Take a trip with This American Journey

24 Feb

The first thing you need to know when planning a trip? Where the best diners are. And that is exactly how the route for the cross country trek at the center of Paul Blackthorne’s This American Journey begins. Which tells me that I picked the right film to watch.

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But that is the last simple moment of the film- everything after… digs deeper.

blackthorne2-300x195The film looks to answer the question of what is great about America. Blackthorne and his project partner, Mister Basquali, traveled the country to speak with people and hear their thoughts on this country. Blackthorne and Basquali are both foreigners who came to the U.S. in their younger years and dreamed of moving to America. Both achieved their dream only to almost immediately have the country fall into economic crisis, wars, and an overwhelming feeling of blah within the people.

basqualiBut through their travels and speaking to people, eyes and hearts are opened and a love for America is reborn.

I was born in California. Have traveled some of the world- not nearly as much as I wish- and I have always loved this country, though there are times when I don’t like it so much. So to sit and watch a film that brings out that love for this country… it warms the heart.

Some of those they speak to talk about politics, some speak about the wealthy who lost in the downturn, others talk about living (and what that means), but everyone talks from the heart. The gentleman, Kevin, who teaches in the Appalachians struck me the most- stating that you can be anything.

That’s the message of America to me.

A favorite question- what makes you happy?- repeats throughout. I had to sit and think about this question for myself. What makes me happy? I love what I do- both here at NerdLush, sharing my love of nerdy things, and in my real life (currently providing mental health care within a correctional institution). I love spending time with my friends and family. I love that I have the freedom to be whatever or whoever I want to be- that I could pursue degrees in a field and specialize with a population so many turn their backs on. No one gets to tell me I can’t do it. That makes me happy.


One thing I adore about this film is that it does look at some of the recent history of this country. In particular, the civil rights movement and how it changed this country. From people who were there. I graduated high school and attended college in this country- in my educational career, I never had a history class that taught anything that occurred after the turn of the twentieth century- thank goodness I came from a family that believes in educational vacations and learning in travels, and the importance of teaching important history and cultural events.

A terrifying moment occurred in Memphis, when they stopped to speak with a group who claimed not to be racist but were openly carrying guns and proclaiming that they’d shoot a black man if one came up to their kids. Followed immediately by another man who, in a perfect southern twang, declared that “people are people” and that he helped anyone who needed help, in any way that he could. And in one moment, faith in my country is restored.

A powerful and simple film, well worth your time. Who is up for a road trip?

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