24 April 2008

And I Had…The Time Of My Li-i-i-fe

40 Days. 32 States. 1 Canadian Province. 7373 Miles. 150 Venture Teams. 5000 Young People. 2 Lost Bags. 10 Days Without Clean Clothes. It was most certainly an adventure to say the least. Malena and I began on February 11th in Anaheim, California at the Taylor home by throwing a family BBQ (naturally) and I finished the adventure March 26th in Washington, DC after zig-zagging north, east, south, east, north, further north, west, south, east, north and south again. We moved from wearing shorts under the sunny skies of California to bundling up in down jackets to fend off the sub-zero temperatures of Minnesota.

No matter where we were one thing remained consistent: young people are doing incredible things to fundamentally reshape their schools, cities, states and country. From a 12-year-old in Seattle who has raised more than $10,000 in just three months to fund girls scholarships in Rwanda to 20-year-olds in New England who have brought arts into the lives of hundreds of children, they gave life to this idea that young people can be Powerful now. Changemakers now.

Still, for whatever reason, there are those who doubt. Who say this is a figment of our imagination, and that their work is the exception and not the rule. New agencies that say this “isn’t a story” and that there is “nothing significant there.” Well I have 8000 pictures, 60 hours of video, 200 interviews, 100 blog entries and a network of millions of young people who might think otherwise. Yes, this isn’t a majority YET but when in history has it taken a majority of people to change the world? From ending religious extremism to guaranteeing the right to vote for ever American, powerful minorities have time and time again reshaped the way we think and live, truly changing our world.

This will absolutely be the greatest global movement to ever take shape, so here is my advice to you: Pay attention. Know your facts. Understand these “crazy kids.” Why? Because if you don’t you’re going to wake up in 20 years and realize that we somehow managed to take control of everything without ever rustling a feather. This is a silent revolution but have no fear: we will be heard, whether it’s in the townships of South Africa, favellas of Brazil or inner cities of America. Change is-a-comin’. Are you coming too?

With that, I think it’s important to cite what was perhaps the greatest success of the road trip; the simple fact that Malena and I did not have one single fight. It was nothing but smiles, laughs, mix cds and the occasional “moment of silence.” All told, I could not have found a better road mate, so thank you girl. You rock.

From here, it’s all about reflecting on the experience and offering some commentary, so stay tuned. Plus, my Asian adventure begins in just 2 weeks. China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, here I come. Woo!

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