June 15th

All in all, it’s been a great trip. But I know there’ve also been a lot of hard times. That the frictions of travel have at times exposed Redrik and I to our worst enemies, however cliché it sounds: the worst of ourselves.

That we did in fact make it, and pulled through together, stands as a testament to our friendship. Perhaps what seems, at first, like a somewhat damaged, beat up friendship. But stronger nonetheless.

It’s been about three weeks since we parted ways. We’ve exchanged few communications since then, mostly in the form of text messages.

 

Redrik calls. We chat, have some laughs.

“I * B the other night.”

“Nice one.”

 

Y’know… after all we’ve been through, the thousands of miles, the staggering landscapes and the dozens of whiskies, I think that’s what he needed all along. Some things solve themselves simply after all.

Why don’t I just shut up for once? Let’s just sit back, relax and enjoy.

 

July 11th

Been working on updating the online content, and have finally caught up. I think I’ve also been lingering in order to procrastinate on the real product: the movie.

But things have changed. Life looks bright. I’m ready. It’s time to get to work.

 

Speak again with Redrik. I think we both needed this down time to cool off, sort things out within our respective life ‘plans’. Chat around, discuss maybe meeting up later this summer.

We even muse over the possibility of returning the car back to the East Coast together at the end of August (uh-oh…)

 

July 17th

As I etch these last notes, I wonder what could be shared about my own life philosophy, a question which I’ve repeatedly heard – and even more often asked. I gave some inklings of an answer in this post from Colorado.

(Wanted to include a link to a reader’s blog post who, inspired by this idea of simply hearing out people’s different views, shared what they had learned from that experience – if you’re out there could you include a link?)

 

Perhaps some of you were hoping for a more complete, circular, tidy thought or opinion. That a journey of revelation and self-revelation would yield a ribbon-packaged outlook on life.

It may.

But I don’t have an answer. I’ve tried to share some bits and pieces of what may constitute an answer. I’ve tried to share stories about life, of one of its innumerable (personal) journeys, and of its intersections with the others met along the way…

I would hope the example given to be, if anything, more nominal, not so much in the spirit of describing a positive path or exemplifying a model to follow, even less to set ‘The’ Way.

Rather I’ve tried to expose some impressions along this path, some evocations of life’s beauties, its griminess, its diversity and richness and through it all, through the feelings felt and expressed, its deeply underlying humanity – at least through the lens which we use to perceive it. I’ve tried to be honest with my weaknesses, shortcomings, desires and loves.

 

But there is no single, simple answer I would yet feel comfortable to formulate (or perhaps the one which I’m thinking of would be of such simplicity that I fear it may be self-defeating to pronounce it in that manner).

I have, however, begun to write an essay on this topic, prompted by questions and comments by readers, so perhaps will have more on this soon.

 

Glad to be able to settle down for the time being. Within any path, whether trodden or less travelled, there remains, under any condition, the pleasure of breaking into a new habit after having gotten used to the last.

As you may have gathered, I don’t take a particular liking to endings. Few people do. I would rather see them as an opportunity for new beginnings. I’ve tasted tar. Now’s time for something else.

 

Before… who knows… hitting the road again?

 

PS:

I’ve forgotten to mention that when interviewing someone in Butte, MT, I learned that two academic researchers from (was it) University of Portland (?) had been doing a similar project, going about asking people about their life philosophy and application in daily life. Other similar projects probably exist.

I don’t know how they came about the idea (and though I cringe at the now obsolete originality of ‘my’ concept) but had already learned of another concept entitled “Fifty people, one question.”

There have been several variations on this theme and I suppose the idea of going out and talking to different people to gather an answer on a given topic is unsurprisingly common – and for the better.

There is though, a lot more that can be done in this direction, with this particular concept, and I’m thinking along the lines of the opportunities opened up by the Web and social networks.

If anybody knows more about this academic project / researchers / other similar projects, has ideas or is interested in this, I’d be curious to hear about it.

 

Next up, some thanks, recaps, and the next steps concerning the movie and large ooamerica photo project. Thanks to all for following!

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7 Responses to Ooamerica: USA Road Trip (2), an Epilogue, My Life Philosophy?

  1. szoutewelle says:

    ‘I’ve tasted tar’ has a certain ring to it. :-)

    I’ve loved following your journey, thank you.

    I wished sometimes it could have been more in real time- for those of us involved with your experiences, I realized that some of the emotions I was feeling at what you were going through were no longer relevant. I understand the near impossibilty of doing the trip and the blog simultaneously though. And perhaps the things you shared needed the perspective of time before they could be written about.

    I can understand the feeling of not being able to neatly tie up ends. I think you did, though, as much as possible. And I’m so glad you and Redrik remained friends. That was quite a test.

    Whether anyone else is doing similar projects doesn’t matter. Lots of people write books on the same subject, but each one has a different perspective to offer. Yours is unique and I’ve enjoyed it. Sarah

    • ooa revo says:

      Hi Sarah,

      thanks again for your support and bringing up these important points. I’m very interested in the evolution of storytelling and storytelling formats in the online / digital world. They are no doubt in their infancy. So long answer to your first point:

      - More real-time: Couldn’t agree more and have lamented several times in posts about the increasing lag between events and their narration (during part 2). The goal was to keep it in real-time (as I had more successfully managed during part 1), but this proved to be increasingly difficult with some of the added tensions of travel companionship, and the sheer distance and number of things seen with little down time to rest / work (9,000 miles in 2 months for part 2 versus 15,000 miles in 5-6 months for part 1). Of course as more content and stories piled up, there was so much more to catch up on, and so on, till it became somewhat overwhelming. So I’m still learning to find that balance – and look forward to share future adventures where it is better struck.

      I think this brings an interesting point about blogs and online narrative in general: we’ve come to associate them with real-time storytelling, but also, in that sense, their presumed ‘long tail’ is often short: blog or online content tends to be valued more for its newsworthiness or recency, rather than ‘analytical’ or qualitative value (to bring up a online news vs print newspaper analogy).

      I’ve tried, to a certain extent, to build this blog more as an online ‘road-book’ (with obvious limitations in my technical know-how, web design, available functionality and so on) so that its narrative would be less contingent upon the recency of the content. And that the online output of the project could offer, if chosen, a somewhat self-contained experience, which could be picked up by a new reader at a later time – whether someone interested in following the continuity of a single narrative, or skipping randomly among posts, or browsing through a certain media type, as is enabled by the web.

      This balance between a self-contained / open-ended digital format (these aren’t the correct terms, but ie: the difference between a paperback novel – or online – which you more or less have to read one way or say, in contrast, an online aggregator which features content which you can freely browse and skip through) is still in the making, and rapidly evolving!

      There have already been many types of experiments with online storytelling, whether ‘random’ blogging where sequential content is not necessarily related (other than through the author’s thoughts at the time of writing), self-contained multimedia narratives, interactive web documentaries where the reader is the hero and can choose the next steps, ‘live-writing’ a blog-book, etc. – and let’s not get into the possibilities offered by online collaboration / networking.

      So I guess I’m still trying to figure out the kind of online experience I’m trying to build for readers – and this will undoubtedly continue to be guided by new platforms and online publishing tools as they become available.

      As you said, some of the events described in the diaries actually benefited from having some time to put them in perspective.

      This hindsight enabled me to give more of an intentional ‘arc’ to the story of Redrik and I, describing / selecting events in ways which I perhaps wouldn’t have had I written all posts at the time of the event. So although all events described did happen, and are thus autobiographical, it’s important to remember (at least this is how I conceive it) that this remains a work of fiction by the very nature of its being put into words / into picture, and through the conscious selection and description of the events (mentioned in this post).

      Of course this can be tricky when the ‘fiction’ is based on autobiographical events.

      I don’t think, from that perspective, that your feelings while reading ‘were no longer relevant’ – just as, say, one can empathize after the fact with the protagonist of a movie or book (whether ‘based on a true story’ or not), etc.

      That said, I understand your thought and, as I said, will be seeking to strike a better balance (or shorter down time) between the content gathering, its production, and distribution.

      - I guess real ends come with knots of their own, in mysterious ways…
      - Quite a test. We passed. Barely.
      - the ‘originality’ was more of a jibe, it’s the way in which the story is told which can make it interesting, not the initial idea – which inexorably derives from former ones(?). Will be pursuing this project and completing it. Before the next one… Thanks again for your support and stay tuned for more!

  2. kecain says:

    Thank you for allowing us to follow along on this wonderful journey. I don’t think you need to worry about other projects with similar concepts. As you mentioned above, this is all seen through the lens of our perception and this project, in particular, has been seen through your lens.

    As far as a neatly defined answer goes, I’d rather have an answer that elicits three more questions.
    If anyone handed me a ‘ribbon-packaged’ answer, I’d shake the box and make sure it’s not ticking.

    Thanks again and safe journeys.

  3. Mondrak says:

    Fifty people – one question. “What shade of grey do you like?” ;-)

    It has been very interesting reading and watching your project. Well done for sticking to it.

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