Meet the Roadies!

Meet the Roadies

Hooray for fall! We love this season… Pumpkin Spice lattes are back AND it’s time for our Fall Tour! We’re sending our student reps (or as we like to call them, “Roadies”) on a high school tour that will spread the Roadtrip Nation message to students far and wide. The Roadies will be conducting events and talking to students to get them excited about their futures and the opportunities that await after graduation.

 

Before the Roadies head out, we thought we’d introduce them to you. So, without further ado, meet the 2014 Fall Tour Roadies!

 

 

Matt, 23

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Fave road trip snack: Jerky

What excites you most about this road trip? Seeing different parts of America.

What place are you most excited to visit? Georgia, because I haven’t been there yet.

Favorite song to blast on repeat on the road: “Diane Young” by Vampire Weekend.

Any hidden talents? Parallel parking a 38-foot RV!

Boom! Genie, three wishes, what would you wish for?

1) Courtside Lakers tickets for life.

2) A new pair of socks every day of my life.

3) Finally, I would wish to be an amazing chef.

 

 

Griselda, 26

 Griselda

Fave road trip snack: Clif bars (chocolate chip)

What excites you most about this road trip? Our random stops.

What place are you most excited to visit?  The South

Favorite song to blast on repeat on the road: Anything by Pitbull

Boom! Genie, three wishes, what would you wish for?

1) To meet a Kennedy–any!!

2) Own an apt in the Upper West Side of NYC.

3) Have Banda el Recodo play my sister’s wedding!

You’ve just been teleported to a deserted island. What do you miss most about civilization? Bathtubs! This trip will prepare me for that!

 

 

Jenny, 27

Roadie Jenny

Fave road trip snack:  red licorice (specifically Red Vines)

What excites you most about this road trip? The endless possibilities of new adventures!

What place are you most excited to visit? Louisiana or Texas because I want to try armadillo meat (I saw it on “Bizarre Foods”).

Favorite song to blast on repeat on the road: Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”

Boom! Genie, three wishes, what would you wish for?

1) My own private jet to travel anywhere in the world.

2) A visit to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

3) To own an island (like Johnny Depp and Richard Branson!)

You’ve just been teleported to a deserted island. What do you miss most about civilization? Hot showers.

 

 

Rick, 32

Rick, Roadie

Fave snack: almond butter and apples

What excites you most about this road trip? Meeting students from all over country

Favorite song to blast on repeat on the road: Anything by Earth, Wind, and Fire

Any hidden talents? I’m great at eating burritos.

Boom! Genie, three wishes, what would you wish for?

1) A long trip with my family.

2) For the ability to toboggan down the side of the Luxor in Las Vegas.

3) To know another language.

You’ve just been teleported to a deserted island. What do you miss most about civilization? My mom.

 

 

Be sure to follow the team’s adventures on Instagram @roadtripnation!

 

Roadtrip Nation's Fall Tour Roadies!


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13 Things that Scare the S*** out of 20-Somethings

Things That Scare 20Somethings

Some anxieties persist throughout life: fear of spiders, discomfort with heights, having to take your laptop out of your bag at airport security and feeling SUCH TREMENDOUS PRESSURE TO DO IT IN .003 SECONDS because everyone is judging your zipping skills. Other worries are uniquely confined to your 20s. It’s a shaky stage, where something as mundane as picking out a phone plan triggers the impulse to call your mom and nuzzle the childhood blankey you secretly still sleep with. But we’re here to tell you you’re not alone. Everyone who’s reached the other side of 29 has experienced the nuisances listed below (and to be honest, none of it magically disappears the day you turn 30…or even 80). So in honor of Halloween, let’s find consolation in our communal fears, and recognize that these situations are totally human–and actually kind of funny.

 

  1. Running into people from your past at a coffee shop and having to explain what you’re doing with your life. CAN’T A COFFEE AFICIONADO JUST ENJOY A TRIPLE-PUMP PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE WITH EXTRA WHIP IN PEACE?

 

  1. Making a pop culture reference and a slightly younger person not getting it. How is the cultural legacy of Light Brights not taught in every high school across the world?!

 

  1. Seeing your friends at different stages of life than you, when previously everyone evolved at the same rate. “Uhh, Jake from high school just had a 2nd kid and I’m still on my parents’ insurance. Cool.”–What you bleakly mutter to yourself before vowing to never check Facebook again not log in for at least 30 minutes.

 

  1. Finding yourself intensely drawn to home improvement shows. Literally watching paint dry in a remodeled living room becomes entrancing, and you will cancel plans on a Saturday night just to see how tearing out a wall in a stranger’s kitchen worked out.

 

  1. Marriage/baby/new job posts on social media. Was there a legally-binding pact made among my Facebook friends to reach all adult milestones within 6 months of each other?

 

  1. Realizing that you no longer have a violent reaction to Phil Collins and other comparable music in your parents’ collection. It’s actually, dare we say it…soothing? Like warm milk for your eardrums.

 

  1. The seemingly arbitrary numbers on tax forms. 1040, 1040-A, 1040-EZ, 1040-ES, 1099….did the tax people only have like 6 numbers to choose from when creating these things? And do they have a life-threatening allergy to using clear English?

 

  1. Insurance of any kind. Why does ‘deductible’ sound the opposite of what it actually is?!

 

  1. Wondering if you can still get away with Converse at a formal-ish event. Hey, you paired it with a dress shirt.

 

  1. Seeing teen pop stars and wanting to knit more clothes for them because seriously, that’s an infant in a short skirt.

 

  1. The possibility of having to move back in with your parents. Every time a legally-classified adult has to argue with their parents about what time they’re coming home, an angel loses its wings.

 

  1. Roommates who think placing a dish in the sink and filling it with water qualifies as washing it. Roommates who let their laundry sit in the drier for hours/days so you have to eventually handle their underwear. Roommates who eat your food in systematic increments because they think you won’t notice but YOU KNOW. Roommates whose significant others become another defacto roommate and then start complaining about the lack of paper towels. Just…roommates.

 

  1. Turning 30!!! Which actually isn’t as bad as it seems! It just means you’ve got more disposable income and no longer have (as bad) hang-overs because you’ve switched from vodka shots chased by Jack in the Box to glasses of wine. Ah, maturity.


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5 Quotes That Will Help You Say BOO(yah) To Fear This Halloween

Quotes To Battle Fear

Halloween is scary, but so is life. It’s daunting to become a full-blown adult who owns nice salt shakers and keeps 8 a.m. doctor appointments. You’ve got college loan collectors, who, despite your festive Halloween gesture, won’t accept Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as payment (hey, their loss). Or how about that scary aroma from your fridge that haunts your whole apartment? Just because a decorative pumpkin can sit out for a week and stay intact, your roommate seems to think this rule applies to all vegetables, and now your fridge is a graveyard for rotting zucchini that got rejected for pizza. Oh, and even don’t get us started on the horror of 401ks. Even if we were vampires with thousands of years to study this world, they would still confuse us.

 

All of it is enough to make anyone hide under the covers. But the next time fear rises up, just remember these quotes and they’re sure to keep you from going batty. (Ok, that’s our last pun. Promise!)

 

 

 

 1.

Ward Hessig

 

2.Laura Danly

 

 

3.Joe Quesada


 

 

4.Adam Steltzner5.

JP Barlow


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5 Ways to Stop Thinking and Start Doing (A.K.A. How to Get Your **** Together):

5 Ways To Stop Thinking And Start DoingYou know the feeling: a pressing task looms over you, but when you start to think about all the effort it’ll take to get it done, suddenly you have the overpowering urge to Google what that actor from Boy Meets World is doing now…and actually, isn’t this the perfect time re-organize your sock drawer according to cotton thickness? Procrastination will only intensify your anxiety, but you’re so tripped up on analyzing possible outcomes and planning contingencies that committing to action somehow becomes harder than just performing the action itself. Before you know it, the “I’ll do it tomorrow” excuse turns into months of inaction and you’ve got nothing to show for yourself except a Netflix feed full of binge-watched episodes of Lost. So how do you beat the cycle?

 

Roadtrip Nation Leader Michelle Dreher once said, “Do you really want to spend years thinking about what you want to do? Or do you want to actually do something?” If this quote just made you say “damn, she has a point,” then here are some baby steps to get you started.

 

1) Start

 

Scaling the wall of inertia is about making the decision to just start. And yes, we use the word ‘decision’ here because it takes conscious, steely resolve to turn off Extreme Cupcake Design and start something (OK, that’s not a real show, but you know you’d watch it). The trick? Don’t get bogged down in preparation. It’s rare to feel 100% ready, with your skills at the perfect level and all your ducks in a row. So don’t wait for the “perfect moment” or the “perfect answer” to come along. Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams brewery, didn’t quit his 6-figure job as a business consultant to brew beer in his basement because he knew his product would one day be featured in Super Bowl commercials. He just chased his interest and vision. There’s the here and now, and that’s as good a time as any.

 

2) Write down your goals and give yourself due-dates

 

Writing down goals takes them out of the ether of your brain matter and makes them more tangible. Putting goals to paper (or the fake iPhone yellow notepad) also sets them apart from the cacophony of thoughts inside your head, so your goals no longer have to compete with thoughts like “what should I do for dinner?” or “what causes hiccups, anyway?” Assign a specific due date to those goals, and it’ll make harder to say “I’ll start tomorrow.”

 

3) Move!

 

We get it. Slipping into the comforts of the couch and mindlessly browsing Pinterest pictures of DIY reclaimed wood shelves for the living room you don’t even own yet is an easy way to tune out the stresses of “real life.” But at some point you have to look up from the hypnotizing screen to your room that’s covered in two weeks’ of laundry and an old Lean Cuisine, and hop to it. Blame it on the Endorphins, but exercise can actually be the catalyst for getting you on track and getting ish done. It clears your head, helps you live in the moment (#yolo), and stimulates creative ideas. Don’t like jogging/swimming/doing reps on a gym machine that looks like a James Bond torture device? That’s fine. All it takes is a few minutes of frenetic dancing to Beyonce, and you’ll be feeling ready to take on the world in no time.

 

4) Tell others

 

We’re living in an era where we all aggressively broadcast the mundane minutiae of our lives. So you’re probably already Instagramming the sandwich you just ate, posting pics of that weird (mosquito? ant? CHILEAN WOLF SPIDER?!) bite on your leg, and checking into local bars on Foursquare your friends 5 states away don’t care about. Since you’re giving a play-by-play of your every move, you might as well declare to your friend base the things you want to accomplish. Making your goals public doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind, and it doesn’t mean you need to candidly divulge that you’re “finally going to get a real estate license and stop eating cheese past midnight!” But having a community to hold you accountable and root you on in times of tumult can be the difference between staying on track and giving into bad habits. Want to keep your goals off social media? (and not let your high school lab partner whom you haven’t talked to in 8 years know your plans to lose 10 pounds?) Join a Meet-up, an online forum, or find a gathering of people in your local community who are striving to reach the same goals. They’ll commiserate with your struggles and you won’t have to worry about a future employer coming across the time you asked your followers the best way to do butt squats.

 

5) Focus on the positive

 

It’s important to not beat yourself up when all doesn’t go according to plan. What we’re about to say sounds very “cheesy inspirational poster in a corporate office headquarters” but it’s true: every day offers a clean slate. It’s easy to fail once and feel like trying again isn’t worth it. But failure is simply a piece of data you can use to reconfigure your approach. OK, the data suggests you suck at doing it one way, but can you get at your objective through a different door or tweak the goal altogether? Put on your mad scientist hat and manipulate your methods, but most importantly, be forgiving of yourself. Adopting a mantra of “I’m worthless, so I’ll just eat my feelings with the pack of old tortillas and 3 types of mustard I have in the fridge” doesn’t help the situation. Dust off the debris and dive back in. And hey, if you need a spoonful of Nutella to rekindle your spirits, ain’t no shame in that. Just keep chipping away ’til you break through.

 


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30 Things To Do Before You’re 30

30 ThingsCrippling existential freak-outs.

Waking up on your friends’ couches with your shoes still on.

Getting Taco Bell for dinner (and paying with the change you scrounged up from various pants you haven’t worn in a few weeks).

 

These are all routine events in your 20s. It’s a phase of life characterized by “what the hell am I doing?!” unrest. And it can be tough. Things are up in the air, in flux, spinning in an unpredictable roulette wheel that may or may not land where you want it to. But there’s an upside. Because even though you only own 3 plates (from the 80s, that your mom gave you) and have no idea whether you should just go to grad school, there’s also value in the uncertainty you’re feeling. Your 20s are prime time to try things on, screw up, and assess what you do and don’t want in life. There’s no better time to offer yourself up for potential failure/embarrassment/triumph, so here are some bold things you should do before the big 3-0. Hop to ‘em!

 

  1. Stay up all night talking to a person you just met.

  2. Eat something you think will be disgusting (but might turn out to be delicious. Or still disgusting. Either way, you stretched your borders and know you could make it on Survivor).

  3. Learn how to drive a stick shift.

  4. Make embarrassing art. Write a poem and read it outloud to friends.Take that salsa dancing class even though you can barely walk without tripping. Do something creative even if you suck at it.

  5. Live in a foreign country.

  6. If that’s infeasible, travel. Travel alone. Travel somewhere where you don’t speak a lick of the language. Travel somewhere without using a plane, train, or automobile. Travel with only a backpack. Just travel.

  7. Learn how to make at least 3 meals (that don’t require a microwave).

  8. Write a letter – with like pen and paper.

  9. Forgive your parents.

  10. Watch the sun rise (preferably over the Grand Canyon, and preferably having not gotten a wink of sleep the night before because you were so engrossed in talking/pondering the universe/skipping).

  11. Learn how to change a tire… you’ll thank us for this one at some point.

  12. Do an extreme sport that terrifies you (bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving, cliff-diving, etc.).

  13. Go see a movie in the theater alone.

  14. Interview the oldest members of your family. Learn their life stories.

  15. Do a physical challenge – train for a 5k, ride your bike the length of your state, or just vow to take a walk every day for 30 days.

  16. Learn how to make a fire.

  17. Go on a spontaneous road trip (with us, if you want!)

  18. Date all the wrong people so you know what you don’t want.

  19. Fall in love…or fall in lust, realize it’s not love, and move on.

  20. Try a series of odd jobs–deliver food, stock supplies at 3 am, clean bathrooms. You’ll pick up surprisingly useful skills that translate to subsequent jobs.

  21. Break a bone (hopefully doing something that’ll make a good story).

  22. Quit the jobs that don’t fulfill you (and identify what you hated about them, so you don’t repeat the pattern).

  23. Adopt a daily mantra and stick to it.

  24. Tell people you care about that you love them (even if it’s induced by alcohol and shouted at 10 decibels higher than everyone else is speaking).

  25. Go camping. Sleep under the stars.

  26. Learn how to play a musical instrument. It might sound like whales yelling for a while, but stick with it.

  27. Get out of your own head and volunteer at an awesome organization for a day.

  28. Leave an inspirational note for a stranger to find.

  29. Cold call and interview someone you really admire. (We had to put that one in, obvi. But we truly believe in the power of it!)

  30. Turn off the internet and get started.

 

 

Disclaimer! Even if you’ve already hit your 30s (or beyond), it’s never too late to accumulate these experiences.


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12 Things to Avoid on Your Next Road Trip

Things to avoid on a road trip.

  1. Bean burritos. If you can’t subsist without this staple food, just know that your vehicle is about to get vividly scented and you will likely curse the first cultivators of beans who grew them at the Himalayan foothills in 7000 BCE. But these inventive agriculturists do not deserve your scorn! Just say no.

  2. Car stench. Avoid this by purchasing Febreeze and applying it generously. Eventually you’re going to cave and eat the bean burrito we warned you about in number 1. You should at least be prepared to deal with the consequences.

  3. Ending up in a dirty gas station bathroom, only to look over and see a sad little cardboard tube with a tiny half-square of toilet paper left. We admit that this is a prime opportunity to plead to the person in the next stall and practice the whole “talking to new people in random places” thing we here at Roadtrip Nation champion so much. But we’d rather you do this with your pants up and dignity intact.

  4. Weird uneven tan lines from sitting next to a half-open car window. Sun screen is your friend. Your annoying, greasy friend that requires constant attention, yes. But it’s better than looking like you’re wearing a flesh-colored T-shirt when you’re naked.

  5. Static on the radio. Or even worse, flipping the stations to find that Phil Collins is the only thing that’s coming in. Prepare for your trip by making an awesome mix of your favorite tunes.

  6. Expensive gas stations. Gas in small towns tends to be super expensive. A little forward thinking and plotting can save you a ton of $$$$–and keep you well-supplied with ghastly processed snacks that are totally acceptable/necessary on the road.

  7. Tourist traps. The World’s Second Biggest Ball of Twine is only a 40-mile dirt road away in the middle of an abandoned field? Skip it and get recommendations from locals wherever possible- you’ll find hidden gems that the guidebooks (and freeway signs) may miss.

  8. Falling behind the hunger curve! Don’t be that hangry person that nobody wants to be around. Say sorry when you inevitably say something mean because your stomach was trying to survive off a Clif bar eaten 6 hours ago.

  9. Having navigation tools that require batteries. Buy a real, physical map (and learn how to navigate with said map). Prepare yourself for dead batteries because they are unavoidable! Plus, it’s fun to pretend like you are a 16th century explorer and prove to yourself that you can, indeed, survive without checking Facebook every 5 minutes.

  10. Eating at chains. There are sooo many awesomely weird diners in the middle of nowhere that’ll make you feel like you’re in a Tarantino movie. Avoid all places you’ve seen at your local mall and try the hole-in-the-wall joint that appears to breed Tetanus. We promise it’s (usually) good!

  11. Dehydration. Drink water, even if it means visiting those dodgy gas station bathrooms mentioned above.

  12. A packed itinerary. Leave time for the surprises that will inevitably happen. Don’t be so focused on your “plan” that you forget to live in the moment. You never know when you’ll stumble on a glistening river that’s beckoning for you to jump in or an empty parking lot that demands you dance to Beyonce (hey, there’s no one around for 30 miles–you know you want to.)

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First-Gen Roadtrip: Final Thoughts

First-Gen Final ThoughtsThe First-Gen Roadtrip has officially come to a close and Jasmine, Jenny, Johnathan, and Felipe have all gone their separate ways. A collaboration between Roadtrip Nation and The College Board allowed these four first-generation college students the opportunity to travel the country and interview pioneering leaders who were also the first in their families to go to college. After all was said and done, the road-trippers spent 35 days on the road and were able to collect diverse and affecting personal stories that, taken together, have formed a vast mosaic of inspiration for their paths ahead.

 

On the final night of their adventure, the group finally chose a team name that encapsulated the theme of their road trip: “#WhyNotUs.” How did this team name come about? During their five weeks together, the road-trippers sought to understand why they specifically were chosen for this opportunity, why they were the first in their families to go to college, why they felt so much pressure to succeed, and why so many people believed in them. Jenny even wrote “WHY US?” on the wall of the RV, baffled about the team’s cherry-picked fortune. But, with the guidance of 20 leaders and 3,000 miles of travel under their belts, the team eventually came to realize, why not them? They realized that they are indeed deserving of the opportunities they have earned and that, armed with the lessons they learned on their trip, they can and will define their own roads in life.

 

We’ve asked each of the road-trippers to reflect on their journey aboard the Green RV this summer, and here’s what they had to say:

 

Jenny:

When I got home from the trip, it was so surreal and weird. It was way too quiet, and definitely lacking in company. I honestly think about the road trip every day. I think about the lessons I’ve learned and what I’ve realized about myself along the way. I was so eager to take action that I actually walked into a store near campus and got hired on the spot, and maybe that’s just because of my experience but I really walked in there confidently. I haven’t really let myself get overwhelmed by any sort of money problem I’ve had, and I’ve definitely taken things one day at a time. I still lie down at night, wishing I could hear the generator running or people in the RV shifting in their sleep. Like I said, it’s been way too quiet without my fellow road-trippers around. But as I look back at who I was before the trip, I can’t even believe I’ve come so far. In a way it feels like a huge dream but I know it is one of the most real experiences I’ve ever had.

 

Felipe:

Just one paragraph to summarize the whole experience? Wow, this is the most difficult challenge of the entire road trip. Our lives will never be the same. We went through a tunnel and held our breaths, not knowing what was going to be on the other side. Some of us screamed, closed our eyes, laughed, and others just said “bring it on!” But at the end, we not only survived–we chiseled away at the rocky mountain that is ourselves to refine what is at the core. We sculpted ourselves with every moment. From Jenny courageously conquering the white water rapids, to Jasmine confidently jumping off the Bridge to Nowhere and smiling, to Johnathan selflessly helping everyone (road-trippers or not) with anything they might need. This Roadtrip awoke us and showed us that the world, while seemingly huge, frightening, and full of unknowns, is also full of hope, inspiration, and magnificence. Though we each walked away having discovered something new about ourselves and the world, we also realized that this journey was merely a part of our greater life adventure. As we trekked thousands of miles in Carl the RV, we also trekked within ourselves and this trek led to discovering parts of the world within ourselves that we never knew existed. Our fires have been ignited, or least the logs have been set in place and we have been given the tools to light it, so I say light away. Sure, you may not know what to major in, you may be afraid to move away from home, you may be afraid to take a risk to do what you love, but after this trip I know–and we all know–that we have what it takes to thrive on our paths and bounce back if we do fall down and scrape our knees. The most important takeaway from this entire experience is that we are not alone. From the leaders we interviewed, to our Roadtrip Family, to our friends and families back home. We are all in this together.

 

Johnathan:

Honestly, I wish the trip had never ended. It was by far the most character-building and life-changing experience…the BEST thing that could’ve ever happened to me hands down! I found things in myself that I knew were there, but the confidence I gained from the trip and people around me just buffed them out. I no longer feel like I’m alone because there are people who share my same struggles and we’ve each helped each other break down walls that held us back. Ask anyone who was there and they’ll tell you that I’ve come a long way since the start of the trip. I left the person I was back in California and picked up the new me in New York. Coming home was so weird. I think about the road trip every chance I get and even catch myself looking over pictures that we took. Driving across the county with a new ‘family’, trying new experiences and foods together, standing up for each other and picking each other up off the ground, meeting leaders from all walks of life–all truly amazing. Most of all I miss my crew, because people like the ones that I’ve come to know and love on this trip are rare and hard to come by. I definitely would not be the person I am had it not been for them. This is only the beginning of the road (see what I did there).

 

Jasmine:

When packing I was eager to get home, thinking of the life that I was missing. But after a couple of hours of being home I missed my road trip family more than anything. This trip meant everything to me and it helped me to grow into a stronger person. For the first time in a long time I enjoyed myself, I relaxed, and I sincerely laughed. Do you know how good it feels to sincerely laugh?  I learned that it feels amazing. I learned how to stand up for myself, I learned how to be me and feel free to be myself without fear of judgment from the world. I love and miss the team, and I hope that we will all continue to learn, grow and experience new things.

 

 

First Gen Team


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Get to Know the TEACH Roadtrip Team

The Teach Roadtrip is more than halfway through! The team has already visited Yosemite, seen a bear (!), traveled a lot of miles and completed some incredible interviews. This week, they’ll be driving on the East Coast. Check out these fun facts about our road-trippers:

 

Rafi:

1) What’s your fave road trip snack? Tuna!

2) Where are you most excited to visit? New York. Always wanted to explore that city.

3) If you could only pack 1 item for this trip, what would it have been? All the food!

4) Favorite driving song? “Ignition” by R. Kelly

5) What’s your favorite book? Harry Potter series

 

Grace:

1) What’s your fave road trip snack? Diet Coke

2) Where are you most excited to visit? Los Angeles and Denver

3) If you could only pack 1 item for this trip, what would it have been? A travel journal

4) Favorite driving song? “Maps” by The Front Bottoms

5) What’s your favorite book? The Phantom Tollbooth  

 

Nadia:

1) What’s your fave road trip snack? Hummus with anything and fruit

2) Where are you most excited to visit? Yosemite and Colorado!!!

3) If you could only pack 1 item for this trip, what would it have been? Chapstick!

4) Favorite driving song? “Runaway” by Los Pericos

5) What’s your favorite book? State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

 

Roadtrip Nation has collaborated with Participant Media’s TEACH Campaign to give these three road-trippers the opportunity to travel the country in our Green RV and interview some of the biggest names in education. For three weeks, they’ll be exploring the nation’s purple mountain majesties and speaking to educators who are working to change the world with their work. Stay tuned for updates on their adventures! And, join us on Friday, September 5 at the Newsuem in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the end of our tour with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: http://bit.ly/TEACHNewseum

 

Here are some photos from their adventures thus far:

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The Teach Roadtrip team poses for a photo after their interview with Rahm Emanuel.

 

 

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The team takes in the beautiful scenery outside of Zion National Park.

 

 

 

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The team being interviewed on Take Part Live!


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Design Roadtrip: Final Thoughts

8-26-2014_FB_DeisgnFinalThoughtsAfter 6355.4 miles, 21 states, and countless enlightening interviews, the Design Roadtrip has finally come to a close! It was an inspiring (and sometimes tiring!) 6-week journey in which three aspiring young designers traveled the country to interview the movers and shakers of the design world. From the sound designer for Star Wars to the creator behind Swiss Miss, to the animator who worked on Frozen, the road-trippers heard from passionate individuals in every cranny of design to see what’s possible for their own futures. Now that the trip is in their rear-view mirror, the team has had a chance to reflect on their take-aways, and we’ve asked them to share them with you! Here’s what Ben, Martha, and Sofaya learned this summer on the road:

 

Ben:

Being on the road this summer was such an incredible experience. It truly opened my mind to more creative careers than I could have ever imagined. Design is everywhere, embedded in every business and continually pushing the limitations of creativity. From guitars to museums, clothing to water filters, computers to camp stoves, people and businesses are changing the world as we know it. I don’t know where I will find myself working in this realm of creativity, but I am more excited than ever to jump in.

 

Martha:

When I look back at the enormous list of people that we talked to this summer, it is astounding to me the range of inspiring, engaging, creative, aware people that I feel proud to call designers. Each may not fit the conventional definition of the word, and I’m sure some would be hesitant to label themselves as such, but one of the most profound lessons that will stay with me from this experience is that whether someone is a musician or an educator, a chef or an animator, they each use the same type of inspiring creative process. The emphasis in our conversations across the country was not necessarily on what was being created, but on how it was being done. What inspired me most about each of our amazing leaders  (and this is a lifelong pursuit that I hope to continue to discover and emulate) was each of their abilities to, in their own way, connect disparate elements to create something new. Whether it was in bringing together their meandering life path to find a fulfilling, intersectional career, or combining different ways of looking at things in their work, I was inspired and amazed at the ways that people have found ways to be creative and to help build a better world. And they’re happy doing it! I think that what is special about the idea of design is that it is holistic: it is both for yourself and also for others; you can be happy and fulfilled and also work to change the world! Isn’t that what we all want?

 

Sofaya:

I came into this road trip pretty well versed in design because that’s what I lived and breathed for the past four years. What you don’t necessarily learn in school, however, is the potential for impact in various arenas when you pair your design sensibility with your personal desire to change the world. This summer we’ve spoken to designers who’ve applied their designed objects in ways that enact social change, environmental change, change in the way that people do business, change in the relationship between the consumer and the product, and change in the daily lives of everyday people who may have been content in their lives until they suddenly got better. This to me is the true purpose of design: making someone’s life better by problem-solving.


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Things We Like To Do in Big Cities

Big City GuideRoadtrip Nation has meandered through most of the major cities in the US, and over the years we’ve accrued a lot of knowledge about where to go/eat/park a 35-foot vehicle. We like to think of ourselves as seasoned veterans of the road; sherpas of the pavement; stewards of turning down the absolute wrong street and stumbling upon an unreasonably delicious slice of pizza. We’ve logged over 10,000 miles on the road this summer alone, so after 15 years exploring the nation’s byways, here are our tips on what to do while you’re visiting Washington, D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. Remember these spots the next time you plan a road trip!

 

 

 

City Guide: Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

1) Georgetown Cupcake: A delicious cupcake bakery founded by two sisters in DC (and featured on The Food Network), this is place where scarfing down one (or 3) frosting-topped mounds for breakfast won’t be frowned upon. Pro-trip: every morning, the bakery posts on their Twitter account about a secret flavor! If you’re one of the first 100 to request that flavor cupcake, you get it for free!

 

2) Try renting a bike! Capital Bikeshare is a company that rents out bikes at various stations throughout the city. We recommend picking one up for a requisite tour of the National Mall and monuments. Seeing all those sights by foot can be quite an endeavor, so it’s WAY easier and quicker to hop on one of these and roll around. These bikeshares are located all around town, and you can easily rent a bike at one station and return it to any other one that has an open spot.

 

3) Many of the monuments in DC are accessible/open all night long. Seeing them all lit up at night can be really special (plus it’s way less crowded in the evening).

 

4) Busboys and Poets is a historic restaurant founded by Andy Shallal in 2005 (you can check out our interview with Andy here). His mission for this restaurant was to have a gathering place for people of all different incomes, races, and identities to come together and exchange ideas about social and political issues. Today, Busboys and Poets remains a popular restaurant and community resource for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers.

 

 

 

City Guide: New York City

New York City

1) Times Square is perhaps one of the most iconic areas of the city, and what tourists often imagine first when they think of NYC. What should you expect? Massive billboards, bright lights, and huge swarms of people! If you’re lucky, you’ll spot Robert Burck, a street performer we interviewed in 2007. He has been named by the New York State tourism department as “more recognizable than the Statue of Liberty.”

 

2) The High Line is a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Built on a historic rail line, this park is free to the public and a great place to people watch/ picnic/ go for a stroll through some lovely gardens.

 

3) Visit the galleries in NYC’s Chelsea Neighborhood. Entrance is free, and you can see some spectacular exhibits! While you’re in the area, stop by Chelsea Market for a bite to eat. This urban market has something for everyone.

 

4) Looking for an inexpensive way to see the Statue of Liberty? Look no further than the Staten Island Ferry. Hop aboard (it’s free!) and you’ll get a great view of Lady Liberty. It also provides an interesting viewpoint from which to check out the NYC skyline.

 

5) The Meatball Shop: On our most recent road trip, we ate at The Meatball Shop four nights in a row. In a city with almost unlimited amounts of amazing cuisine, we just couldn’t quit this place. Give it a shot!

 

 

 

City Guide: San Francisco

 San Francisco

1) Golden Gate Bridge: this is one of the world’s most iconic pieces of scenery. Need we say more? You can rent bikes near the bridge if you’re interested in taking a scenic ride across it.

 

2) Hog Island Oyster Company: You’re in San Francisco, so you’ve got to try some seafood, right? With good food and great views, we recommend that you check this place out!

 

3) Haight Ashbury: This area is known for being a hub for the hippie movement in the 60s- the neighborhood was the home for the Summer of Love in 1967. Go to Haight Ashbury to soak in some American counterculture history!

 

4) Bi-Rite Creamery is possibly some of the best ice cream that we’ve tasted in the country. Smooth creaminess and wonderful flavor combinations will make your taste buds sing.

 

5) There are few better ways to see the city than jumping on a trolley.  While we typically recommend sightseeing in an RV, this is a great San Franciscan alternative. Hop on board and see the sights via this cool, old-school public transportation system.

 

 

 

City Guide: Chicago

chicago

 

1) You basically haven’t visited Chicago unless you’ve tried deep dish pizza. We recommend either Giordano’s and Lou Malnati’s.

 

2) Millenium Park: You have to visit Millenium Park, if for no other reason than to get one of those goofy pictures of your reflection in Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”), a towering mirrored sculpture installation by Anish Kapoor. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, this site has become iconic and was practically engineered for selflies. Plus, if you time it right, there are free symphonic concerts in the summer at an amphitheater in the park!

 

3) The Willis (Sears) Tower is the highest skyscraper in Chicago, and has an observation deck that’s not for the faint of heart. “The ledge” is a glass balcony where you can stand and take in the impressive view (from 1353 feet off the ground). Beware- those afraid of heights will not be fans.

 

4) Don’t miss Grant Park, a stretch of green space located downtown. It’s a great place to check out public art, the iconic Buckingham Fountain, and beautiful gardens. Love live music? The Lollapalooza music festival takes over Grant Park every summer!

 

Check out these spots on your next road trip!

 


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