This past weekend has been a great time to relax and reflect on our trip so far. Didi and I took a few days to run errands, and continuously eat ourselves through the Pacific Northwest while Eugene was visiting family in New York.
Yesterday, I went up to Vancouver with my aunt and some friends, and completed a marathon food tour of the city. In honor of completing our quest, we decided to pose by the Olympic Cauldron.
Meanwhile, Didi hung out with my other aunt and cousins and went around a tour of the oddities of Central Washington where they met some colorful characters.
Today was another exciting day for us. We were on TV!!! SparkTruck made an appearance on King 5’s New Day Northwest morning show where we chatted with host Margaret Larson about our project and gave her a little surprise at the end of the segment. Watch it here:
But now on to what we’ve learned so far on our trip:
- Having locals vouch for you unlocks all sorts of doors. This was true in Boise where Travis was able to amass an amazing crowd for us using the library’s social media channels, and again in Seattle where my aunts helped us schedule initial events. New friends like Matt and Mike helped us fill up the rest of our stay with press appearances and introduced us to even more cool people and organizations like Ada’s Books and the West Seattle Tool Library. Working closely with local hosts and sponsors has always been a goal of our trip, and these past two stops have only underscored the importance of tapping into and energizing existing community infrastructure.
- Early mornings are tough. This one more or less speaks for itself. Late night emailing and prep sessions tend not to pair well with early morning roll outs (like our 7am departure for our Highland Middle School workshop on Wednesday), and I end up looking like this every time I get woken up from an unintentional nap
- But running workshops can really be energizing. This is the corollary to #2 that is the only thing that’s made our jam-packed week last week possible. Nothing quite wakes you up like a crowd of 6th graders excited about making things.
- We need to be thinking more about long-term impact and replicability. Chatting with thought leaders like Jonah Lehrer and long-term educators like Jessica about the problems they’re facing in getting creative learning opportunities into more schools really makes us want to take advantage of our opportunity to make a lasting difference in the space. While we’re constantly struggling to take a larger view of things due to our on-the-road craziness, we know that if we don’t take the time to set things up the right way now, it’ll be more difficult to tie things together at the end. We’re starting to look into ways we can better embed data collection into our workshops, and exploring opportunities for making this road trip a recurring adventure for college students each summer. If any of you have suggestions or advice, please let us know.
- My relatives are amazing people. I wanted to say another final thank you to all of my Seattle-area relatives that have been so incredibly generous and supportive to our team this past week. We truly couldn’t have done any of this without you, and we’re so grateful for the food, lodging, transportation, food, entertainment, food, free labor, and love you’ve given us. We’ll miss you.