Three Girls, an RV, and a Dream
January 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Have you ever wondered how you can make a difference with a simple random act of kindness? Have you felt that no one will notice or that your small step isn’t big enough for this often kindness deficient world?
Three young women with big hearts and an even bigger dream challenged those questions when they embarked on a nine-week road trip around the United States in an RV. Natalie Vartanian, Sally Hope and Kathryn Lejeune make up Girls Gone Moto, a web TV show and pursuit of happiness project.
Vartanian and Hope, both certified life coaches, have a vision of fulfilling their lives and the lives around them. Lejeune is the artistic soul who joined them on the journey, filming their weakest and most intimate moments.
These three women traveled together with a simple mission: to inspire people to pursue happiness, dream, and take action.
This heartwarming journey was inspired by a five-week RV trip that Hope and Vartanian took together around the western United States.
“It was during that first RV trip where Girls Gone Moto was born,” Vartanian said. “We saw how inspired people were from hearing our story and dreaming of doing something like that for themselves.”
Prior to the trip, the girls raised about $7,000 through a fundraising campaign. These funds covered expenses like gas, lodging fees for the RV and supplies that supported their volunteering efforts. Vartanian said she was overwhelmed by the support of the community that reached out to their mission.
Their journey lead them from their homes in Southern California to the North Carolina coast. In Episode 4, the girls danced on the Atlantic Ocean shore and celebrated a victory so sweet I could almost feel the wind in my hair and the sand between my toes.
Their ultimate goal for the journey was to film a pilot web TV series and pitch the material to networks. Their desire to join the thousands in television was not to gain fame or to fill their pockets, but to contribute in a positive way in which they inspire people to follow their dreams and give back to their communities.
The random acts of kindness took little effort but received huge results. A few of these simple gestures included, leaving notes on people’s windshields, paying someone’s toll, putting money in expired meters, donating books and crayons to a hospital, picking up trash and leaving a purchased snack in a vending machine for the next person.
Many of the thoughtful gestures could have a chain of results for the recipient, such as leaving a sympathy card and a free month of coaching for a recent widow or handing someone the last $20 they need to feed their family. Large or small, this kind of behavior offers the recipient an amazing and unexpected gift, one they can not only reflect on, but also give to someone else in return.
“Generally, people responded with disbelief,” Vatanian said. “That was a real wake up call for us, that random acts of kindness are so rare in our society that people question your motives when you are simply trying to do something nice for them; it was kind of sad to see that.”
This reality only led the girls to feeling a greater importance to give and have people pay it forward to create a ripple effect in our world.
Vartanian said her favorite random act of kindness was giving a man gas money at a station in Utah. They later received an email from the man’s daughter, expressing her gratitude for their compassion. This small attempt to reach out to him truly made his day.
But, these road angels didn’t stop at random acts of kindness. They volunteered with a variety of organizations, including various animal shelters, homeless shelters and after school programs for children.
Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t entirely smooth sailing. The RV they rented from a friend caused a plethora of trouble that none of them had expected. The vehicle they dubbed “Bess” put up quite a fight, giving her first punch 36 hours into their trip. The troubles ranged from flat tires to dead batteries to water leaks. Overall, they put about $2,000 into an RV that didn’t belong to them. Ouch.
Their cost of gas was outrageous and inspired me to never grumble at the pump again. They spent about $3,000 on gas in nine weeks. They drove 7,300 miles and got about eight miles to the gallon. That’s an average of about $0.41 a mile.
These kinds of setbacks could discourage anyone. I can easily picture myself flooding the RV with dismay and tears.
“There were several moments when we felt discouraged and wanted to turn the RV around and go home,” Vartanian said. “We had so many mechanical issues come up that first day and a half that we wanted to just throw in the towel.”
They overcame those hurdles by remembering the vision and why it was important to them, she said. They started seeing how those bumps in the road were small in comparison to the big picture of the journey.
Despite all the obstacles they had to overcome, all three girls agreed it was an incredible, life changing, challenging whirlwind of a first season of Girls Gone Moto.
The girls agreed their greatest lessons learned were patience and learning how to go with the flow. They rarely had an idea of what the next week would entail, which led them on a truly unforgettable adventure.
During Episode 6, Hope expressed her gratitude toward the lessons she had embraced throughout the trip.
“I felt really grateful that we are able to go around to different states and meet different people and hear all their stories,” she said. “Everyone has a unique story, and it’s so incredible to hear them.”
So what’s next for Girls Gone Moto? Vartanian says their current plan is to focus on pitching their concept to networks. Since driving an R.V. isn’t very cost efficient, the girls may decide to head to Coast Rica and turn Girls Gone Moto into a global effort.
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