Over the course of the past week, Project Highway HabitUS has covered a lot of ground. We flew from NYC to San Luis Obispo, California to work with the dancers at Cal Poly SLO only to return three days later, pack up the van, and set off for Kentucky.
Our journey started off just the way we had hoped. Our newly acquired rainbow-colored mascot, Toby, acted as the perfect conversation starter between ourselves and John, a NJ Transit employee. Perplexed by our heavy luggage & furry friend, John wondered if we were a traveling puppet show, and a dialogue was born. He shared his passions, hobbies, family life, and more without us even having to pry. As we approached our stop, we revealed the aim and scope of our project, subsequently asking him what piece of advice he would like to share with the world? “Just keep rolling!” he said.
The van was waiting for us at her home in New Jersey, and we hit the open road. After what seemed like an endless stretch of I-80 through Pennsylvania, we made it to a rest stop in Ohio. As we attended to a mysterious rattling noise atop our van, a nicely dressed older lady approached asking if we’d like two ice-cold Coca-Colas. While “don’t take candy from strangers” is something you learn at a young age, and an appropriate mantra for this time of year, she seemed harmless and we must have looked like we could use a beverage. After accepting the Cokes, she asked where we were headed. Bewildered by our response of, “Kentucky,” she began to drive away, but not before emphatically calling out, “Support women. AND DON’T TAKE ANY BULLSHIT.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Two women on the open road in a 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia is a strange sight. The fact that we are dancers conducting artistic, yet sociological, research is even stranger. The rarity of this sight will hopefully continue to gift us with similar fruitful interactions as we progress on our grand adventure around the country!
Thankfully, we made it to Kentucky safe and sound, and were immediately struck by its unique position as an intersection of the North and South. Depending on who you are speaking to, and where they originate from, Kentucky can be viewed as belonging geographically to one region, and culturally to another. Sitting at a crossroads of America leads to a variety of perspectives and stories that we cannot wait to share with you.
We’ve begun collecting anecdotes from the students we are working with, and folks we come across, already understanding how profound these gems will be! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and get a daily dose of what your fellow compatriots would like to share with you.
Got a question you want us to ask? See our list of questions we are asking generated from friends, family, and the dancers we are working with nationwide.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the company to support Project Highway HabitUS! Your contribution will go towards the outreach we are doing along the way, and the research component of what will culminate in an evening-length work aimed at representing the fabric of America.