On the Road

“because there was nowhere to go but everywhere”

– Jack Kerouac, On the Road

road w cam

There is something so deliciously appealing about an empty stretch of road and heading down that path.  Whether there is an end destination or not, the road is intoxicating.  And also full of bumps.

living out of the van

On the road you have to compromise a bit on your standard of living and work with what you’ve got.  Sometimes all you have is a hodgepodge of camping equipment, blankets, and some squished peanut butter Clif Bars.  You really have to channel your inner MacGyver–for instance by making a sun shade out of nothing but a tarp, some duct tape, and a few strategically placed 2x4s.

shady characters

You meet some shady characters along the way.  It can be hard to tell if they’re rough mannered but generally well meaning or if they’re really scumbags who’ll steal your squished Clif Bars and leave your camp smelling like cigarettes.  Sometimes they’re a bit of both and for some unknown reason you end up loving them anyways.

working so hard for a cup of coffee

And suddenly creature comforts like that morning cup of coffee become luxuries that you have to bust your ass to get.  Minor burns and assorted injuries come with the territory.

So why in God’s name try to live on the road?  What’s so great that could make up for living between the back of your car and a tent, eating a steady diet of cold non-perishables, and mingling with might-be-crazy strangers?  What happens to you while you do?  What happens if you never left and stayed home instead?

For this capstone project–the culmination of four years of higher learning and a lifetime of asking, “Why?”–I’ve decided to tackle those questions that have been eating at me for years.  Why adventure for months or years at a time?  Where do adventurers go, what do they eat, what do they listen to, how do they get by, and what do they know now for having adventured that I don’t?  I’m going to use this project as an opportunity to explore those questions and move towards what I expect will be numerous different answers.  Call me Ishmael, and call adventure my whale.  I’m looking forward to sharing what I learn along the way.

3 thoughts to “On the Road”

  1. This gives me a great sneak peak of a potential format of your project! I love the photo essay style, and these photos are powerful, especially paired with your well-written captions. Did your conference with Julie help to make your topic any more specific? You have a ton of really interesting questions and my concern is you not being able to fully answer each one. If you had to choose, which aspects of an adventure are the most important to you? The most important to define? Which questions are most burning to you? Great work and I can’t wait to see what else is to come!

  2. Thanks for the sneak preview of your Capstone Project! I just bought a copy of “On the Road” and I am digging it so far. I am looking forward to seeing how your project unravels!

  3. I really like the photo essay idea! If possible, it’d be awesome to get photo submissions + little snippets of road trip experience/advice from different people.

    After reading this post, I’m getting a visual of different road trip collages – like pictures of people, their go-to comfort items (a coffee mug or blanket or whatever), their books, their music, receipts from diners/restaurants, etc. all “taped” onto a windshield background. I don’t know if that fits in with your ideas, but it could be cool even just as a “cover photo” for the blog or webpage you’re going to make.

    In any case, I like what you’ve got so far, because all the details really come together vividly in these photos. Exciting!

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