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Not an Option

March 22nd, 2011. Filed under Louisiana,Social Good,SXSW,Texas

I saw this graffiti piece in South Austin as I was walking around the streets on one of our last days in town. The walk around town was part to get out of the usual craziness of the South by Southwest Conference and explore, part for photography, but mostly to clear my head. We hit a turning point on Our Revolution while in Austin.

To be on a road trip for almost a month and be in one city for 10 days straight was interesting. It was nice to have a much needed break from trying to hit a couple cities a day and many hours on the road trying to push out content but also left alot of time to feel stuck. The drive (no pun intented) that you build leading up to such a long trip and throughout the first few cities is incredible, wanting to do more, to top each hour of work before and to try and set up as many people as you can for the next city stop to meet up with. Just as quickly as that drive builds up, a few days into the trip you realize that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The hours on the road between the cities wears a bit, for you can only run wireless for so long and sit in the same position hunched over the laptop sharing photos and videos for so long.

The people you meet in each city, through the hashtag for the trip, and who are introduced via email keep you going with their excitement for the project and their interest in being involved. It constantly reminds you that any idea you had for the trip was small compared to the possibilities that all these friends, new and old, bring with them.

We arrived in Austin tired and a bit worse for wear with lack of sleep and with some injuries from adventures (hope your arms doing better Stu). Then a bunch of things happened: Stu found out he had been hired at Definition 6, two members who were going to join the 2nd leg of the trip started a new project based on people they had met on their trip down, and we dived into both the interactive and music conferences. It was alot to take in and once I processed it all I realized it was going to be just Ja-Nae and myself for the rest of the trip once we left SXSW.

How could we accomplish everything we had set out to do with two people? How could we interview, film, photograph, and post everything with two people? How could we accomplish all the driving? We had no idea.

We sat down over the last few days of the conference and had a heart to heart about the trip. Went over the first part, what worked and what didn’t, what each of us was hoping to accomplish, and where should we go. We came to a realization that both of us was committed no matter what to sharing these cities’ stories. We had also put an idea out there, a promise with the hashtag, the site, and the sponsors that people had latched on to and wanted to be a part of and we couldn’t let them down.

So there’s only two of us on the road now, just like in some of the cities we may have only one or two people that we set up to talk to, but as these last two days has showed: the trip is more than the people in the van.

 

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Comments

  1. Brandon says:

    I admire you for putting this out there and believe me, I can totally relate. I’ve had similar experiences around the Spirit of the Gulf Coast work. What I learned is that when I just let the work happen through me, incredible things happen.

    We had several setbacks just like you mentioned right before our trip last summer. One of the videographers ha a death in the family and another girl couldn’t go. Even the last day of our trip, we lost one of our teammates but we pushes on. It was layer that day that the biggest turning point occurred – and totally by accident. No plan, no schedule, just an inquisitive spirit and desire to hear and learn. That’s when the magic happens.

    I’m excited for you and Ja Nae! This will be epic for sure.

    Enjoy every moment, and thank you for sharing them as you are able to. You are both amazing! :)

  2. Ja-Nae says:

    Brandon,

    Great comment (and great post). All labors of love have these setbacks. The key is to view them as opportunities, which is apparent in your work.

    We wish we could have taken you on the road with us. :-)