A Morgan 3-wheeler heading down the highway at dusk

Journeys: Life is a Road Trip

Photo by Will Freeman

Journeys: Life is a Road Trip

A First-Year Tutorial offered fall 2021, taught by Will Freeman, associate professor of physical education

In his seminal book about self-discovery, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig wrote, “It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.” It is the process of our journey where we learn about the world and our place in it. You will learn in this tutorial that every life journey matters as we all travel along the path from knowledge to wisdom. What kind of journey have you been on? Your parents? Their parents? How have those journeys helped to shape you? How can you take control of your own journey? We will explore Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey and then examine how writers like Kerouac, Pirsig, Steinbeck, Strayed, and Least Heat-Moon have written of their own life journeys. We will also examine how Hollywood has used “the journey” as a resonating theme. Ultimately, this tutorial is about your life journey: self-growth, self-realization, and self-acceptance. Life truly is a road trip!

Will Freeman sitting on a 3-wheel vehicle at dusk

Why I'm Teaching This Topic

The road is a powerful classroom. Why are we enthralled by the romance of the road? What is the difference between traveler and tourist? What do we learn and how do we grow from the road trip? This tutorial will look at “the road” as escape, as teacher, and as healer. We will explore Joseph Campbell’s model of the Hero’s Journey and examine how many have written of their own journeys on the road.  We will examine how technology has changed the classic road trip and how Hollywood has used “the journey” as a successful theme for many films. Most of all, you will examine your own life journey thus far and look at what might be in the future.

– Will Freeman

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