Define your own road in life is the Roadtrip Nation motto and it rattles around in my head and heart after meeting this passionate team, this collection of five people who didn’t know each other until a short time ago.
I have seen cutting edge, never-before-seen technology on this trip (and others), but nothing has ever held a candle to the people who stand behind or alongside the technology. So it is when I meet Martha, Ben, and Sofaya who are the Roadtrip Nation participants, drivers, observers, interviewers, and the two professional roadtrippers – Willie and Craig, along with them.
Define your own road. Those are pretty big words, a big statement, and these five are living it, across America, as I am. Our experiences are different and varied, of course, but at the core, we are interested in the people and places that etch a spot in your mind and heart. People, more than places, that are making a difference in the world, in some way, and they tell me those stories from their experiences. We only put a couple of hours on our schedules to hang out and talk about what we’re finding, in these places across the USA, but I could have spent all day with these folks.
Passion, enthusiasm unbridled, and laughter – such are the things you savor with new friends and old friends. I was privileged to share some of that today with new friends, explorers and adventurers. There is more than one roadtrip going on right now – but this small group is focused on Design. So, naturally, I’m keen on what they are doing since our own trip tagline is “Driven by Design.” We explore from a 3D technology perspective and how design is absolutely essential to that process.
Sofaya, Martha, and Ben are exploring design from another perspective – to see what’s possible in design, as a career, as a business. To see where they fit into that space or where and how they fit that space around themselves. Here’s how they say it:
“…we are three aspiring designers looking to figure out our future paths. This summer, we're embarking on a road trip with Roadtrip Nation to interview inspiring designers around the country and learn from their advice. From architecture to engineering, arts to sustainability, we'll explore the vast possibilities in design and see what it takes to build lives doing what we love.”
Listening to these three, I wonder how this organization, Roadtrip Nation, got started as it is not your normal venture, not your average company or organization. Nothing says it better than what Roadtrip Nation says on its own website, about how it got started:
“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. Along the way, the four realized that the conversations that they were having on the road could not remain within the confines of their own RV, but held relevancy that could be shared with a world that was losing the know-how of living lives that pulse on personal passion rather than someone else’s expectations.”
They then went on to create an entire company and ongoing mission around helping others define their road in life. What great work to be part of, to build up others as they try to determine what they want to do in life. They have created a whole new category of design – Life Design. If you haven’t seen their work, you can catch it online or via public television.
At the end of our short time, Sofaya, Martha, and Ben ask me what they say is their standard ending question: What advice do you have for us? I’m unsuited for such big questions and corresponding answer(s), but the best I can muster is that they should live their lives with no regrets. When poised to make a decision – the question my wife and I always ask, the idea we always ponder is – will this idea, this project, this opportunity be one we will regret not doing. I’m preaching to the choir, as the saying goes, as they already have this philosophy somewhat at their core or they wouldn’t be on this journey.
So I get to write that on the ceiling of the Roadtrip Nation RV in bright green Sharpie marker – No Regrets.
Learn more about Roadtrip Nation.
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