Roadtrip Nation

A few years back I was sitting in a Starbucks in Atlanta. I can’t remember if I was there for work or stopping in to visit some friends on the way to Washington D.C. While I was sitting there, waiting, I noticed a lime green book on the table next to me with the picture of a giant R.V. of the same color on the cover. The title was “Roadtrip Nation” and it was the story of some college kids that had no idea what to do with their lives so they set out to interview people they found successful. Using this massive vehicle as their mobile home they drove across the country interviewing an incredibly diverse group of people. They asked questions about how these people got where they are, how they define success, and what advice they had for people who were still trying to find their path in life.

I bought the book when I got back home and still haven’t read it all the way through. I keep loaning it out to other people because I want to share the idea.

Now, three years after their initial journey, the Roadtrip Nation crew have R.V.’s operating in the US, Canada, and the UK. Each summer they have selected a group of college kids – Reality-TV style – to sponsor on their own journey across the country. They set up the interviews, plan the route, and make it all happen. Their collected experiences have culminated in a PBS series and an Online series. The advice they get is at times inspiring, discouraging, counter-intuitive, and hopeful. Watching these travelers and their experiences has served to calm me down and inspire me for my own roadtrip adventure, now only 30 days out.

I find that the closer I get to my departure date the more anxious I become that I won’t get everything done in time, that I’ve overlooked something critical, and how much I’m going to miss all my friends and people I love, especially my fiancĂ©e. I know that in the end everything will work out fine, but for now over thinking things is still an option. There is that time in skydiving just before you exit the plane, before you’re too busy doing the thing, when your anxiety peaks for a moment and you’re running through all the details in your head. I think the next few weeks will be that peak for me, just before the bliss of falling.

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