This past summer, we decided to take the plunge on something that we’ve both wanted to do for years – travel as much of the world as we can before our bank accounts run out. On January 3rd we set out for our first international destination: Auckland, New Zealand. After that, we plan on traveling through Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, India….and continuing west until we make it back to The Big Apple. It’s going to be an eye-opening, exhilarating, exhausting experience, and we want to capture it all on film.
People our age are often told we’re part of the “global” generation. Having lived through the dawn of the internet and the rise of social media, we have the unique experience of remembering the world before the World Wide Web, while also acting as the facilitators of it’s meteoric ascendancy. 24000Miles is a multi-media art project designed to capture a portrait of our generation: are we connected in more ways than we think? Everywhere we go, we hope to meet people who will openly and honestly answer a series of questions ranging from the informational (What was your favorite children’s book?) to the more philosophical (Can you picture the world in 50 years? Can you use seven words to describe it?). Mark Twain once wrote: “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness… Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Using writing, photography, film, and ultimately performance we hope to discover the truth of that theory over the course of 24000Miles.
Ele Bernstein ~ I’ve always been envious of sponges. Specifically how they absorb their surroundings, and in turn become soaked through with their experience; in this way, they are much like children. When I was eight, on a trip to New York City, my father took me to see Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. This is when live theater came into my life, and let’s just say, I’ve never felt so full. Since that night, my obsession with theater has taken many forms: it began in a musical capacity, shifted into a study of the human condition as an actor, and has taught me that soaring joy and artistic fulfillment is always achievable, even in the midst of pain and rejection. In short, it has shaped my experience as a child, as an adult and most importantly as a human. So I’ve completed a B.F.A. in Music and Theater Performance at Tulane University, I’ve spent 3 years in the New York City job market, and now it is time for a big leap. A leap towards that thing I’ve always been preoccupied with: theater. It has always been a forum that shapes a moment—cultivates it—not just for me, but for anyone who chooses to be present for it. This knowledge is what I want to spend my life exploring: directing or molding experiences for people, showing them what I see when I step into a room filled with lighting instruments, dressing rooms and an orchestra pit. All stories start somewhere, and this one starts with 24000Miles.
Phoebe Pickering ~ I was one of those little kids who always had her nose stuck in a book – under my covers after lights out, propped up behind my textbook in class, huddled in the corner during family events while my mother shot me exasperated looks. I was obsessed with stories, the more romantic the better – I loved how you could travel across the world through space and time without leaving your bed. I guess I’m both institutionally lazy and incurably adventurous (I am large, I contain multitudes). After graduating Tufts University with a BA in English Lit, I was one of the (dwindling) few who landed a great editorial job at a Big Six publisher. That job taught me a lot about office politics and working in what some people would call the “real world,” but it also showed me a side of human nature that was incredibly inspiring: every day I would read proposals from people who were out in the world taking life by the horns, living their dreams, refusing to spend the majority of their hours on this earth stuck behind a computer screen. So I decided to join them. While Ele and I film, photograph, and blog for 24000Miles, I will also be personally writing every day, hoping to capture some small, unexplored fragment of this human experience in my own voice.