As footage of awesome interview after awesome interview keeps piling up, I’m realizing just how crazy this project is.
Going into it, I tried not to make any concrete plans about what the final product would look like, hoping to keep my mind open so the project could evolve with the new information I was taking in. But with such a vague starting point, my interests feel like they’re evolving in a million directions. Soon we hope to publish a video that tells the stories of activists in Pittsburg, Richmond, Portland, and Vancouver (WA) fighting tar sands shipment in their own backyards. This has brought up some really important questions about how central Keystone XL should be to the project we’re working on when so much of the fight going on is happening in local communities.
Here in Moscow, Idaho, organizers are fighting the shipment of industrial machines being sent up to mine tar sands in Alberta, and some have expressed annoyance that resistance to KXL seems to overshadow their local efforts. One of the problems we keep running into is that we’re much more likely to end up connecting with white environmentalists than with indigenous people or people of color who are at the root of these efforts. We’ve decided to stick around Moscow a couple more days to get in touch with members of the Nez Perce tribe who have blocked megaloads on highway 12.
But all of this has really underscored that in order to get a more complete story about what is happening, we can’t just focus on KXL, and we also can’t just breeze through a town. The stories we have gotten are amazing, and I can’t wait to share them, but I hope at some point I can commit to a longer stay to get a deeper understanding of the people working on these projects.
Right now we’re couchsurfing with some awesome folks who keep feeding us delicious food and giving us full reign over their living room. Yesterday I sat down for what ended up being a really personal conversation with one of these new strangers. One of the amazing things about traveling for me is that I can feel myself becoming more of the person I want to be as I, out of necessity, lower my walls and open up. She and I talked about the tensions in previous relationships, the tensions we feel in our gender roles, the constraints of monogamy. For her our conversation brought up unspoken conflict she has with her father that she hasn’t been able to work through.
The bonds that are created through travel and the trust necessary to host a stranger in your home are unique. Cutting through all the bullshit that fills so much of our attention is hard, and requires a vulnerability that many of us hide from. Thoughts from the road.
Also! Check out our first preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tgjf1lU5Cs