While air and train travel is down sharply nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 has been the summer of the road trip, with 97% of travel this year by car, according to the Automobile Association of America (AAA). That means more opportunities to explore the country and learn about the natural and historical wonders that make each state and city unique and interesting.
Knowing more about the places you drive through just got easier, thanks to Cal State Fullerton marketing alumnus and internationally acclaimed actor Kevin Costner ’78, who has co-founded HearHere, an iPhone app that shares engaging audio tidbits matched with the regions you’re traveling through.
In addition to Costner, the narrators include former Los Angeles Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who discusses points of interest, Native American background, local history and even culinary culture.
Costner’s desire to co-found HearHere has its roots in his personal interest in educational road trips.
“I am the guy that stops at the historical markers along the highway ‒ usually bringing moans from everyone in the car. But it was this continuing curiosity that I began to think HearHere could satisfy without anyone having to leave the car,” he says. “Why couldn’t we replicate every marker along the highway ‒ even expanding from the usual paragraph in bronze that always left me wanting more.”
“I am in love with history. I am in love with country. I am in love with all the edges, all the disappointments, all the progress ‒ all worth knowing. The truth will always be more interesting than the lie ‒ and HearHere gives us the opportunity to reveal it.”
To use HearHere locally, your best bet at the moment might be taking the I-5 or 101 on the West Coast, as the app currently canvases California, Oregon and Washington. The app is not free to use, however. There is a yearly subscription.
But plans are in the works to cover the nation from coast to coast, with 10,000 stories. There are also forthcoming plans to expand the app’s service to Android phones, too.