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For over a year, I’ve been traveling solo in my 12  foot solar conversion van meeting hundreds of leaders in small rural towns throughout America striving to bring their towns back to life. It’s been inspiring, humbling and, at times, disconcerting. Below are some of the stories I’ve heard, things I’ve witnessed and thoughts I’ve had.

When Judgements Come to Town

When Judgements Come to Town

It’s easier to share stories about things that happened to me along the road. But the stories about my own judgments and the impact they had on others are far more vulnerable to tell.  And yet, that’s what this trip is about. I purposely put myself into the unknown. I want to get out of my comfort zone of silo life with soundbite dictates of how to see and interact in the world. I want to challenge myself to face…

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GOING RURAL: A photographic essay (in process)

GOING RURAL: A photographic essay (in process)

IT’S POP-UP TIME!!! 🙂 Throughout this month – October – I’m hanging a different mini-show (each week) of photographs from my last chapter of GOING RURAL. WHERE: Cafe Destino. 1339 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97212. Stop by and check it out. Oh, and I’ll be having a talk at the end of the month! MORE SOON

A ghost town comes back to life: Lead, South Dakota

A ghost town comes back to life: Lead, South Dakota

Have you ever thought about what it would be like if your town shut down?  What would you do if 90% of the jobs, including yours, went away? Those of us living in cities rarely need to think about this. If we did, most of us would say, “That’s a no brainer. I’d move somewhere else and get another job!” If you’re from small towns, though, these questions are all too familiar. I continue to be struck by the number…

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Mississippi River Headwater Bliss

Mississippi River Headwater Bliss

Just a few weeks or so ago, lying in my cozy “gifted” hotel room overlooking a most spectacular bay, I realized I didn’t have a next destination.  (In case you’ve missed the details of this project, I never choose where to go. I always have others choose based on the people and places they believe I need to meet.) I sent out a Facebook request. “Where should I go next?” I asked. “I’m in Maine headed to Portland, Oregon.” People…

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Iowa, Oh Iowa!

Iowa, Oh Iowa!

Have you ever read any of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s work on the stages of death and dying? If not, her basic premise is that there are five stages of the grief cycle: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It was here, in Iowa, after driving over 33,000 miles across America, where I saw for the first time how her work ties into many struggling, dying and revitalizing towns. —– I have to admit, unlike every other  other place I visited, I got…

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Detroit Part 3: Thank You!

Detroit Part 3: Thank You!

To be quite honest… if I had a partner I would move to Detroit.    I LOVE almost EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT CITY! Please don’t be misled. There are dark sides, for sure. The teddy bears that hang from poles where someone was killed, the turf wars between two artists (this one really saddened me), and the neighborhoods where people still live in boarded up houses — these are all part of Detroit.  I say this to assure you that I…

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Detroit Part 2: My Five Favs!

Detroit Part 2: My Five Favs!

I was supposed to stay in Detroit for two days. I ended up staying almost six. If I could have stayed longer I would have! Sadly though, I had a set due-date in Portland and still had many places to go.  There are so many things to say about Detroit. I could write an entire book on the city and still not make a dent in the story of Detroit’s determination not to die.  For now, here are my five…

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Detroit Part 1: Ignorance and Revival

Detroit Part 1: Ignorance and Revival

Today I am finally in Detroit. It’s hard to believe I was in nature’s heaven just six days ago. I’ve driven over 2,000 miles in the last few days, from Labrador, Canada to here. Even more than the miles though, is the scope of humanity I’ve experienced along the way. I felt humbled by the time I spent in poverty stricken villages with less than two hundred people. I found myself dashing as quickly possible to escape the tourist-packed citadel…

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