Day 78: Shared Dreams

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March 18, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

There seems to be a growing trend taking shape.  Maybe it happens after catching a glimpse of a map, or because suddenly their hometowns seem so small, or maybe for no good reason at all, but more and more Americans are taking to the highways and traveling across the country in search of…something.  Anything.  Everything.  America is bountiful, despite what stereotypes of Western civilization would convince you of; bountiful of small towns and big ones, farms and forests, mountains, malls, bakeries, libraries, diners, discos, religions, people and dreams.  Americans are united by a lot of things, but we’re unique in every way that matters.  There is no “typical American”.  Today’s project knows this and is adding chapters to the ever-evolving American storybook by learning from a handful of extraordinary countrymen.

Jennifer Sukis is embarking on a 8,000 mile journey around the Union, searching for stories of singularity and self – stories about the dreams we share and maybe those we don’t – stories from Americans both like and unlike you and I. 

On April 13th I’m taking leave from all things routine to load up the car with cameras and paper and pens and camping gear, and driving across the country to visit five remarkable individuals who’ve challenged what was in front of them and made drastic changes to create a life that felt truer to their values. I’ll be asking them how they came to these realizations, what it felt like when they decided to abandon their traditional paths and what they risked and gained by choosing a future that was full of uncertainty and adventure. I’ll also be asking them about their approach to life, their thoughts on aging and death and how they see the American dream evolving amongst their friends and communities.

Jennifer is chronicling her journey and the journeys of those she meets, sharing with all of us through To Be Brave.  It’s a book that will explore what people value and how we measure success.  The American Dream has always been a blurry vision for something more, but perhaps by searching through the tales of those who’ve achieved what matters most to them – who’ve achieved happiness – we can begin to understand our own dreams a little better, too.  So I hope you’ll help Jennifer in her quest to bring focus to America’s many dreams by backing To Be Brave before April 7.


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