Aussies host outback invasion

By Gene Williams

Roadtrip Nation, partnered with the Australian Tourism Board,
came to University Park Wednesday to help students figure out what
to do with their lives. The answer: travel down under.

Amid free barbecue, giveaway prizes and guests Eskimo Joe and a
giant koala, the event enticed students with some Australian
culture.

The groups are a providing travel expenses for a five-month trip
to Australia for a college student documentary.

Seeking to offer an alternative process of self-discovery for
misguided students questioning what to do with their lives, the
movement expands students’ horizons through travel. The coalition
has sent more than 200 students traveling the United States, Canada
and the U.K. with its nine motor homes.

“The thing I want to get out of this is to know a different
culture,” said Dana Fitzer, a fourth-year animal health science
student.

Roadtrip Nation’s mission statement is “send people on the road
who are interested in exploring the world outside their comfort
zone, talking with individuals who chose to define their own road
in life, and sharing their experiences with our generation.”

Three college graduates who didn’t know what to do with their
lives started the organization in 2001. Misguided and at a loss of
what to do their life, Mike Marriner, Nathan Gebhard and Brain
McAllister felt as if all options were just “noise” society was
telling them to do. “The noise was, and is, after us. We’re right
there with you. How did we fight it? We took a road trip,” said the
men on their Web site.

The searching youths packed their bags, hit the road and created
a documentary. Traveling by a 31-foot RV, they headed on a 3-month,
17,000-mile trip around the United States to find individuals who
had focused career paths.

Their three-month expedition featured some prestigious
interviews, including Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day
O’Connor.

“Students will gain inner confidence and find their own passion,
and also this experience will change their perspective on their
life,” said Brian McAllister, one of the founders.

PBS has hosted a series on the group’s adventures and plans to
follow with further shows as documentaries are made.

Aussies host outback invasion

Lucio Villa/Poly Post

Aussies host outback invasion

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