SAN ANTONIO – The Castillos are an adventurous family. The COVID-19 pandemic gave them the urge to be outside and to experience nature.
Valerie and Eric Castillo welcomed their daughter, Journey, to the world in September of 2020. Two weeks after Journey was born, she visited her first national park.
The Castillos visited the Grand Canyon and it was the start of a three-year adventure of taking Journey to all 63 national parks.
“We put a goal together and said we’ll do 21 by the time she turns one, we’ll get to 42 by the time she turns two and then 63 by the time she turns three,” said Valerie Castillo, Journey’s mother.
Journey’s name is true to who she is — a fighter. Her mother says they had a scare 11 weeks into her pregnancy with her daughter. They didn’t think she would make it, but she did. On top of that, she is also the first girl born into the family. For those reasons, they decided to name her Journey.
“Her name is Journey and she’s been on these epic journeys,” said Valerie.
Throughout the past three years, the Castillos have traveled to Hawaii, Colorado, Alaska and many more places to visit the national parks.
“We wanted to expose her to these different wonders of the world so she could grow up in those environments,” said Eric Castillo, Journey’s father.
As Journey gets older, the family plans on bringing her back to the national parks.
“We wanted to give her a backbone of having nature as a passion. She could turn to that whenever things got hot and heavy,” Valerie said.
The Castillos urge everyone to get out and involved in nature.
They have faced some backlash saying their daughter won’t remember these things and that they shouldn’t be traveling so much with a child, but they don’t listen to the critics.
“Once you have a kid, you should stay in your community and raise the kid there and what we did was the complete opposite,” said Eric.