The road after graduation leads west – about 20,000 miles west – for seniors Ezra Siegel, Jack Naito, and Richard Swift.
The three have purchased tickets for a June 12 departure to Japan, where, despite the recent events, they will embark on “The Road is West,” a 193-day journey of more than 20,000 miles through 24 countries and three continents.
The idea began when Siegel and Naito were sophomores; Siegel wanted to travel extensively and Naito liked cars – so in CC fashion they devised their own interdisciplinary post-graduation plan: driving around the world. Naito mentioned the idea to Swift, and he was immediately in.
The trio will purchase a Subaru in Japan, then ferry it to Vladivostok, Russia, where they will spend approximately two weeks driving to China, and on then to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. There they will spend several weeks volunteering with The Tributary Fund, which was founded by Betsy Gaines Quammen ’90. “I heard her husband talk at CC during my junior year, and spoke later with her. She was enthusiastic about our trip and offered to help with some of the logistics in Mongolia.
After Betsy explained that CC students have worked with The Tributary Fund in the past, we decided that we couldn’t pass through Mongolia without stopping by to help out at TTF in whatever way we could,” Naito said.
After volunteering with The Tributary Fund in Mongolia, they will continue west across Russia and into Finland, where they will begin the European portion of the journey, ending up in Lisbon, where they will ship the car to New York City.
From there, they will drive across the U.S., stopping in Chicago (Siegel’s home), Fort Collins (Swift’s home), Colorado College (of course!), and Portland, Ore. (Naito’s home), before heading north through Canada to Anchorage, Alaska.
During the six-month journey, they hope to meet CC alumni and raise money for the AppreCCiate Scholarship, a scholarship founded and run by CC students that provides need-based student financial aid. The scholarship was started by Ari Stiller-Shulman ’06 and Robin Dunn ’06, who rode their bikes across the United States following graduation, raising money for and awareness of the scholarship.
Swift, Naito, and Siegel have landed a few corporate sponsorships, and are seeking more. One company, Flip, already has donated a pocket-size video camera for the trip.
The students are undertaking the trip for a variety of reasons, but all three agree that the time after graduation is the ideal time to embark on such an adventure. “It’s possibly the only time I’ll have to do something like this,” Naito says.
“I’m passionate about traveling,” says Siegel. “I want to see a variety of cultures and people. I’m interested in everything out there, and doubt I’ll stop traveling after this trip.”