Welcome to The Road Trip of Passage, winner of the 2011 College Blogging Scholarship Award given by CollegeScholarships.org.
In the following 45,000 odd words, you can read about the adventures of a nineteen year old boy traveling through America alone in his car. Starting in New York and ending up in Peru, I documented my adventures in the Summer of 2011 with a goal in mind: To restore the ‘Road Trip’ as an American Rite of Passage.
Feeling that there was no way to test myself as an American adult the way many cultures have ritualistic trials, I set out on my trip hoping to return able to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It was born not from some deep philosophical concern, of a painfully basic human desire: to fit in. After arriving in college, I made close friends and had wonderful professors, but when it came to the dominant social culture at the University of Richmond—frat party life—I was at a loss. I couldn’t communicate within that structure, and the very social man inside of me lamented it incredibly. I didn’t want to be in that position again, so I set out to fit in everywhere.
The idea was born a year ago, in December of 2010. I would embark on an adventure to prove myself as a man, meanwhile discovering my own sense of masculinity along the way. The ‘Rite of Passage’ idea came to me in a Barnes and Noble. A year later, I feel more confident in meeting new people, and less confined to a societal structured way of living. I feel free to have my own values, even if they are not in line with the ruling virtue of the day. I feel like no matter what profession I end up pursuing, I have the knowledge that if it does not work out, the world is filled with secrets as yet undiscovered. That’s not a bad year.
For now, I’m working as a journalist and hoping to publish my first novel—based loosely on this adventure—sometime in the next couple years. My current projects include a weekly column on Occupy Wall Street from a collegiate point of view and some exciting adventures in production I’ll share soon. I hope that those of you who have followed this adventure continue to engage with me and give my writing a platform.
Everything else you read on this blog will be long, so I will keep this short. My friend Peter McLaughlin, and entrepreneur and Co-Founder of uBuckle, quotes something on his Facebook page list of ‘Favorite Quotes’ that I wrote during this summer: “You can’t expect to be more successful than everybody else by doing the same thing as everyone else.”
In the end, that’s what this trip was truly about. It was an answer to the question: What rewards are out there for those who have the urge and take the risk to do things differently?
In the end, you answered my question by voting for me in the $10,000 scholarship competition. Never mind all the mental advances, $10,000 is a pretty tangible reward. So if you feel the urge to take a risk, take your own advice and go for it. You made my adventure amazing, so I have little doubt you can do the same for yourself. Found a company, have an adventure, submit an article. Start something amazing. The best investment you’ll ever make is in yourself.