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May 18, 2014 / galatianssixnine

Tour de States: A Cross-Country Adventure (and my own personal struggle)

It’s been five years.

Five. Years.

It’s finally here! The documentary I filmed/edited about a cross-country journey my friends and I took in 2009.

Why did it take me so long? Well, I’ll explain. However, I know most of you clicked the link to this blog strictly to watch the video. So I’ll embed it here at the top to save you from scrolling through a long post just to get to the good stuff.

After you watch, feel free to come on back here and read the blog post, if you’re still curious to read about my journey after the journey.



Brand New Shadows (feat. Eddie Kirkland)
Officer Flossie

So why did it take five years?

There’s a perfectly good explanation…for some of it. But honestly, there is little excuse.

I was in my senior year of college at the University of Florida. I graduated in Fall of ’09, so the summer of ’09 would turn out to be my last as a college student.

Naturally, this was in mind when my good friend, Skyler, invited me to film him riding his bicycle across the country. It seemed like a win-win to me- I get to see the country and build my resumé at the same time.

I remember there was a point where Skyler and I asked the advice of a professor/adviser of mine if he thought it was a good idea. He responded, “There will be no other time in your life when you get to do something like this, and the consequences of any mistakes will be minor. The older you get, the more there will be to risk.

We both agreed, and took that as a sign that we MUST do this. Soon we added four other friends, and things were looking even better.

So we spent about three months planning/preparing. We decided to use this as a way to raise money for Relay for Life, and spent a lot of that time raising money from friends and family and businesses. We planned and prepared as much as we knew how.

Unfortunately, we were dumb college kids who didn’t know much.

In spite of ourselves, we did it. The six of us traveled the southern United States, and finished a week earlier than planned. It absolutely was an amazing adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We went through so much together, and shared memories than no one can ever take away from us.

That said, by the end of the trip, none of us wanted to see each other for a while.

We spent 24/7 with each other for a month. Pro-tip: if you do that with someone, make sure you know them VERY well already. Otherwise, you’re going to see the worst brought out in them (and yourself), and you may not handle it very well. We had seen the best and worst of each other over that span, and by the end of the trip, our tempers were hot and a lot of drama occurred. It actually took a long time for a lot of us to look back on this trip fondly.

I know for me, personally, I didn’t even want to watch the video footage for about three months.

I eventually started uploading the footage to my computer and an external hard drive that fall. Unfortunately, I was also juggling my last semester of college, as well as a pretty rigorous shooting schedule for a dorm TV series I was in with TSF (my improv troupe). It took me all semester to upload 25+ hours of footage, as well as take notes, marking the good stuff.

This is when I got the first inkling that I may have taken on a much bigger project then I originally had thought.

I graduated and moved to Atlanta to work with the Gwinnett Braves. During my time with the G-Braves (February-September of 2010), I had absolutely no time to work on the video. During the baseball season, I would work 14-hour days during a homestand (some lasted at least 10 games long), and when the team was away, I still had to work normal work hours. Needless to say I was never in a mood to start climbing the enormous mountain of footage ahead of me.

After the paid internship with the G-Braves ended in September, I moved in with my folks in Marietta and was unemployed for three months. This is a time when, I will admit, I didn’t work on the documentary NEAR as much as I could/should have. Looking back, that was the time that I could have knocked out the majority of the work. There really is no excuse, other than I was getting more and more depressed that I couldn’t find a job.

I did get a good portion done…but the more I thought about how long it would take to complete this thing, the less I wanted to do it. Horrible, self-defeating attitudes like that should never enter anyone’s mind. I definitely have learned that the hard way, and don’t plan on letting it happen again.

Finally, in January, I got an internship with Fox Sports South and then in March, got a job with my church, who is my current employer. During that time I would edit on and off. A weekend here, a weekend there. I’d go through spurts of really productive weeks and unproductive months.

I went through my external hard drive breaking, three different people agreeing to help edit the intro and then reneging, moving four times, and switching editing software.

I hit a point where I just wanted to get it done…I stopped worrying about making it perfect and professional. It’s been a huge monkey on my back, and it’s one that grew over time. It was a project that was way outside of my skill when I agreed to start it, and one that, I now realize, no one should do completely on their own.

With all of that said, I would like to apologize to Chris, Kaylyn, Maxx, Nick, and especially Skyler, for taking so long. I also want to apologize to the rest of our friends and family, who gave money towards this video, and those who have waited so long to see our story come to life.

Thank you all for your patience and support through the years. I hope that, if anything, this brings back fond memories and a smile to your face. I know that for me, it brings closure. I can finally put this in my rear view mirror and look at the whole experience with complete fondness.


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