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I Am Forever: Streets Paved With Gold

On the third episode of “I Am Forever” Season 2, sponsored by FNH USA, Nick reflects on his early belief that the streets in America were paved with gold, which as a child immigrant he learned was a myth—but as an adult discovered its deeper truth. And the hosts discuss how American culture has moved away from an appreciation for hard work and social mobility to an obsession with entitlement and privileges.

Meanwhile, the backpackers split up to map their own routes to the campsite, putting their newly minted orienteering skills to the test. Their frustrating but educational treks lead them all to the night’s campsite, where they enjoy a breathtaking vista. We spoke to hosts Cam Edwards and Kristy Titus for some background. 

A1F Daily: Cam, you talk about how there are a lot of bad ideas currently in our society about benefits and how they can be paid for, obscuring the fact that good things must be earned. Is there something that you wish today’s students would read to build an understanding of how the American dream is supposed to work? 

Cam Edwards: Amazingly enough, there’s a great book that was just released a few weeks ago that discusses this very thing! It’s called Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Start a Family, and Other Manly Advice, by Jim Geraghty and some guy named Cam Edwards. In the book we talk about (among other things) our own stories of paying our dues, working the crummy jobs that we all have to take when we’re just starting out, and how we took advantage of the opportunities that those crummy jobs offered to work our way into jobs that we love 

Besides the aforementioned book (which makes a great Christmas present for anyone who needs this message delivered in a humorous and non-scolding way), my favorite tale of someone earning their way to success has to be Jesse Stuart’s Beyond Dark Hills. It’s the story of his journey in the 1920s from the one-room schoolhouses of eastern Kentucky to college and the beginning of his dual career as a farmer and writer. It’s filled with work in steel mills, cornfields and classrooms, skipping meals to pay tuition, and an ever-abiding love of land, labor and the fruits of each that’s been a huge influence on me. The book is available as an e-book, and can also be ordered online through the Jesse Stuart Foundation’s website

A1F: Kristy, how long did it take for it to feel natural to orient yourself with the compass and topo map? Did you find yourself running into features that weren’t marked? 

Kristy Titus: Reading the map itself was quite familiar for me with my experience in the backcountry. GPS units utilize an interface that looks like a printed topo map, so the challenge for me was incorporating a compass and having zero support from my handheld GPS unit. 

Maps are often inaccurate, so there can be lots of disparities between what a map says and what is out there in reality. When you are navigating across country or in the dark, it can really throw you for a loop to find a road that shouldn’t be there or expect to find something that is not really there. That’s why working with our cadre was so great—they were able to walk us through those scenarios so that we could continue our trek with the confidence of knowing we were applying the correct fundamentals to get us where we needed to be. 

The new episode is available on NRA News. To watch it in its entirety, go here!

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