Meet nomadic traveler Alison Van Dusen. A backcountry park ranger, Alison has worked in 20 U.S. National Parks over the last 28 years. In between seasonal work, she lives as a nomad and travels around the world – often doing volunteer service work. She has been to at least 30 countries on six continents, and even spent 2 summers working in the South Pole.

Alison shares what sparked her love of travel, how she became a park ranger, and why she started traveling internationally. She also shares amazing stories, tips for volunteering abroad, and how she’s navigating the pandemic.

What You’ll Learn

  • What sparked Alison’s love of travel
  • Some of her early adventures
  • Why she left her engineering career to work for the National Park Service
  • How she ended up traveling internationally between her seasonal work
  • How a meditation retreat in Thailand led her to being in Africa for 6 months
  • Some of her favorite travel stories
  • What her nomadic life looks like
  • How the pandemic has challenged her lifestyle
  • What it’s like to work as a backcountry park ranger
  • How she’s made it through challenging moments
  • How she manages the transition between remote nature and urban life
  • Why she weaves service work into her travels (and where that focus has taken her)
  • What she is envisioning for the near future
  • Resources she has used to find volunteer experiences
  • How travel has fundamentally changed her

About Alison Van Dusen

Alison grew up in Florida along the Atlantic Coast playing sports and doing an adequate job with academics. After graduating from high school, she earned a Bachelors and Masters of Electrical Engineering and worked as a design engineer for 10 years. After General Electric sold her division she decided to take a year off and ended up volunteering for land management agencies, including the National Park Service. She soon pursued a backcountry postion with NPS, obtaining her law enforcement credentials. Alison has worked and volunteered seasonally for NPS and various land management agencies for almost 30 years. She has created a lifestyle that combines her seasonal work with world traveling. Feel free to say hi to Alison at

Resources Mentioned

This episode is sponsored by Waypoint Goods, makers of beautiful and functional travel scarves and journals. Globetrotter Lounge podcast listeners get a 15% discount –  enter JETSET at checkout.

The episode is also sponsored by Manta Sleep. Their sleep masks and other sleep accessories help you maximize enjoyment of life and unlock your full potential through achieving quality sleep. Use JETSET to get 10% off at checkout.

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