Walking Through Physical and Digital Communities

While I have been pushing forward on The Decisions Project recently, I just took a little detour to produce a news piece about Laura Milkins and the ridiculously epic trip she is about to undertake.  On May 1st, Laura is going to leave Tucson and start walking to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It's 2,000 miles and her route is weirdly similar to the one I followed on the last stretch of Two Wheels to Nowhere, so she will understand the Coronado expedition better than anyone wants to.

Laura has spent a lot of time thinking about what community is and how it works—more time than most of the pundits who thoughtlessly bemoan decaying physical communities or espouse the salvation of their digital "replacements."  Laura's walk is partly a physical journey, but it is also a vehicle to explore community and alienation.  But "explore" may be too passive a verb for the project—Laura is also trying to create connections, a sense of community where one didn't exist before.  Part of this involves walking with strangers, listening to stories, and networking through local civic organizations, but it also involves a head-mounted webcam to bridge digital and corporeal communities.  Yes, it will be running 24/7.  Intrigued?  You should be.  Community, however you define it, is something we need to be talking about right now.  I've tried to indirectly examine it through my radio work, but Laura's project is going to take a very different approach to the issue.  The more voices we have discussing community, the better our conversation will be.

Download my interview with Laura here (4:50).

To learn more, check out her website.

Photo by Tom Willette