Moments from the Road, by the Roadtrip Nation Crew

September 29, 2016

Today we’re rolling out another webisode special from Beyond the Dream, our upcoming documentary about three young adult immigrants—who have only temporary protection from deportation—as they navigate the uncertainty of their twenties…and of their legal status.

The newest mini-episode is about a very important—and very messy—part of the Dream Team’s daily life on the road: dumping the RV’s sewage tanks.

To show solidarity, we asked the crew here at Roadtrip Nation to share some of their greatest, weirdest, or most embarrassing memories from the road. Then we whittled 15 years of experience (!) into seven stories, each conveying one of the many unique joys that you can only experience when you’re traveling across the country in a big ol’ recreational vehicle with a bunch of your friends:


You’ll finally face your worst fears: 

“When we got to Nashville, we had to dump for the first time. Dumping is when you get all of the…waste products…down into a hole in the ground. We didn’t know what to expect.”

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“Basically, it was a huge mess. Kind of traumatizing, a little bit.” (See the whole wild experience here.) –Alexis, ‘Beyond the Dream’ road-tripper

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That face you make when you have to dump the RV.



You’ll get to sample some interesting local cuisines:

When you’re living on the road you learn to accept that sometimes your meal is going to look like this:



…buuuuut usually, it’s going to look more like this:

Photos c/o Nathan, assistant editor


You’ll find new ways to stay active:

“When you’re doing a long haul through the middle of nowhere, you’re not exactly getting your steps in for the day. In fact, you usually snap out of a daze and realize you’ve been sitting in the same seat for six hours. That’s when it’s time to pull over and get in some Roadside Rooftop RV Yoga…what else is that ladder up to the roof for, anyways?”–Jenny, education programs coordinator, and Allyson, marketing assistant

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You’ll learn how to overcome adversity.

“When I was a roadie in 2011, we were doing an event on a college campus and the main door to the RV broke—it was jammed shut with no way of opening it. (That tends to happen.) But we still needed to get all of our Roadtrip Nation swag out of the RV for our event, so I went through the tiny side window a countless amount of times with the help of a ladder. Don’t worry, the event was still a hit.”–Molly, education account manager and former roadie



You’ll get really good at multitasking!

“I got to check off two firsts in beautiful Leavenworth, Washington: first time rock climbing, AND first time filming-while-hanging-off-of-a-mountain.” –Nathan, assistant editor


Spot the green RV!


You might get inspired to try something absolutely batshit crazy.

“Sometime in July 2014, we decided to take the road-trippers skydiving in what felt like the middle of nowhere Tennessee. I had never been skydiving before and wasn’t nervous about it. I was so busy coordinating with my filming partner that I didn’t really have time to think about what I was doing. The ride was bumpy, but I did my best to film road-tripper Jasmine as we climbed to 12,500 feet. Screen Shot 2016-09-29 at 6.15.51 PM

About ten minutes into the ride, Jasmine looked so scared I couldn’t take it anymore. I lowered my camera, reached for her hand and squeezed it hard. Earlier that day, I had overheard her asking the others what the point of skydiving even is. Good question. I gave it some thought but never arrived at an answer.

So here we are, cruising through the Tennessee skies in a sardine can of a plane at what was probably 10,000-ish feet. I’m squeezing Jasmine’s hand like crazy and it comes to me – the point of skydiving. Her terrified little 19-year-old country bumpkin eyes meet mine and I grin and yell to her, “BEFORE YOU JUMP OUT OF THIS PLANE, MAKE SURE TO CHOOSE SOME BULLSHIT TO LEAVE UP HERE IN THE SKY!!!” She smiled big but nervously, and nodded in understanding.

A minute later, the instructor startled us by yelling over the sound of the engine, “JASMINE… ARE YOU READY TO SKYDIVE?!” To my surprise, she yelled back super enthusiastically, “YES! WOOHOOOOOO!!” My heart started to race and I fumbled with the camera, trying to position myself to capture what I knew was going to be the coolest thing I had ever filmed.

After we landed, all of us stood in the field, waiting for Jasmine to fall from the sky. And when she did, she ran up to me, skipping and arms flailing and all smiles. She leaned in and simply told me that she had taken my advice.

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And that, is at least one of the reasons why people jump out of perfectly good airplanes… and also why I absolutely, positively, love my job.” -Chelsea, producer/editor


You’ll definitely bond with your crew.

“So, there’s this game we play on the road called, ‘What Are The Odds?’ In short, you propose a challenge to someone, such as, ‘What are the odds you will wear your underwear on your head in public?’ or, ‘What are the odds you will sing Britney Spears at the top of your lungs in the frozen food section of Walmart?’ and the person then gives the odds that they would perform such task, whether it’s one-in-5, one-in-100, or one-in-6,272.

One night, in the thick of our “What Are The Odds?”-playing, I thought it would be funny to ask my fellow filmer, Willie, “What are the odds that you adopt me as a son?” After a pause and a few chuckles, he said, “One in 50.” (Not bad—he must really like me…or want to be a dad real bad.)

We counted down: “3….2…..1…..”

Willie: “41!”

Me: “42!”

Papa Willie was one number off from having a 25-year-old baby boy on his hands. Don’t quite know how I would have broken the news to my real father…” –Craig, assistant editor/field producer

You can go watch more “firsts,” more bonding moments, and plenty more mishaps in our weekly Beyond the Dream webisodes. The final clip in the three-part series premieres next Thursday!

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