA she will visit before the age of 3.
Journey exploring Redwoods National Park

Did you hear anything during the night?

J: Yeah, the animals.

What kind of animals did you hear?

J: Birds.

And did you watch the sky? Did you see anything there?

J: I saw the stars. And the Moon.

Was it beautiful?

J: Yeah. (jumps off some park equipment, quickly showing thumb up to signal she’s okay)

Were you scared?

J: No.

I’m a big girl. I help mommy and daddy, and share snacks with themJourney Castillo

You were not even a little nervous?

J (unclear): No, not either.

Not what?

J: Not either.

E: None of them.

Is it because you were with mommy and daddy, or because you are a big girl?

J: I’m a big girl.

Journey Castillo, a three-year-old who visited all American national parks, being pampered at hair & make-up before a TV interview.
Junior celebrities also go through hair & make-up before TV appearances

And who is organizing your trips, more mommy or daddy?

J: Mommy and daddy.

Do you help them?

J: Yes. I help them, like give them snacks, share them.

Do you carry anything with you, or do mommy and daddy bring everything?

J: I carry suitcase. I have toys inside. Toys, and clothes, and candy!

Yes, we can’t forget candy!

J: And water, and fruit, and and and fruit. And vegetable. We’re going camping tomorrow! We go camping when it gets dark, and we’re going camping today.

Journey’s adventures with berkonoculs

I see you’re very excited about your trip next week. Tomorrow. Today. What is your favorite toy you bring along?

J: My favorite is, I think it is national park toys.

Journey Castillo looking through her Melissa-and-Doug binoculars while observing wildlife in one of many U.S. national parks.
Bears beware, Journey Castillo on the lookout!

Is it like animal toys?

J: These like little things that I can see animals, it looks like this… (shows putting fingers around her eyes)

E: The binoculars.

J: Berkonoculs.

And what kind of animals do you see through these binoculars?

J: Bears and fish. But the bears are in the water, and the fish are in the water. I see a lot of animals.

Do you see mommy and daddy bears, or also baby bears?

J: Big bears, and mommy bear, and daddy bear. And a brother and a sister bear. I love those animals! I see them very nice when I wake up, I see them very nice. And I see them at my house, right?

E: It’s pictures. We have pictures of her around the house from different parks. So she can grow up and kind of remember seeing those pictures.

Toddler Journey Castillo with a stuffed buffalo toy at the White Sands National Park, one of the 63 national parks in the United States, all of which she will visit before her third birthday.
Journey coming too close to a buffalo

Did you bring home anything from national parks?

E: What kind of stuffed animals did you get? The buffalo?

J: Alligator, snake…

But alligators are scary. Are you scared of them?

J: Yeah. But my brother didn’t… (wanders away, sucking on a pacifier)

E (trying to keep pace with her): What about the alligators? Do you remember when we saw them at the Everglades, in Florida?


Trips with the troop

So, Journey, you have a brother?

J: I have all my brothers. I have four brothers. They are older and go to school. I don’t have to go to school.

But do they go on trips with you?

J: Yeah, they go to national parks.

E: They’ve been on a few trips with her, maybe three or four. Usually in the summer, because they are in school.

J: Like, when we are on the airplane, they come with me. But they sit on their own seat.

Three-year-old hiker Journey Castillo high-fiving a park ranger at San Antonio Missions National Park, one of the 63 national parks she visited in the United States.
High five from down below – three-year-old hiker meeting a park ranger at San Antonio Missions National Park

E: We made it her thing and her goal, you know, and focused on that. I and Valerie come from previous marriages with the other boys, Valerie has two, and I have two. Journey is our daughter together. Her brothers are older, they’re in high school. So a lot of the times, when they would be with the other side of the family, that’s when we would go with Journey.

Did you make any new friends at national parks, Journey?

J: Yes, I did. Rangers. And I play games.

What kind of games?

J: I play a girl game. We play robots!

E: No, which game did you play when we went to that park, to the Missions? Did you play hide and seek there?

J: No!

Three-year-old hiker and national parks regular Journey Castillo with lifeguards on Hawaii Beach.
Lifeguards on Hawaii Beach, the second-best job after park rangers

Journey Castillo โ€“ lifestyle behind the name

You have a special name! What do people tell you about it?

She runs away, laughing.

You are quick!

E: She is, big time. And this will be all day. Her energy levels are so high! We were at the playground last night, the lights were off, and she was still playing. She did a 1.5-mile hike. Her days are very active.

A three-year-old Journey Castillo climbing 1048 steps of the Koko Crater Trail in Hawaii, one of the kid's many hiking accomplishments.
Climbing 1048 steps of the Koko Crater Trail in Hawaii produces sweat but also smiles

A lot of people say she won’t remember going to the parks. That’s fine. But we did it for a bigger reason. You know, we got to see her grow up differently. She comes up to people and says, “Hey, I’ve been to 63 national parks” or “I love the hikes”.

It’s like starting the kids very young with sports or gymnastics. You know, like Michael Jordan, or Serena Williams. They’re starting very, very young. And that’s kind of what we want to do with Journey, but with the natural world, with something different and unique, something that’s not socially normal in our society, here in Texas.

The tradition here is in sports, football, volleyball, baseball, softball… Those things are socially normal. We did it with raising boys, but we just wanted to do something very different with her, because she was a female.

And we named her Journey. Giving her that name was about us being on this new journey together and having her. Without even thinking or knowing what we’re gonna do. We never started with “We’re gonna have Journey and do all these parks”. That was never intended. It just kind of happened.

We had our old lives, Valerie and me, and now we had new lives, merging them, and having a daughter together. We’ve both been through our journeys, and this is a new journey. So this is Journey, that’s who she is!

Journey by air

Do you prefer riding in a car or flying on a plane, Journey?

J: I fly with planes.

E: Do you remember, what kind of planes were in Alaska?

J: The little ones.

Were you scared?

J: No. But those scary planes, they open the door and fly out, I saw the video. And you look at the sky, and you fall. (She runs away to her imaginary sky, like a parachuter)

Journey Castillo, a three-year-old hiker on a mission to visit all U.S. national parks, standing in front of a single-engine plane bringing her to the Gates of Arctic National Park in Alaska.
Not-at-all-scared Journey smiling next to the Gates of the Arctic plane

E: I don’t think she is scared of the big planes. Because she did it so young, growing up. With commercial airlines, once she got to a point where she knew what was going on, she was familiar with her body going through it at a very young age.

I think when we went to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska, that was scary not for her, but for all of us. It was our first time experiencing those small single-engine airplanes. The heater wasn’t blowing, it was freezing, and you were flying above the mountains. You could feel the cold air. The airplane would drop and shake with turbulence.

We had some near-death-experience feelings when we were on those. It was an adventure. You hear about those things going down. We knew it was a risk.

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And those parks that are accessible by land?

E: We would drive to anything near Texas. We just rented an RV, and from Texas, we did Big Ben, Guadalupe, and White Sands. But everything else was flying there, renting a car, and then driving from the airport to the parks. For some of them, we had to take boats, ferries, ships, and then small-engine planes.

Sequoia is not bigger than me. In national parks, I hike up the sky!Journey Castillo

Journey’s viewfinder

Amazed 3-year-old Journey Castillo with gaping mouth on the beach of the Redwood National Park, one of the 63 U.S. national parks she visited before the age of 3.
Journey amazed by the “veos” of the Redwood National Park

What is your favorite, Journey? Planes, boats, or cars?

J: I love brioche.

E: I know, but planes or boats, or cars?

J: Erm, boats. And the veo.

E: The video of the boat?

J: No, the veo.

E: Oh, she likes the view from the boat.

J: I love ocean.

Did you see fish in the ocean too?

J: Yes, I did.

And bears?

J: Yeah. I caught fish.

E: We went fishing. But she is thinking about something else.

Do you prefer looking through the windows when you travel, or hiking in national parks?

J: I like boats and veos.

E: But in national parks, do you like to hike? Where do you hike to?

J: Up the sky.

Baby Journey Castillo sitting in front of a giant sequoia at Sequoia National Park, one of the 63 national parks in the U.S. this child would visit before her third birthday.
Baby Journey in the shadow of a 3000-times-older tree at Sequoia National Park

Do you like flowers?

J: I like flowers in the parks. I like trees too.

E (whispers): Sequoia.

J: Sequoia.

Sequoia is very big. Much bigger than you!

J: No.

How do you look at it? Does your neck not hurt?

J: I look at the sky. But I just want to know my mom is coming. I have a mom.

What is the favorite national park mommy took you to?

J: Virgin Islands.

Would you like to live there?

J: Yeah.

Not in Texas?

J: Not in Texas. But I like Texas. Like, a little bit.

Journey Castillo climbing stairs at Kettle Falls - Voyageurs National Park, one of the 63 national parks in the U.S. she visited before turning 3 years old.
Hiking at Kettle Falls – Voyageurs National Park

Eric Castillo โ€“ a father’s perspective (or veo)

Flexible work, boundless adventures

Smiling Journey Castillo resting on a beach chair at the Virgin Islands National Park, her favorite of all national parks she visited as a child, before the age of 3.
Journey Castillo resting on the beach of her favorite national park – Virgin Islands

Why do you think the Virgin Islands, or Virgin Lions as she calls it sometimes, are Journey’s favorite national park?

Eric Castillo: That park had a very slow vibe. The culture was very rich. It was on an island. The water was beautiful, the sand. I don’t know, just the energy. It was a great experience.

We had the local newspaper there, a journalist and a photographer, a park ranger… Everybody was there for her, and I think she knew that. She understood that, she was a little older at that time. It was perfect for her, it was a good park.

I feel that through other ones we rushed a lot. We could have experienced them more, and gotten deeper into the parks.

How did you manage coordinating visiting 63 national parks in three years, and your job?

In the winter landscape of a national park forest, Eric Castillo holds his baby Journey in his hands, the first child that would visit all 63 national parks in the USA before turning three.
Dad Eric and baby Journey on their first winter adventure together

E: I’m an arborist, so I work on trees. I have a tree business. We have been doing this for 7-8 years, so it gives me a lot of flexibility, to spend more time with Journey, like I’m doing right now, or how we are going to do next week. Trees are reproductive, they are always growing, so there’s always gonna be work.

Valerie does marketing, she does all the back-office stuff, with marketing. When the phone rings, we go and do our jobs. When we leave, we turn the ads off, and when we come back, we turn them on. That’s how we’ve been doing it. Just working when we are here, and when we leave, turning everything off.

She does marketing for one company as well, but she can work from a laptop anywhere. And then my job is very flexible. That’s how we are able to do that.

Three-year-old Journey Castillo from San Antonio, Texas, training on a trail for her hiking adventures, dressed in "Just do it" t-shirt, with Nike as her favorite wear.
Nike might be blind if they still didn’t notice Journey Castillo’s Instagram page

Parks, just do it

Do you work with marketing on this project? I see Journey is often wearing Nike. Is that a partnership?

E: Not yet, but that would be the goal. I would love to have that. The only sponsor she got so far was the toy company Melissa & Doug. The reason why we were trying to push it to finish all the parks by September is that she would secure the sponsorship. They are putting out a national park toy line and they wanted to use the story of how she accomplished that.

Nature Valley, General Mills, also reached out to her last week and wanted to use some content with their products.

I’ve never wanted it to be about capitalizing monetary from it. But if Nike came, I would love to get Nike! (laughter)ย I would take it in a heartbeat.

If Nike had a kids’ line, called the Journey, like they have the Jordans, that would be hugeEric Castillo

We put her in Nike because I was an athlete growing up. When I played college football, we were sponsored by Nike. And it’s like a uniform. I was in it for four years at university. When we had Journey, we just kept her in that.

We did think, that if Nike had a kids’ line, called the Journey, like they have the Jordans, they could have 63 shoes in that line. The Yosemite, the Zion, each shoe for the kid could be with art of each park, obviously with the Nike logo. If it’s Arches, it could have an arch. If it is Everglade, it could have an alligator with Nike. But the national park line? Man, they could capitalize on that, that would be huge.

I have ideas, but it’s so much work to find that person. If it happens, it happens.

Inspiring minds – Journey’s journey from Instagram to schools

Beyond just personal satisfaction, what is your ultimate goal with this national parks project?

E: We want to use all the momentum that she got, from the media perspective, to build off it. I really want to focus on using her platform here locally first, to go to elementary schools, little schools, colleges, and universities, and share her story, how she was the youngest to finish this, the 63 national parks.

Tall dad Eric Castillo and tiny daughter Journey walking over the beach in hoodies.
Journey Castillo, setting new trails for her generation, with Dad’s help

Not only that but also give a little history on the parks, explain to people how many sites there are, how many big parks there are, what is the difference between a national park and a national monument…

Educate people that they can become park rangers and that these parks are really good for mental healing. That’s why they were built. Theodore Roosevelt was going through mental illness. All these parks have so much rich history, why they were established, and why they’re being protected.

I know when I was in school, I didn’t even know the difference between a national park and a state park. At that time, I was clueless. I knew there was a Grand Canyon, but I didn’t put everything together. When I started visiting the parks, I saw there were national parks, 420+ sites, city parks, state parks, national forests… It just educates you. We soaked the history of every park and why it was preserved, or considered a national park.

Toddler Journey Castillo posing on the rock at the Arches National Park, one of the 63 US national parks she would visit before her third birthday.
Soaking in the views at Arches National Park

A voice for adventure

Can this experience and knowledge you gained be contagious?

E: With Journey’s platform, besides all the sponsorships, all the glam that can come with it, I want to hit it more in an educational way. I think Journey’s story would inspire, in any school. If you would go to little children or university level, she would touch somebody with this story, and maybe redirect somebody to visit the parks, maybe somebody who was going through a hardship and needed to heal.

When she’s able to have her own voice, when she is 6-7 years old, she can go on a stage at a school or university and say, “Hey, I’m Journey Castillo, I was the youngest to finish National Parks”. She can have her own microphone and be an advocate for these parks, and inspire people.

“Hey, this little girl did all this? We should go do it.”

Raising Journey Castillo, a park ambassador

Journey broke the record for being the youngest person to visit all 63 national parks. Are you now chasing any other records?

E: We don’t have a goal at this point. We did what we did. Now, it’s more about enjoying the parks as we go and using her platform to advocate and educate. We continue visiting them because I want her to grow up just refamiliarizing with everything. So she starts remembering it.

Castillo family, mom Valerie, dad Eric, and daughter Journey, the first 3-year-old who visited all 63 U.S. national parks.
Family that hikes together, stays happy together

Tiger Woods has been playing golf since he was a little kid, that was all he knew. And when you put that around somebody, and you grow up like that, and that’s all you know, then you become great at what you do.

I want her to become a voice for national parks. That’s what we need. Everybody wants to be an athlete or a doctor. Which is not bad. Those are good things to aspire to be. But what we are doing for Journey, it’s very rare. So to kids of the next generation or her generation to hand somebody that responsibility. I think with what she’s accomplished, that gives her credibility to be that platform. That’s what I want her to be.

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The record-breaking hiker Journey Castillo managed to visit all 63 U.S. national parks before the age of three. Read the exclusive interview with this wonder toddler!

Ivan Kralj


Award-winning journalist and editor from Croatia

    1. Thanks, Amy!
      I couldn’t agree more. Journey’s name perfectly reflects her adventurous spirit.
      Surely, we’ll be hearing even more inspiring tales from this amazing young explorer in the future!

  1. This little lady has achieved something I only dream of! Her adventurous spirit and love for nature are truly inspiring. Thanks for the reminder to nurture the sense of curiosity and wonder in our own lives.

    1. Darla, your words perfectly capture the essence of Journey’s remarkable journey!
      Isn’t it fantastic when someone so little can have such a great power of inspiration?
      Indeed, we should all try to stay as curious as children are.
      It’s something we seem to stop fostering to some extent, but it certainly lives in all of us!

  2. This is THE cutest article EVER! What an accomplishment! Curious as to how you found out about her. I absolutely ADORE that her mom and dad started traveling with her literally right after she was born. Her name is perfect and she has the big personality to fill it. You did a fantastic job with her from interview to publishing of the article!

    1. Thank you so much, Heather!
      I’m thrilled you enjoyed the article.
      I stumbled upon her adventure through her growing media presence and couldn’t resist diving deeper into her inspiring tale.
      Your compliments for the result are truly appreciated!

  3. This is so great! She is adorable. I love her response to your question about planes, boats or cars “Brioche.” Me too, little one, me too! lol

    1. I know, right? Her witty responses are so cute.
      “What’s your favorite game on the playground?”
      Her mind-my-own-business answers reflect her unique personality.
      Thanks for sharing in the joy of her adventures with us, Katie!

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* pipe away ['paipว'wei] (vt, mar) = to give
the whistling signal for the ship about to
leave the harbor

Mapping the extraordinary since 2017.


Pipeaway is a travel blog mapping extraordinary people, places and passions.
Founded and run by Ivan Kralj, Croatian award-winning journalist and editor.
Read more and find out how to contact us on About page.