My name is Neal Moore. I’m a storyteller and a paddler, and I’d like to invite you on an expedition of epic proportions. We’re going to be taking this canoe up the Columbia River from here at the confluence of the Columbia River on the Pacific Ocean, right across America — 7,500 river and portage miles to New York City.
It’s going to take 2 years — we’ll be traversing 22 rivers and waterways, touching 22 states and stopping off in 100 story-stop towns. Although the best stories are going to be the stumble-upons – the characters we meet up with along the way. The characters that hold the power to transform how we look at the nation, how we see ourselves and our place in the world.
The expedition, it’s large in scope and it comes at a time when we’re struggling, when we’re searching, for our identity as Americans, for a path forward. The aim here — it’s not to be divisive but to be inclusive. To showcase and highlight and celebrate how our identity, ethnicity, and freedom play out across this entire land.
Also, to showcase that discovery. For you, for a worldwide audience, for really anybody whose interested in what makes the American experiment tick.
Of how we can wear our heart on our shirtsleeves — of how we can try. Small communities, big metropolises, indigenous Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asians, gays and straights, and the transgender community to boot.
Those who identify with all of the above, with none of the above, that hold the secret for what works for them, for their families, for their communities.
They’re not going to say it — they’re going to show it. And if we stop and pay attention, and observe, and feel, we can find the answers, we will see and we will know what has always made this country great.
Inclusiveness, and hopes and dreams and falling down and scraping our shins and getting back up and drying our tears — and putting our best foot forward. With the hope, with the certainty, that the future can most certainly be bright.
It’s a grandiose idea, that taking a canoe across the country, that thread by thread, that piece by piece, when we link it all up together — from here at the Pacific Ocean to the Continental Divide to the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes to the very feet of the Statue of Liberty — we will know, we will feel, and we will understand, the story of America.