All posts tagged: front page

Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley

In my teens I read Of Mice and Men, which led me to Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row. It was in Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, though, that the seed of my interest in America took root. Some thirty years later that compulsion has matured. Now, I intend to venture onto the American byways crossing Nebraska, into its communities and into conversational engagement with its people, my statewide neighbors.

The Road

I shot the video below with my phone at various stages en route to and from Lincoln. I was due there for a conversation and innovation workshop with Nebraska Appleseed and looking forward to the journey. That short route is serene and lovely. It got me wondering about the 830 mile trip coming up and I wanted to capture a sense of that. Watch the video and see if you recognize the experience for yourself (though perhaps not at x2 speed!)


You can see from my route that one of the towns I look forward to visiting is Loomis. As noted on this county website, BusinessWeek Magazine picked this town of 382 people in 2006 as “one of the top 25 places in the country to raise a child.” With some friends here in Omaha that hail from Phelps county, I eagerly anticipate a delightful and intriguing time in this “undiscovered gem.”

Why am I doing this?

Why am I doing this? I’ve been asked this a lot over the last few weeks. It is a great question with many answers, but let me share just a few. Conversation sustains vibrant communities. My work with Habitat for Humanity and Justice for our Neighbors has shown me that community is not an experience that is felt from the outside, but must arise and be sensed from within. Even to begin to talk of Nebraskan communities requires listening and sharing in amongst those physical spaces and with their people. As well as exploring communities, this project adventures into Nebraskan culture. The cultural anthropologist, Edward T. Hall, asserted that, “Culture hides more than it reveals,” and, moreover, “It hides most effectively from its own participants.” As an outsider – a British expat and new American citizen – to learn about the stories that shape our sense of who we are necessitates being with Nebraskans in their towns. “… purely vagabond.” The question inherently includes consideration of why drive an RV on this long, meandering route? …


Contribute and Claim Your Perk! In order to raise funds for this project and to match the grant awarded by Humanities Nebraska, I am crowdfunding on IndieGoGo here. To recognize and thank people for their crowdfunding support they are entitled to a perk. One of those perks is a limited edition t-shirt, imaginatively modeled by me here. Don’t worry, the real ones will be of great quality and will look marvelous, as will you! There are only 100 of these on offer, so claim yours now, here. Other contribution perks include: Conversation Collectors: Three pocket-sized, kraft brown Moleskin cahier journals, hand stamped with the project’s eye-catching logo Eye Spy Postcard Pack: A set of 10 postcards with photographic images taken during the project. Expect people, places and things and to be surprised Road Funk Annihilator: Don’t act like you don’t know what I mean when I talk about road funk. Get your pine-scented hanging car air freshener for the summer Mile Marker: On this 830 mile journey what mile do you want to mark? You …

Speeding up with Humanities Nebraska

Grant received from Humanities Nebraska Over a period of some months I had spoken about this idea to Chris Sommerich at Humanities Nebraska. Chris was enthusiastic and encouraging so, with the support of Omaha Creative Institute who are sponsoring this endeavor, a grant application was submitted. It was with delight that in April Humanities Nebraska awarded a grant of $8,000!