The World by Road expedition was brought into being by a group of individuals who wanted to increase young people's interest in world issues and cultures. Travelling from country in large vehicles, they document everything they see as they go with a video recorder and internet blog. The audience back home is invited to participate by leaving feedback and suggestions as to where they should go next. Team leader Steven Shoppman explains why he thinks education goes down better when there's a little adventure thrown in:
It only took a couple of weeks to come up with the name for our expedition - The World by Road - but the idea started a long time ago. After doing a lot of road trips while growing up, and having lived out of a vehicle during many different periods of my life, I knew that this was the best way to see a place.
As we began to research the trip, we started to realise that Americans don't get out and travel all that much. People with a valid passport are in a minority, and in a given year something like only 5% of the entire population even uses their passports to leave the country. We knew we needed to get more people interested in what's going on in the world.
The project started with the idea that we could intersperse adventure with heavier issues. By mixing enjoyable activities with visits to aid organisations overseas, and interviewing people involved in cultural and social issues, we're hoping to inspire a much larger audience.
Once the word about our trip got out, people started to contact us with their ideas, which was exactly what we wanted. Now, on our interactive website, anyone can contact us with suggestions as to where and what we should cover, and our readers can drive where the story goes. It's much better than the news, where media companies go out to cover a story and you get whatever is given to you on television. With us, people can participate a bit more.
We film as much as we can on video and try to write blog entries on a website every day. I think it helps to get people interested. Instead of watching a reporter talking through a microphone, the audience can actually feel like they're part of the adventure, and it makes them want to know more.
When we get back to America we're going to do a college tour to get more kids interested in doing study-abroad programmes and overseas. We're hoping that the multi-media presentation of our trip and our direct interaction with the students will make a difference among young people in the US and turn some of them into international citizens.1) It took a long time to figure out the name for the expedition.2) It was planned to address a much larger audience by mixing enjoyable activities with heavier issues.3) The information on the website - videos and blog entries - are updated weekly.