Road Trip Nation

Grace Sauers, Editor-in-Chief/ Production Manager

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On Dec. 21, between 2nd and 3rd periods, the freshman and sophomore classes filled Dugger Gym in order to listen to Laguna Beach alumni Mike Marriner and Nathan Gebhard (Class of 1995) and co-founder Brian McAllister discuss career pathways. The three started the organization Roadtrip Nation together shortly after graduating high school.

“The founders of Roadtrip Nation talked about their experiences of when they were students at Laguna Beach High School as well as highlights about their journey of building Roadtrip Nation. The audience watched some interviews of leaders Roadtrip Nation filmed while on the road and heard about what Roadtrip Nation is working on now and their possible plans for the future,” said Inside Sales and Support Representative Molly Stevovich.

Roadtrip Nation aims to teach students around the country about available careers paths by interviewing numerous professionals from all over the United States. Roadtrip Nation has over 1,000 careers detailed and has interviewed thousands of professionals around the country.

“It brings awareness to young people as to what types of careers are actually out there,” said Scholarship and Financial Aid Specialist Lynn Gregory. “Going to college is great, but sometimes knowing what you want to be, or at least what options are out there, can be super helpful.”

“I hadn’t realized that college and career planning could come from such an organic source,” said sophomore Zack Bonnin.

Roadtrip Nation’s website provides a range of careers from comedians to musicians to everything in between. They have interviewed everyone from the CEO of National Geographic to rocket scientists and lobster fishermen.  The website contains a collection of thousands of video interviews featuring professionals discussing their work, lives and journeys; in addition, the site contains thousands of video interviews featuring professionals discussing their work, lives and journeys.

“We knew that we needed to find a way to share their stories to help inspire others, and that’s sort of how the idea for what Roadtrip Nation is today came about,” said Marriner.

Roadtrip Nation believes in product-based learning: Students follow lesson plans that provide career exploration through interactive lessons and engaging multimedia content. It also provides a platform through which existing professionals can give career advice to young students based on accomplishing goals and helping people.

“On average, our presentation length depends on who we’re speaking to and what they’re interested in. Sometimes we’re sharing about our series on public television and talking about new roadtrips, and other presentations are about the curriculum for students to discover their interests and define their own road,” said Marriner.

After college, Marriner and his friends bought an old RV, painted it bright green, and set out on a journey throughout the country to explore different careers paths. That trip was featured in Forbes Magazine and later turned into the book Roadtrip Nation: A Guide to Discovering Your Road in Life.

“We’ve filmed leaders from across the country who have shared their stories about how they got to where they are that we found particularly inspiring,” said Marriner.

Roadtrip Nation is currently expanding their reach, most recently to Hawaii. They not only focus on broadening students’ knowledge of career pathways, but also on raising awareness of world issues. Currently, Roadtrip Nation is following the lives of Alexis, Rachel and Pratishtha: three undocumented immigrants who have been temporarily granted partial protection against deportation. In addition, Roadtrip Nation has set out to talk to fellow immigrants who’ve found success.

According to their mission statement, “Lines on a map don’t make you who you are. It’s not where you’re born, but where you go in life, that defines you.”

Road Trip Nation adds their many adventures to their blog: blog.roadtripnation.com.

“The world doesn’t need more zombies. The world needs more people who are lit up by what they dopeople who can contribute in unique ways that accentuate their distinct talents, passions and idiosyncrasies,” said Marriner.

During the Road Trip Nation presentation, the junior and senior classes attended “College Unplugged” in the Artists Theatre and listened to six Laguna Beach High School alumni talk about their college application and attendance experiences. Among these alumni were Harrison Gregory (class of 2015) from Wake Forest University; Tanner Flagstad (class of 2015) from Irvine Valley College; Stephanie Zarrotte (class of 2014) from UC Berkeley (transferred from IVC); Frank Major (class of 2015) from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Charlotte Andrews (class of 2015) from Oberlin College; and Aviva Klein Meyers (class of 2015) from Stanford University. These alumni shared the things about applying and attending college that they did not learn in high school but wish they had. The overall goal of this presentation was to allow upperclassmen to connect to the realities of college through a variety of student perspectives.

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