With its focus on careers in design, the twelfth season of Roadtrip Nation features conversations with award-winning artists, animators and sound designers from hits like Disney’s Frozen, Pixar’s Toy Story, the Star Wars franchise and NPR’s Snap Judgment.
Whether you’re searching for career guidance or just a fan of pop culture, you’ll want to join college grads Sofaya, Martha and Ben as they pile into the iconic Green RV for a trip that covers 21 states, 28 interviews and an eye-opening smorgasbord of design-related career options. It turns out that doing what you love can pay the bills … and even win you an Oscar!
As the three roadtrippers face down life after college, their choices seem anything but easy. Sofaya studied industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design, but her parents, who immigrated from Haiti, want her to choose a safer career path. Martha had the good fortune to grow up in a family of designers, but now she’s struggling to find her own passion. Ben hasn’t spent much time outside Rhode Island, so he craves exposure to new places and ideas.
With young people everywhere wondering if they have to choose between their creative aspirations and a livelihood, Season 12 of Roadtrip Nation comes along just in time with its usual wit, wisdom and kick in the pants. As celebrated glassblower Jessica Schimpf says, “The world isn’t looking for you. You have to go out and find it.”
Loureen Ayyou, firstname.lastname@example.org
Season 12 of Roadtrip Nation is made possibly by Autodesk, Hobsons, The College Board, AT&T and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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1201: Whirlwind of Awesomeness
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.
1202: East Meets West
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.
1203: Finding Contentment
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.
1204: Challenge the Status Quo
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.
1205: The Answer is Within You
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.
1206: Make it Your Own
The road-trippers try their hand at spinning molten glass with glassblower Jessica Schimpf. The world isn’t looking for you, she says, you have to go out and find it. She recounts how she left a big-time welding gig to follow her dreams. In Texas, the team interviews Austinites on the street and goes for beignets and palm readings in New Orleans before hitting crowd-powered T-shirt purveyor Threadless in Chicago.
1207: Deciding What’s Next
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.
1208: Everything is Design
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.
About Roadtrip Nation
Roadtrip Nation started in 2001 when three friends fresh out of college weren’t sure what to do with their lives. Their solution? To road-trip around the country and ask people who do what they love how they got to where they are today. What started as a road trip sparked an annual documentary series, a number of books, online tools, and an educational organization—all dedicated to helping individuals define their own roads in life. In 2009, Roadtrip Nation expanded into education with the creation of The Roadtrip Nation Experience, a project-based self-discovery curriculum designed to help students explore their identities and find careers aligned with their interests. Today, Roadtrip Nation continues to empower individuals to create meaningful lives doing what they love. To learn more about Roadtrip Nation, visit www.roadtripnation.com. For more information about Roadtrip Nation in education, visit www.roadtripnation.org.
About KQED Public Television
KQED Public Television, one of the country’s most popular public television stations, brings the values of public media to homes around the Bay Area with EMMY® Award–winning programming that inspires, informs and entertains. KQED produces local series like Check, Please! Bay Area, This Week in Northern California, Truly CA, San Francisco Opera and ImageMakers, as well as popular programs for national broadcast such as Essential Pépin, QUEST and Film School Shorts. KQED also distributes programming, including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Roadtrip Nation andJoanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence, to public media stations across the country. KQED Public Television channels are KQED 9 (San Francisco/Bay Area, also available in HD), KQED Plus (Bay Area, also available in HD) and KQET (Monterey/Salinas). KQED also offers digital channels available via XFINITY and over-the-air, each with distinct quality programming: KQED World, KQED Life, KQED Kids and KQED V-me (Spanish language).
About American Public Television
APT (APTonline.org) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. Since 2004, APT has distributed approximately half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies, including For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, A Ripple of Hope, Rick Steves’ Europe, Newsline, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Lidia’s Italy, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, Midsomer Murders, Moyers & Company, Doc Martin, Rosemary & Thyme, BBC World News, The Rat Pack: Live and Swingin’, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! and John Denver: The Wildlife Concert. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched and nationally distributed Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at WORLDcompass.org. For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org. For more information on Create, visit CreateTV.com.