Julian received his scholarship back in 2015 to go cross country and see some of the national parks. He went with his pal Conor who was his co-pilot through the adventure. Here is what he had to say about the experience.

Julian Lathrop

“The trip was incredible, beside our diets, it went really really well. We hit all the national parks in the lower 48 that you can drive to, and countless other pieces of state and federally preserved lands. It was an incredible exploration of our country and I am ever grateful for the experiences I had on the road.

We planned everything for the trip meticulously and that included our budget. We forecast that we could survive just fine and dandy on 2$ per meal per person per day AKA 12$ per day. This was certainly true and we did make it by just fine but let me tell you the funding from flyin ryan really made a difference in our diets. We broke the trip up into two legs, an east coast ~100 day chunk from September until Christmas and then a west coast ~150 day leg from January until the 3rd of July (we returned a few days early to surprise our friends and families at a neighborhood 4th of July party). On the first leg, we did lots of backpacking, with backpacking comes meal planning and on our budgets it turned out we (two 18 year old boys) were hiking 10 miles a day on approximately 1500 calories a day. Not enough. We would stop on the trail on the last day of a trip and eat spoonfuls of jelly

Julian Lathrop

for lunch. Was it unsafe? not really. but was it healthy? nope. We eventually realized that this wasn’t super sustainable and started buying more food at the expense of our meticulously planned budget. Once we received the money from Flyin Ryan, we reserved it for food. We were much less hesitant to splurge on a mountain house meal, or an extra box of couscous because we knew that we had the ‘food fund.’¬† Thanks Flyin Ryan!

I am currently a Food Systems major, graduating in t-minus 20 days with minors in plant biology and ecological agriculture. I am certain that I ended up where I am today academically and professionally because of my road trip. Volunteering on organic farms throughout our trip started as just a way to get a place to stay and some delicious and nutritious food on our journey. It quickly transformed, for me, into a passion for working on and with the land cooperatively to produce food for people. The farmers I met on our trip were kind, compassionate people with a strong passion for farming and a tremendous connection with the land that they worked with. It changed how I look at landscapes, natural, agricultural, and man-made. This was probably one of the biggest takeaways from the trip for me and certainly changed my life. I have now been working as a farmer the last 4 years, exploring how different farms grow the same types of food and how they cooperate with the environment to do it. Everyone needs to eat, and that food comes from farms.

Julian Lathrop

Since the trip I have been keeping myself busy with other outdoor adventures including rock climbing with my favorite climbing partner Conor who was the co-pilot on our Gap Year. Skiing with my girlfriend Izzy and other friends, backpacking, trail running and various other outdoor pursuits.

There are countless other highlights of the trip and I am certainly willing to tell you more and send more pictures, but at the moment this email is long enough and my housemates just finished some beef stroganoff.”