After great anticipation and preparation, we’ve finally set off on our journey to discover America and our generation. We took off yesterday from Lafayette, CA and, except for a brief stop at the original Black Bear Diner in Mt. Shasta, drove straight to Portland. There we were graciously welcomed into the home of the Heymann family. Some lively conversation and local adult beverages were enjoyed (Portland Brewery’s IPA and Henry Weinhard’s Pale Lager – both choice) over homemade burritos. We then retired to our quarters to review some of the pictures and video of our trek to San Francisco early in the week and from the day’s drive (video content coming soon – we promise!).
After a morning jaunt through the streets of Lake Oswego, we had breakfast and made our way out to Portland proper. We cruised to Pioneer Courthouse Square where Will and I broke off and formed one of the interview teams. We met a bunch of fascinating people including a musician, an aspiring English professor, an Ethiopian med school student, and a Children International volunteer whose contagious enthusiasm and love of high-fives has the Millennial USA team sponsoring a child in the Philippines!
One of my favorite interviews started with a young caretaker who was worried about how he and his peers were going to get by in the struggling economy. When we finished up, the elderly woman next to him asked us what exactly we were up to stuffing cameras and microphones in poor, unsuspecting strangers’ faces. We explained our hopes of unveiling anecdotes from the people of our generation who are so often lumped into faceless, nameless statistical reports and also learning a little more about the cultures and beliefs of people outside our relatively small social circles. The elderly woman didn’t seem to believe that our generation was as aware or engaged as her generation who took to the streets for civil rights and peace and she shamed us for being so docile. A similar sentiment was shared by the Children International volunteer as she said she hoped that our generation would be remembered “as the cognizant generation who sees what we are doing wrong, and decides to change it.”
More to come on Portland. We will be heading into the city today and then we are off to Seattle in the afternoon.