by request


 Earlier some of our friends asked for us to post  our responses to the questions we were asked by roadtrip nation as to why we wanted to go on this roadtrip and what we hoped to learn. Well after being on the road for almost 3 months we have started to reflect upon different aspects of our trip, what we hoped to gain and what we’ve already achieved. Here are our early answers to these questions.

What is your team’s purpose for going on this roadtrip? What is it that you hope to discover on your travels?

We are the kids next door, we played in little league, went to college, became camp counselors and now graduation with its life decisions and opportunities beckon. Frankly we’ve had a hard time with this idea. We are not looking for an answer, but for alternate options to the road that has been paved for us. We hope to learn about the decisions other Americans have made around our age and how they have been effected by their decisions. We have toyed with the idea of traveling abroad, but have decided that its benign to look for answers in far away places when we can learn much more in our own backyard. We hope to better know our own culture and the people who have influenced our lives, or at least understand people and America in a new way.  The American culture is a hodgepodge of ideas, customs, and differences; we hope to find ourselves in its mixture without following the given recipe.

In the search for these new meanings and answers, we find it hard to ignore the fact that it is an election year.  At a pivotal time for our country, it seems this election is as important and as popular as ever.  From Bourbon Street in New Orleans to route 66 in the west, we will read similar billboards and yard signs promoting change and will talk with people who hold diverse ideas about its direction. The election will follow us on our trip around the nation.  We want to get a better understanding of how different American cultures are affected by this election, and in turn, what impact this election has on these cultures. 

 What is your individual purpose for going on this trip? What do you hope to gain from this opportunity?

Elly’s answer:

I’ve spent the past couple of months thinking about this question. You know, the why. Why do this, why stray off the path already written, why not take the 50 grand with benefits and be happy with the job a college degree can get you right after graduation. But there is so much I have not learned or experienced yet. College makes so many decisions for us, but I refuse to conform to its label of success. I do not want to be bound by the straight and narrow. This trip is the beginning of a different sort of education. To learn from people and to make peoples experiences not just stories in books or newspapers, but real. I recently spent five months in Thailand and there I learned that knowledge is not defined within the walls and halls of classrooms, but is found in conversation, exchanges and experience. I want to go on this journey so that I can learn from other Americans, to exchange ideas and points of view. To learn from those around me and to live in change. Because America and the world is changing, I do not want to sit in a office and let this opportunity drive by, I have so much to learn from others about life, change, family, work, culture, that I couldn’t possibly enter the illusive “job market” and be satisfied with who I am. I want to be inspired by people from Kentucky to Seattle, to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. 

Kenny’s answer:

   Just like so many of the people that are applying for this grant, I am at the first crossroad in my life where my future is not planned out for me.  I’ve been through almost twenty years of school and am ready to finally step foot in the “real world”.  Yet, I don’t seem to be driven by the same factors that many of my classmates are.  Graduating from a business school, the norm that I am pressured to follow is to choose the career path that is right for me and find the best job possible immediately after I graduate.  I can’t help but feel that this is not the right path for me.  By exploring the different cultures that form the United States, I hope to have the opportunity to learn from those I meet on the road. By talking with people on the record with roadtrip nation interviews, and more casually at parks, truck stops, and around general stores, I hope to gain a better understanding of what the true “American Dream” is.  I know there is more to my future than making money for The Man, and I believe that gaining an insight into how others have created their own path will help me to develop my own goals and outlooks on life.

 

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