Where Is Your Roadmap Taking You?

Some books inspire you to believe you can do anything with enough time and passion. The best example I can think of is following the Book Club reading of Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell my fella repeatedly told me that if he just keeps practicing the guitar he will be a rockstar, and perhaps he is in the video game.

Some books are so damn chipper and optimistic you scream at them and throw them across the room, pacing around lecturing them about the “real world” such as The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business By Charles Duhigg. Also, Book Club. For the record, Book Club is not exclusively a self help section, in fact it is not predominately self help. If we had to pick a theme the theme would undoubtedly be Nazis. More on Book Club at another time.

If I am honest Roadmap by Roadtrip Nation did neither. I read all three hunderish pages in about three days. Sitting at my desk I dutifully followed the exercises in my journal (my copy was from the library, heaven help us if they get that returned with pre-filled answers!)  I even used six different colors so I could more easily access my answers to each question should I want to review it at a later time. Mostly, I cried though. Sometimes I ranted.

What I liked:

  • The interviews for support. I enjoy hearing other people tell their stories. The collection contains some really interesting careers and diverse people. The juxtaposition reinforced the repeated claim that as much as this book provides examples for what others have done, at the end of the day you follow your own star. For some “Leaders” that entailed extreme structure and for others it was a belief in serendipity and a willingness to go with the universe. Following your path will be an individual route.
  • The hard questions that encouraged interviewers to experience again and share their world before they were “Leaders” and had it all figured out. What was doubt like and how did you overcome it? What types of anxieties did you have? I especially liked the story about a Yale grad who ended up selling cheese in the mall, directionless in life. Envisioning her explaining to successful former classmates that she didn’t know what she was doing but she was selling cheese if they would like to try some. It is a mall job, and unfortunately very relatable.
  • The projects. In the back of the book there are examples, such as making a blog about what you love and really going to town. They provide steps to practice a lot of the ideas they go over and lists they help you create. It’s pragmatic approach of letting the rubber hit the road, which suits the authors style. I think my favorite project is creating your own semester. I’m working on some ideas for mine, one of which maybe a class based on Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle. I’d love to get re-educated on the classics (and some for the first time) while mixing a fabulous cocktail to celebrate the end. Talk about combining Core Interests I’ll be a Librarian Mixologist by the end of that elective.

What I didn’t like:

  • Below I’ve illustrated what Roadtrip Nation seems to understand the Roadmap of life looking like for most of us. Where we are neatly on the expressway already, in a lane, going 70 mph and we need to gradually decide if we would like to go North, South, or West. They show examples of people in six figure jobs as lawyers, business tycoons, folks with medical degrees, taking a chance on something zany like shoe painting or non-profit work. Which is cool and a hurdle in itself I’m sure. However…

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  • My experience is that most people, including the young folks that are taking these RV trips to conduct the interviews, are not in places that afford such welcomed shake ups. I’ve shown an image below that gives a perspective more relatable for myself, the people I know with Maters degrees working in retail, the waitresses and bartenders working two or three jobs to cover rent, the people with families that have moved three times in the last year for jobs. There are people with all the hustle described in the book with nowhere else to get support, no time, no energy, nothing else to risk. That was why I cried. Trying to find the first steps down a long path when the book is explaining how to cross the bridge. I’m sure I’ll get there, but probably not tomorrow.

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