I hit the road, and I interview everyday folks I meet along the way. We talk about their lives and their outlooks on the world.
I observe the societies in which I find myself, the unique lessons each of them reveals, and I use these insights and vantage points to address the pressing social issues from their part of the world—whether China, East Africa, Cuba, or regions across the U.S.
Lastly, I use my travel not just to better understand humanity and social issues but to be of service along the way—computers to a Tanzania village school, connecting a father in Minneapolis to his sons in Uganda, school supplies to children in Cuba, and raising money to help Bill and his girlfriend get their lights turned back on.
Then, I share my results: on my website, YouTube channel, social media & weekly emails, in stories for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and in-person at my events.
It's part journalism, part humanitarianism.
- 2010-12: working and traveling for a year in China; documenting my experiences, observations, and insights for a book; and then presenting my work on a tour
- 2013-15: raising money for laptops and delivering them to a Tanzanian village school, where I taught adolescent students computers for six months before traveling the region and documenting my entire journey for another speaking tour upon returning home; since then, continuing to work with the nonprofit that supports the school.
- 2016-17: journeying the U.S. Southern and Pacific Northwest regions, interviewing the residents about their lives and locals issues, returning home to present the experiences and insights
- 2013-present: researching and authoring in-depth stories concerning issues of violence, cultural assimilation, and inner-city conditions in America
- 2018: spending two weeks in Cuba learning about their society (and what it can teach us in the U.S.) through interviews with residents, collecting school supplies in the U.S. and donating them to children in the neighborhood of my guest home in the city Trinidad, working with my guide to lead an event in Minneapolis introducing Cuba to Americans
And now I'm here to make another connection: with those of you interested in supporting this work.
Here are my planned projects for the next one to two years:
- Fall 2018: Inspired by last summer’s exploration of the Pacific Northwest, I will embark on an issue-specific project examining the sharp rise in homelessness along the West Coast. In cities like Portland and Seattle, I saw the sidewalks and parks populated with those who’ve checked out of the mainstream social sphere. This time, I will interview those residing in the sprawling homeless encampments from San Francisco down to San Diego, to discover their purpose, aim, and outlook, and to share their world with you—all with the hope of discovering causes and solutions to this crisis.
- Early 2019: My next regional exploration of the U.S. is something I call The Border. I plan to drive the length of the U.S.-Mexico border (where possible) and interview residents in this unique and changing part of the country. In cities with border crossings, this journey will include dives into Mexico to speak to residents there. Given the controversy about immigration across this border—not to mention the possibility of a wall being built—this project is timely. And a greater appreciation and understanding of the people of this region is needed.
- Ongoing: In between these two projects on the road, I’ll continue my local work in the inner-city, on Native American Indian Reservations, and other stories, interviews, and observations from the periphery.
One of my stories about the Minneapolis inner-city
Thus far, I’ve supported my work by selling copies of my book, publishing freelance articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and lately, making about $100 month in advertising on my YouTube channel. While I enjoy and am grateful to earn money these ways, they are not adequate to support myself—to say nothing of conducting my media projects. So, I’ve had to earn money from side jobs in education, sales, and marketing to support boot-strapped efforts to complete my projects.
Setting off on one of my bootstrapped efforts
The money raised here on Patreon from supporters like you will afford me gas, food, lodging, equipment, and most important, the time to conduct my projects.
Wherever, I go; whoever I speak to; whichever media I use: I venture out to open my eyes (and so to open yours), to familiarize myself with the many, many ways of life the world has to offer. Through empathy, we can best appreciate human life (including our own). And from here, we can best address the pressing issues of today.
Thank you for reading and for your help with these projects.