Hit the road Jack…
I’m not exactly sure the piece matched the article’s title, but it was still a good read. It is more or less about a few young(?) people who hit the road, wander aimlessly, and record their travels and adventures. Not sure if that exactly makes them journalists, but these days discussions about what exactly defines a journalist is a slippery slope.
Regardless, the results are pretty interesting. At least to me. One because of my little fascination of the rural, low-income life, which is often their subject matter. And two, because the idea and technique of both the people doing the reporting.
Two brothers featured in the Wired piece, are riding around the country on their bikes doing long-term stands in various places.
We’re two brothers riding recycled bicycles across the United States and meeting people. Lots of them.
But whether they’re devout Baptists who’ve lived in a small southern town for four generations or disaffected crust punks packing themselves into a crumbling squatted building, there is a common thread that ties them together.
We sense a growing movement in this country that rises above race, region, and subculture. Americans are yearning to rebuild space, community, and local culture, each in our own way. And it’s going to take a lot of blood, sweat, and ambitious insanity.
It will mean different things for different people. Some are rethinking business models to facilitate more intimate and local exchange. Others reinvent living spaces to allow for more community at home. It’s coming from all different angles and from all sorts of people. Fuel and transportation, energy use, urban/suburban planning, building construction, farming and food production, public space and civic art.
And it’s already started. All across the country, people are finding innovative ways to come together and make revolutionary change on a local level, to regain control of their lives, rediscover independence, and recycle the American Dream.
We’re finding them. And we’re telling their stories.
Here is the video they put together for their stay in North Carolina. It’s awesome, sweet, disgusting, beautiful and inspiring all rolled into one. I can’t imagine
many anyone watching the full video, but I thought it was pretty great.
This all tickled two things in me. The video itself I thought had some pretty poignant thoughts. Just the whole idea of bucking the system and living outside the box. Something that of course I am drawn to. Rejecting the whole prescribed notion of success being defined as participation in the rat-race and chasing the American dream.
People want to feel good good about their lives. People want to feel responsible. But we are kind of lost within this labyrinting framework of the Utopian society we created after World War II. We’ve examined those values one by one, you know. You get your house, you get your white picket fence, you pay your taxes, all we need to do is you continue working, and we will create this enlightened society. I think this has gotten worn around the edges…
I think the American dream is running away from a country that has unattainable standards of happiness.
Now, I’m not entirely drawn to the crunchy, tree-hugging, hippie lifestyle of all this, but the spirit of this does appeal to me. Really, who wouldn’t want it? Part of it, I think, has to do some with stepwork I am doing and going over with sponsees, and exploring the idea of freedom. It is like a lot of things with me, the juxtaposition and dichotomy of what appeals to me. What really does make me happy? There is rarely grey area. I either want to live in a city, or in the middle of nowhere. I go from listening to The Avett Brothers to Cam’ron. Then I wonder if I even have to pick one or the other. Maybe because it is that I live in a big city and for years have been surrounded by rap music and all that that the other extreme calls to me. Maybe at the end of the day both satisfy a part of me. It’s just that the other side doesn’t get fed as often.
Maybe that is one of the reasons the article appealed to me. As school was winding down I started with this little fantasy before I settled down into a job, of traveling the country for a while. Via Greyhound. A 60 day unlimited pass is only $556. I didn’t want to go from city to city though, but small town to small town. No itinerary or agenda. No timetable. Just a ticket and a bag and sort of wander. Write about my experiences. See what I found and where I ended up. I can’t say that I have given up on that, just some logistics that would need to be worked out. Who knows.
I guess we will see.