30 Days on Route 30: A Search for Nostalgia on America's Main Street


Author/Creator ORCID



Type of Work


University of Baltimore. School of Communications Design


University of Baltimore. Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Design

Citation of Original Publication


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The road trip continues to be a central idea in the American collective psyche, conjuring emotions like "freedom" and "joyous abandon." Multiple scholars have argued that the road trip’s appeal is in its blend of a number of different concepts like nostalgia and Americana; in art, literature, and cinema, the road trip awakens in viewers and readers the desire to reclaim a past that may or may not have truly existed. In the summer of 2015, I set out on a project to document a 30-day road trip on old US Route 30 from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Astoria, Oregon, in which I sought to explore the availability of nostalgia and Americana through images, conversations, and real-world experiences. Using a blend of videography, photography, social media, and narration, I recounted my experience on one of America’s oldest and most-forgotten highways. As I argue in this paper, I learned that nostalgia and Americana are largely what we make of it and not simply concepts to be “discovered” on an open road. The true appeal of the road trip is in what we learn about ourselves as the road moves beneath our feet.