As I was walking to class today, something extremely out of the ordinary was parked next to the SURC. A green RV with chalk written on it. In large letters, “Success to me is…” and students were grabbing chalk and writing “loving what you do,” “money,” “reaching your goals,” “being happy” and so on. Right away this large green RV fascinated me, what was it doing at Central? Do they just drive around to random campus’ and allow students to write on the side of their RV? What was the point of it all?
Roadtrip Nation began in 2001 as an idea Mike, Nathan, Brian and Amanda, four friends fresh out of college, formed when they were not sure what to do with their lives. Initially, the scope of the plan was relatively small – climb aboard an old RV, paint it green, and traverse the country with the purpose of interviewing people who inspired them by living lives that centered around what was meaningful to them.
In a video on the Roadtrip Nation website, Nate says, “For me in school, I just felt like I was living in a box that I couldn’t find my own individual identity in.” Mike chimes in with, ” We all just felt we needed to get out of there, see the world and see what was possible.” Their goal was to travel across the country and meet people that are living different lives that we had never been exposed to. To see what else was out there they took a road trip across the entire nation, over 15,000 miles to learn how other people define their roads in life.
From a personal learning experience between four friends to opening the Roadtrip doors up to other students the movement stared to grow. First with a book titled, Roadtrip Nation then with a documentary titled, The Open Road. They continue to encourage students to define their own road in life through traveling, experiencing first hand and learning from interviews with leaders. To date, Roadtrippers have traveled over 500,000 miles and interviewed over 1,000 leaders from all walks of life! The most recent branch of Roadtrip Nation is RoadtripNation.org, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating educational resources around Roadtrip Nation’s Interview Archive.
I’m the kind of girl who’s always had a plan. I’ve been dedicated to my studies, achieving above average grades my whole life. I’ve been in school for the last 16 years of my life with no breaks. I started college classes my senior year of high school and the last summer where I wasn’t taking any classes was in 2008. I’m now 21 years old and I don’t have a plan. I don’t have a job for after graduation in just 3 short weeks and it’s the first time in my life that I don’t have any idea of what to expect next. Last spring, when I initially learned that I would be completed with my degree 6 months ahead of schedule, I wanted to rush into graduate school because I knew what to expect out of a life in academics. Not so much for a life in the “real world.”
After watching a few videos on Rationtrip and hearing the stories of the students, I don’t feel so alone. In many ways I feel like college doesn’t really prepare us for what to expect after we’ve completed our degree. How do we find out who we are? Many of us have been in this narrow box of education for so long, how are we supposed to know what we want to do after it’s over? Many of us probably travel down the road we feel is expected of us (ie. Dad says I’ll make the most money in Business, so I can be a CEO of my own company one day. That sounds like a good idea, I’ll do it. Especially since I want my family and friends to be proud of me). I’m also not envious of those who’ve known exactly what they’ve wanted to do since they were 4. I think changing your mind is part of learning and defining yourself. Even though I’m scared of what comes after I’m done with my last final, I’m going to take some time time to myself to figure it all out.
Take some time out of your day and check out this website.