Associate photo producer and photographer Tyler Metcalfe is joining the Millennial Trains Project, in which 25 bright young minds travel from Portland, Oregon, to New York, and share innovative ideas. Follow him on Instagram @tylermetcalfe as he rides across America documenting the project.
On August 6, 25 bright young minds, including five Fulbright Foreign Students, boarded a train headed east across the northern corridor of the United States—and I’m joining them for the ride.
Though the idea of traveling across America by train is nothing new, the Millennial Trains Project has taken this concept to a new level. In its second year, the project will gather a group of millennials to travel from Portland, Oregon, to New York City with the hope of spreading innovative ideas, learning from communities and industry professionals, and sharing creative, problem-solving opportunities with each other.
Founder Patrick Dowd (and National Geographic Traveler editor at large) started building the project two years ago after leading a similar function as a 2011 Fulbright Scholar in India. He then returned stateside and brought the concept home. Each participant in the project earned their spot on the train by promoting an innovative vision on the Millennial Trains Project’s crowd-funded website. Their ideas ranged from exploring the future of America’s food systems to demystifying the creative process to engaging in “tactical urbanism.” The first 20 participants to raise $5,000 were invited on board.
Throughout the journey, these young innovators will have multiple opportunities to expand upon their visions as the train makes stops in seven major U.S. cities. Millennials will make their way into different parts of each city, where they will then engage in various projects throughout the day, including meeting with community organizers, participating in group art projects, and exploring the future of America’s food systems. Each evening the group will gather back on the train, where they’ll share their experiences, learn from guest lecturers, and roll to the next destination.
Follow along as I embed myself on this journey and capture the daily lives of these participants. I’ll be posting images throughout the course of the trip on this blog, on my Instagram feed, and on the Instagram account for National Geographic Travel.