Are you doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were a kid? Are you in the career you predicted you’d be in when you were in high school?

As most of us know, life happens. We end up taking different roads, making different choices and the next thing you know you’ve landed in a career that you love but didn’t expect. This is actually the lesson students learn with Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration resource that connects young people to careers that are true to their interests.

Roadtrip Nation started as a road trip in 2001 when a handful of American college students piled into a bright green, barely functioning 1985 RV and traveled the country asking people who do what they love how they figured it out.

“On that first road trip the RV broke down in every single city,” said Nathan Gebhart, one of the original road trippers. “We left literally two weeks after September 11 and did a 15,000 mile road trip around the country trying to answer the question, ‘What are we going to do with our life?’”

It is this question that haunts every young person on the planet. Perhaps this partly explains how Roadtrip Nation has grown into the enterprise it is today. Students fan out across the country meeting up with professionals who are doing what they love. The students interview them and often hear surprising stories, like how Darth Vader got his voice.

To date, Roadtrip Nation has interviewed over a thousand different professionals and has traveled 500,000 miles. And, nearly 10 million students have access to these stories with the Roadtrip Nation interview archive through Naviance.

“We all have the chance to be that spark or that inspiration that helps a kid translate an interest to a career,” said Gebhart. “If there is one thing that Roadtrip Nation is trying to do is act as this Rosetta Stone between interest and occupation. I think that in the context of these amazing stories where somebody just gets reflected in the right way, it’s a really inspiring and impactful thing.”

To hear more about Roadtrip Nation and their latest documentary,Why Not Us, listen to this episode of Upgraded by Hobsons.

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