Tag Archives: manifesto

Manifesto

I blew it. I spent all my money and can’t afford to go it “alone” this summer. So I’m not going to be on the bus, but I’ll still be following the trip through this site, maybe posting responses.

I still think it’s very important to say what this trip meant to me. What it still means to me. I think there are two reasons I yearned for the journey. First, to see as much as I could of this country. Even just on that superficial level of observation, to see it. There is a lot more on this earth than most of us will ever see first-hand, and so long as I have the chance to explore the depths and heights of it I see no reason not to. Life is short, and we might only do it once, so I believe in learning and experiencing as much of it as we can.

It’s not the same thing to see pictures or hear stories. I went to Ireland for ten days last summer. I’ve seen plenty of videos and photographs of the country, but the moment I saw the mountains for myself I was changed. It was unlike any previous experience. It was literally breathtaking to look out the window of my room in the morning and see the sparkling water of the loch under the bluest sky, or the palpable mist hovering about the grassy mountaintop. You have not seen Ireland until you stand there and look at it.

But perhaps more important to me: I want to find something. Anything uniquely valuable about the experience. I have felt for most of my life that I was missing something, and have made some guesses at how to feel more complete, or simply how to be happier with my life. But for these past few years I have struggled to find a place for myself in the world, or even a place without the world, or alongside it. I don’t expect a road-trip to California and back, even if we covered every inch of the country, would bring an answer to such a monumental question. I would probably find no answers, but many more questions. But I expect, and I think many of us do, that undertaking this journey will teach me something that I can’t even imagine before I see it.

In the poem “Dover Beach,” Matthew Arnold writes:

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight

For three months of travel, I expect at least one instant of discovery, one minute piece of experience that lends the least bit of light to this darkness. Not that I will understand the world any clearer, but that I will return knowing something new. I will be changed, as changed I was by the Irish mountains.

Manifesto

There is no agenda behind the Juan Way Tour – each member represents themselves and their own goals. The Tour is not trying to promote using waste vegetable oil for fuel, not trying to endorse or support any issue, not trying to tell anyone how to do anything.

I only hope to finish this trip with a greater understanding of the country I live in. I live in Connecticut, and while I’ve traveled a little, it has always been destination-based travel. You step into an airplane, and magically move from one airport to another, with no sense of the distance you’ve traveled. Or drive out on the highway, staring straight ahead at miles of identical road. What we sacrifice with destination-based travel is everything in between where we’re going and where we’ve been. We tune out the surroundings, and don’t stop to look around. When Ali and I drove the bus back from Minnesota, we experienced this firsthand – 1200 miles, and each mile the same as the one before it.

This trip is going to be very different from destination-based travel: the plan is to start driving West, and then eventually back East. That’s it – just cardinal directions, and places we’d like to see. Think of it like connect the dots. That should take us about three months. It would be nice to see all 48 states, but it is not a goal. There are no goals. What we hope to learn we don’t really understand yet, so there is no point trying to put it into words. But we will be sharing the experience, and there will be many updates, pictures, and videos on this website.

That is one of my main goals on this trip: to try and share the experience. I know there are a lot of people who want to take a trip like this – they’ve told me. Among people I know, there are more who would like to come than could ever be feasible. I know that I won’t be able to bring as many people along with me as I would like to, so I’m doing what I can to share it all, and put all the information I have out here. I hope that someone interested in taking a trip like this could learn a lot from this site, and I hope the rest can enjoy the ride.