stories from the road
Hi, I am planning a roadtrip for the summer of 2002, travelling from Florida to New England, via California. Although the trip is for personal experience I hope to use my talents as an Anthropologist along the way. I want to compile a publication about the lives of the people I meet on the road, based on informal conversations. My question here is does anybody have a good idea as to what a good focus point of the discussions should be? What would be an interesting theme to focus on, eg hopes and dreams, love, legends, goals, etc. I think it would be fun to represent others when i ask my questions, that way the publication would be a kind of joint venture. If you have any good ideas then i will be sure to mention you by name when the time comes!
Can't wait to read your suggestions, Sonja.
I think a really interesting question to ask everyone I met, especially after the Sept 11 events and their aftermath, is "what does it mean to be an American?". "How has your opinion of that changed since Sept 11?".
Neo-twilight years and greener pastures
A handful of studies are currently underway looking at segments of senior adults and the effects of living on the road in terms of depression and issues of self-esteem.
I think a study that quantifies the number and variety of dashboarders would be of real use over a range of ages and socio-economic backgrounds.
I'd hit small towns and learn about the impact of the major population centers and television in drawing the young people who are required for the health and welfare in continuing traditions in these historic off the main highway small towns and cities out of these locations and into the major metropolitan areas where they believe all of their dreams will come true. What is the media's role? How can opportunity be created in these quintessential small towns that would retain their economic viability? And then compare this to perceptions in big cities about how they perceive small town America. What qualities and amenities would big city dwellers require to move to small town America and would they be willing to invest time and money on improving services if the town were to adopt a travel-centric plan?
My two cents,
I think it's important for you to try to figure out what it is you want to know. I've been on the same road trip for the pat 4 years (one week at a time) and for a while i was kind of doing this "Proust Questionnaire" thing (ala Vanity Fair) -sometimes i would predetermine the questions from that batch and sometimes i would have 2 standard q's and then have the rest on cards and let someone pick a card - leave it up to the "universe" to decide which other question they should answer.
i had a cousin on a few of these trips and she took the opportunity to ask people questions that we important to her (i.e. questions about community, healing...along those lines).
what is it that you personally really want to know about?