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This series follows charismatic young adults as they pile in to a big green RV and cross the country to interview entrepreneurs and community leaders about how they got in touch with their passion and created their road in life. This is only one aspect of its ever-expanding, multi-platform plan to lower the nation's dropout rates.
Roadtrip Nation Previous Broadcasts
Everything Is Design (Episode #1208H)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 24, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The trip ends in NYC as the team meets designer Tina Roth Eisenberg, who left her tiny village in Switzerland to find her people in New York. Last up, Helvetica director Gary Hustwit shares the philosophy that connects all design: moving things forward. Though the road-trippers' forward movement on the Green RV ends here, nothing about what they've learned on this journey is over.
Deciding What's Next (Episode #1207H)
KQED World: Thu, Jun 23, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
In Chicago, the team meets exhibition designer Olivia Castellini, a physics Ph.D. whose job combines her varied interests in science and the arts. In NYC, unstoppable inventor-turned-entrepreneur Ben Kaufman recounts flying to China to make his first product before he had even graduated from high school and shares why it's important to strike the right balance between jerk and pushover.
The Answer Is Within You (Episode #1205H)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 21, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The road-trippers explore the Experience Music Project in Seattle, where experience designer Andrea Weatherhead advises that the best path toward happiness is getting to know yourself. In Colorado, the team meets interior designer Eiko Okura, who urges them to stop overthinking and see what emerges, and Michael Franti, who advocates for making lots of decisions and seeing what sticks.
Challenge The Status Quo (Episode #1204H)
KQED World: Mon, Jun 20, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The road-trippers head to Skywalker Ranch, where Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt recounts driving cross-country to California twice before his dreams of being a sound designer beat back his fear of change. Pixar animator Ralph Eggleston talks about getting beyond the world you inhabit and going deeper into what interests you, and Janice Levenhagen-Seeley of ChickTech advocates challenging the status quo.
Finding Contentment (Episode #1203H)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 17, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
In Oakland, Snap Judgment host Glynn Washington tells a story of fleeing his comfort zone and moving to Japan, where he found an unexpected teacher and an unexpected calling when he accidentally bought dog food for dinner one night. Santa Cruz Guitar founder Richard Hoover shares his philosophy of teaching and service and leads the road-trippers into Santa Cruz's misty, magical redwood forest.
East Meets West (Episode #1202H)
KQED World: Thu, Jun 16, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The East Coast born and bred road-trippers experience a totally foreign way of life-laidback and Californian as they ride jet packs, talk to the creator of Frozen's Elsa in L.A., and venture north to Ventura where Patagonia designer John Rapp instructs them in the relaxed ways of West Coast work-life, finding what you love and digging in, and creating balance wherever you are.
Whirlwind of Awesomeness (Episode #1201H)
KQED World: Wed, Jun 15, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The keys to the Green RV go to three new road-trippers, all interested in design, who kick-start their cross-country journey of self-discovery with a visit to the art-tech spectacle of Two Bit Circus, where founders Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman share their story of dabbling across domains and finding inspiration at the intersection of their interests.
The Long Road Home (Episode #1108H)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 14, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
After 34 interviews and several thousand miles on the odometer, it's the end of the road and the road-trippers have one interview left. In Milwaukee, WI, they interview Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, a nonprofit that proves local food systems can create jobs, improve the health of the community, fight racism, and bring urban and rural communities together. Will shares his journey from sharecroppers' son to basketball player and back to farming. He poses the question, "How do you stay energized?" and responds that you have to be passionate, and you must have the patience to put in the hard work to truly reach that point of passion where the hours fly by.
As the road-trippers get back in the RV, they reflect on stories and lessons from the road. Tele'jon follows the common threads that connect the Leaders' experiences and truly understands what it means to say that everything is possible. Olivia has newfound confidence that there's no such thing as a mistake. There's no wrong thing you can do, so do everything. Ed vows to leave his safety net and come to the edge and jump. "I've found a new world and a new way of living," he says, "and I like it." At the airport, Olivia, Tele'jon and Ed say their last goodbyes and move ahead, determined to take advantage of everything the road has shown them.
Rounding The Bend (Episode #1107H)
KQED World: Mon, Jun 13, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The road-trippers reach Long Island, NY, home of writer Beverly Donofrio. Beverly recounts a long list of personal failures - getting put in remedial English, a failed thesis, a lost job - between bouts of reflective laughter. You have to laugh, she tells the road-trippers, and thrive from adversity; take a real look at the opportunities that are presented to you, and say yes as often as you can.
From there, the road-trippers head to Detroit, MI, where they encounter one of the renegade artists who is taking back the city. Spoken word poet Airea Dee Matthews urges the road-trippers to find rebirth in collapse. In the mostly abandoned city, the artists of Detroit don't see decay, but possibility. The road-trippers see the decay for themselves when they tour an abandoned building and experience the sense of freedom and energy that drives the artists' push for regeneration.
Next, in Chicago, IL, Tele'jon struggles to reconcile his mentors' suggestion that he become a professor with his disillusion with the educational system. After interviewing Professor David Stovall, Tele'jon sees that David shares his concerns about access and privilege, and uses his position to create change. Tele'jon leaves the interview feeling more confident that he'll go to college.
Time to Jump (Episode #1106H)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 10, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
In New York City, the 36-foot RV squeezes through the city's narrow streets, but the team miraculously finds a parking spot. Leaving behind their goliath transportation for a few hours, the road-trippers opt for a new method of travel: the subway. As they explore the city, Manhattan seems larger than life to Ed, whose small-town upbringing in England has never brought him face-to-face with a bustling American city.
After taking in the sights, the road-trippers meet Staceyann Chin, a spoken-word artist and LGBT rights activist. Staceyann opens up about her rough upbringing, during which she was abandoned by her mother and sexually assaulted. Reflecting on the effects of traumatic life events, Staceyann notes that while these events will always remain a deep scar, they can also be harnessed for positivity. After all, her tumultuous childhood was the impetus that inspired her to move to NYC and discover the outlet of poetry. She encourages the road-trippers to feed their spirits, take risks and take advantage of their youth.
Inspired by Staceyann's urgings, the road-trippers decide to abandon their inhibitions, act on their impulses and take a "jump" of their own. Driving to the coast, they plunge into the Atlantic and swim around in the pouring rain, soaking up the fleeting nature of the moment.
Connecting The Dots (Episode #1105H)
KQED World: Thu, Jun 9, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
Halfway through the journey, we find the road-trippers in Washington D.C., where they interview Brittan Heller, a human rights attorney. Brittan explains her "connect-the-dots" approach to career-building, which starts off with knowing what you're passionate about and taking small steps grounded in conviction. This philosophy resonates with Ed, who realizes that every experience has the potential to shape him, regardless of whether he knows his final destination.
Later, the road-trippers make their way to Philadelphia, where they interview Sal Donato, a racecar-building mechanic who owns his own shop. As a first-generation American, Sal exudes a hard-working, up-by-the-bootstraps mentality, which Olivia can relate to as the daughter of immigrants. Olivia leaves the interview feeling inspired by Sal's success story and the unquestionable joy he derives from his work.
Later, after stopping to enjoy Philly Cheesesteaks, the team interviews Christine Borelli and Stacey Cruise, two women who revitalized a crime-ridden school by using compassion instead of punishment. Tele'jon is particularly moved by the school's transformation and leaves the conversation feeling fired up about creating institutional change in education.
Rattle The Cage (Episode #1104H)
KQED World: Wed, Jun 8, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The road-trippers meander through the South, eventually stopping in New Orleans, where they interview a range of individuals, including a chef, a graphic designer, and a veterinarian at a chimpanzee sanctuary. Later, on an airboat tour through the swamps of Lafitte, the team is surprised to learn that their boat operator is also an alligator wrestler whose involvement with the sport is rooted in a Native American tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
Next, the road-trippers make the drive up to St. Louis, Missouri, where they participate in a Zombie Fun Run. Olivia reflects on her affinity for life on the road, noting her appreciation for the way that traveling shakes you out of your habits and "rattles the cage."
Moving on to Washington D.C., the road-trippers interview Ben Drexler, a former non-profit professional who left his traditional 9-to-5 to become a poi (fire) spinner. Ben encourages the road-trippers to think about life as a gift, and challenges them to find their own niches that allow them to express who they are. After learning a bit about the craft, Ed and Tele'jon both give fire spinning a whirl, finding liberation in confronting their fears.
It's A Journey - Not A Destination (Episode #1103H)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 7, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
Against a backdrop of sweeping sand and swaying palm trees, the road-trippers make their way to Palm Springs to interview NASA engineer Adam Steltzner. Adam boasts an impressive resume that includes directing the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, but describes an unlikely sequence of life events that led him to where he is: He was a terrible student in school, isn't sure whether he graduated high school, and spent years as an aimless musician without even knowing the Earth rotated on an axis! A fateful night looking up at the stars eventually kindled his interest in science, but his circuitous path teaches the road-trippers that it's always possible to alter your trajectory.
Later, in Taos, New Mexico, the team meets with Sherry Grathler, a river guide who backed out of a career in law to pursue the outdoors. Sherry discusses the challenges of defying societal expectations, and leads the road-trippers through a whitewater rapid excursion down the Rio Grande that teaches them the importance of going with the flow of life. Later, the road-trippers find themselves pleasantly outside their comfort zones with a festive Fourth of July celebration deep in the heart of Texas.
Know Who You Are (Episode #1102H)
KQED World: Mon, Jun 6, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
The road-trippers' search for wisdom continues in San Francisco, where they interview Roy Remer, a volunteer coordinator at the Zen Hospice Project, who uses Buddhist principles to serve the emotional needs of the terminally ill. Roy reflects on the difficulty of letting go, and encourages the road-trippers to practice saying goodbye to the various stages of life in order to grow into the next version of themselves. Next, the road-trippers talk the importance of self-reflection with Omar Cardenas, a youth organizer for the Children's Defense Fund. Omar's personal transformation from troubled high school dropout to empowering mentor inspires Tele'jon, who aspires to do similar work.
Later, a drive to Los Angeles lands the road-trippers at the doorstep of Ian Harvie, a transgendered stand-up comedian whose self-deprecating brand of humor hilariously tackles issues of gender identity and societal expectations. Ian discusses his challenge-filled journey of self-acceptance, stirring up powerful emotions in Olivia. The road-trippers ultimately leave the interview feeling more resolute in their identities and determined to live their lives in a way that's true to themselves.
The Voyage Begins (Episode #1101H)
KQED World: Fri, Jun 3, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
Unsure what to do with their lives and seeking wisdom from others, a team of young adults sets off on a cross-country road trip to interview professionals in diverse careers who can provide insight into building a fulfilling life. Ed, a recent college graduate from the small town of Colchester, England, is stagnating in a dead-end job and living with his parents. Determined to branch out, he hopes this trip will give him the confidence to pursue broader possibilities. Tele'jon, an 18-year-old from violence-plagued Oakland, CA, seeks to channel his passion for community activism into a socially impactful career. 29-year-old Olivia left a stifling small town upbringing to join the Air Force and explore the world. Now at a point in life where she wants to settle down, she hopes to blend her interests of sustainable farming and community-building into a satisfying livelihood.
After meeting each other in San Francisco, the team hops aboard Roadtrip Nation's iconic green RV and travels to Santa Cruz, CA, where they interview climbing instructor Jakob Laggner. Jakob left a traditional desk job to found Treks and Tracks, a company that leads outdoor expeditions.
It Doesn't End Here (Episode #1008H)
KQED World: Thu, Jun 2, 2016 -- 9:30 PM
After traveling over 5,000 miles in 45 days, the Roadtrippers reach Massachusetts for the final week of their journey. There, they meet with Jeremy England, an MIT biophysicist, and Juan Enriquez, the CEO of Biotechnonomy LLC. Change is the topic of discussion with Juan, who tells the Roadtrippers to 'scare the hell' out of themselves sometimes because stagnancy is the enemy of personal growth. Moving onto the last interview of the trip, the Roadtrippers meet with Lydia Villa-Komaroff, an internationally-acclaimed molecular biologist and Chief Scientific Officer at CytonomeST. Lydia discusses the challenges of being a Mexican-American woman in a male-dominated field, and credits her passion for helping her to overcome obstacles. Afterwards, the team heads to the airport where they reflect on their personal growth and future paths before sharing one last group hug.