Roadtrip Nation

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Roadtrip Nation
Genre Travel
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 13
Production company(s) Roadtrip Productions
Distributor American Public Television
Original network Syndication
Original release 2004 – preset
External links

Roadtrip Nation is a production company based out of Costa Mesa, California that produces the eponymous public television documentary series Roadtrip Nation.


Roadtrip Nation began in 2001 as an idea that Mike, Nathan, Brian and Amanda, four friends fresh out of college, formed while they were still unsure about what to do with their lives. Initially, the scope of the plan was relatively small – climb aboard an old RV, paint it green, and traverse the country with the purpose of interviewing people who inspired them by living lives that centered on what was meaningful to them. Along the way, the four realized that the conversations they were having on the road could not remain within the confines of their own RV, but held relevancy that could be shared with a world that was losing the know-how of living lives that pulse on personal passion rather than someone else’s expectations.

The original Roadtrip was a learning process for the whole team. With no experience driving an RV or handling a video camera (let alone editing footage for a documentary) and no contacts for setting up interviews, the friends relied on perseverance, dedication to making the road-trip work, and their genuine belief in wanting to find their own road in life in order for the trip to be successful. And the team did discover that they could have a life built on what they loved – through the interviews and the Roadtrip process, Amanda found her path was to be a teacher, while Mike, Nate and Brian discovered a passion for sharing their experience from the road.

The three decided they would take a road-trip across the country and talk to dozens of people who defined their own paths in life. After a bit of research, they compiled a list of inspiring individuals they wanted to interview and began cold calling. As expected, most people rejected them, but there were plenty that agreed to share their stories. They booked a handful of interviews, bought an old RV, painted it green and began mapping their route.

During their three-month journey, they met with a wide range of diverse and eclectic individuals–from winemaker Robert Mondavi to Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; from Saturday Night Live Director Beth McCarthy Miller to a lobsterman on the coast of Maine. Each interviewee had an inspiring story to tell and shared how they paved the road to self-fulfillment and success. With over 15,000 miles logged on the old RV, the group returned home with inspiring stories of their own.

From there, Roadtrip Nation grew, first with the printing of a book and the making of a film about the original Roadtrip, called The Open Road. The founders wanted to prove that anyone could do what they did – set up interviews, hit the open road, and share that experience, so they sent another team across the country in their signature big green RV. Continuing with the mission of constantly wanting to spread the Movement to as many people as possible, soon three Green RV’s were making their way across the country each summer, and then across other countries. Still wanting to affect more people, Roadtrip Nation launched Independent Roadtrips, opening up the door to anyone being able go on a D.I.Y. Roadtrip.

The continuing charge of Roadtrip Nation is to get people to participate in the Movement by empowering them to find what they love, contacting people that live a life that inspires them, gather a team to interview those people in order to learn from their stories, and to share that experience with others.[1]


The hub for the Roadtrip Nation movement is, an informational and community-building Web site where students who have hit the road can create their own Web pages within the Roadtrip Nation community; there, they can upload their daily blogs, interview transcriptions, travel photos and road trip coordinates.[edit]

In the spring of 2008 Roadtrip Nation started a non-profit educational organization,, to bring resources, insights, and inspiration from the road to middle school, high school and college students across the country. develops curriculum and resources for students.

Their curriculum, The Roadtrip Nation Experience, is a 12-lesson plan based on both the theoretical and practical components of learning.[2] With this program, the four walls of the classic education mold are lifted and students are given the opportunity to relate what they are learning in the classroom with their opportunities for the future. Students, called Roadtrip Scholars, gain invaluable exposure to the real world as well as the 21st-century skills and the necessary chance to be introspective to navigate their own road in life, all while making connections to what is already being taught in the classroom. Teachers are given a teaching experience that creates a lasting relationship between them and their students.

With multimedia resources, students are connected to the vast Roadtrip Nation Interview Archive, which has been continually built since 2001 by Roadtrippers and includes interviews from all types of Leaders from all over the world. Roadtrip Scholars are also engaged with an interactive workbook, online exercises and activities.

Public television[edit]

In 2004, the first season of Roadtrip Nation aired on PBS.[3] Destination Unknown followed three students from New Jersey driving along the West Coast. Among the interviews featured are Aspen Skiing Company CEO Pat O'Donnell, and Levi Strauss & Co. CEO Phil Marineau. By the end of 2005, more than 200 PBS stations had picked up the series. The show is currently in its 13th season.[4]

Feature-length documentaries[edit]

  • The Open Road
  • Why Not Us?


Both Roadtrip Nation and use music to enhance the Roadtrip experience. Their music selection is based upon supporting indie musicians, and draw from an eclectic mix of genres in order to set the best tone for each episode of the series. Roadtrip Nation is dedicated to supporting independent musicians, who are creating lives based on doing what they love.

There have been over 200 musicians featured in the numerous seasons of Roadtrip Nation, and the talent spans the globe; musicians contributing to the soundtracks come from a variety of countries, including England, Canada, Greenland, Sweden, and China.

Roadtrip Nation launched Listen on their website, where you can check out music from the past seasons of Roadtrip Nation, hear their soundtracks, and find out more about the musicians at their artist profiles.


Roadtrip Nation has also released four companion books, including Roadmap: The Get-it-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do With Your Life, which made The New York Times' Best Sellers List in May 2015.[5]


  1. ^ "About | Roadtrip Nation". Retrieved 2015-12-16. 
  2. ^ "Putting alternative school students on the road to careers". EdSource. Retrieved 2016-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Roadtrip Nation (TV Series 2004– )". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-12-18. 
  4. ^ ""Roadtrip Nation" IMDB page". 
  5. ^ "Best Sellers - The New York Times". Retrieved 2015-12-16. 

External links[edit]