Our Story From the Start, 2016

It all started in 2016, with 2 weeks to drive across the U.S. and see 6 National Parks. We packed up our 4-door Jeep Wrangler and began the 13-hour drive from Connecticut to Indiana.

We planned to spend as much of our time as we could in the National Parks out West and we were excited to get out there.

Cross Country Road Trip

From Indiana, we made our way to Badlands National Park, which was the first park we explored together and we had two days there before we were off to Yellowstone.

The Badlands were vast. We could see the horizon for miles ahead, with multi-colored cathedral-like terrain. It gave us the feeling of time standing still as we gazed upon this other-worldly landscape.

Two days into our first cross-country road trip and we were so thrilled. We had this exhilarating feeling of freedom and gratitude to have the opportunity to take in these new and diverse landscapes, see so much of the U.S., and cover so much distance.

Our Love for National Parks

Yellowstone was up next and here we hit our first snag in the trip. Instead of arriving at our campground during daylight so we could get a sense of our surroundings, we arrived after dark, around 11pm.

We were greeted by the park ranger who shared with us that a grizzly bear had been walking through the campsite the night before. This added to a bit of tension of having to set up camp in the dark, in a brand new place.

We both come from vastly different levels of experience with the great outdoors so this is where things got interesting.

(Side note: we now have a rule for road trips that we always arrive at camp with some daylight left.)

Founder & Outdoorsman, Thomas

But first let’s rewind - from an early age, Thomas had a natural love and connection to the great outdoors. His first big backcountry canoe trip was in the boundary waters of Minnesota at 8 years old.

Even at this young age, he was in his element. When a team vote stacked the odds against him as his older brother and cousins wanted to return home, he was the only one amongst the kids in the group that voted to continue the trip.

Since then he has done various backpacking, camping, canoeing, biking, and National Park trips. He is thankful to his parents for introducing him to the great outdoors at such a young age.

He enjoyed his time as a Boy Scout and completed his Eagle Scout Award at the age of 16. He learned fire building, knots, campfire cooking, first aid and more, which to this day gives him confidence in his outdoorsman skills. 

Founder & Nature Lover, Lauren

On the contrary, Lauren did not have as much experience in the great outdoors. In fact, this cross country road trip with Thomas was the first time she had gone tent camping.

So the news of the grizzly bear in the campgrounds in Yellowstone was off-putting to an inexperienced outdoorswoman, and she slept in the Jeep that first night in Yellowstone.

But since then, Lauren has grown to truly love the outdoors. Through education, a few pointers, skills and reassurance from Thomas. Lauren learned how to relax and enjoy time out in the wilderness, which is one of the greatest gifts Thomas has given her.

This newfound time in nature re-ignited Lauren's love for art and design from her cherished childhood memories. And on all of these trips, Lauren drew the unique flowers she saw that morning or captured the magnitude of the mountains she ventured into that day.

Naturally, combining Thomas's appreciation and connection to nature with Lauren's love for art and design is exactly how Life Outdoors Group was created.

Nowadays, 2024

That first cross country road trip we took together was so memorable. Now 8 years and 23 National Parks later, we’ve learned even more about the great outdoors.

Especially how to plan a great trip, how to be confident and respectful in these wild places, and how to enjoy and be present enough to experience all of the healing benefits of nature.

Nowadays, you could say that road trips and National Parks are our love language as we feel so energized, inspired and nostalgic towards all the beautiful moments and unique experiences we’ve created together from that very first road trip and beyond.

We especially enjoy tent camping together, as it allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the place or Park we’re visiting. As of 2024, we’ve been to 23 out of the 63 U.S. National Parks, with plans to see about 8 additional parks this year.

March 04, 2024 — Thomas DiLuoffo