March 20, 2023 – August 31, 2023

Here’s the current confirmed route (you can read how the mileage breaks down on the FAQ page) of the Round America with a Duck rubber-hits-the-road research. Yes, it looks like a duck in flight. No, this was not intentional. (Trust the journey, amirite?)

The resulting interactive book will include physical, emotional and spiritual inspiration for embarking on your own journey, wherever it is your heart is calling you to go. This will be punctuated by concrete examples from the Round America with a Duck journey.

In addition to extensive social media before, during and after the experiential research journey, there is the potential for other assets such as a children’s book, street photography exhibit, and more as part of a comprehensive multi-platform project. Here is a brief overview of the route:

1. Tiny House, Big Idea (lessons learned — and losing my dignity — during a pilot test on a farm in the newest city in the USA; you can read or listen to this funny and informative article for free)

2. Radical Non-Judgment (my Higher Power threw a whole slew of challenges — and gifts — at me right from the start of my five-month cross-country journey on this repurposed tobacco farm, now a goat farm, in rural North Carolina)

3. The Art of Freedom (USA’s best public art program in Philadelphia, and road-tested realities via bike, bus and train about who gets to occupy public space where, when, how, and why — and who gets to decide that. All to the theme song of Rocky, of course)

4. 30 Hours in Seat 2A (bus travel observations, stories and tips after spending 30 hours on three buses across six states over two days and a night. Can you say the Wes Anderson TikTok trend at 2:23 a.m. in Indianapolis? I can.)

5. Where Do You Draw the Line? (now can you say standards? Look, I have a very low bar for what I need from others. I can rock a lot of situations. But one of my planned farm workstays hit rock bottom and I walked within 20 minutes. So let’s take a hot minute to redefine our minimal expectations for the value of our work, time and spirit in concert with what the WWOOF organization expects from its hosts as fair exchange for 20-30 hours of your free labor a week. If you are thinking of WWOOFing, fast-forward to this chapter. It will serve as an amalgam of tips from WWOOF as well as from the lived and learned experiences of myself and other WWOOFers from around the world. (Fun fact: I literally died and went to heaven at the workstay where I pivoted after this disaster — see number 7 below. So, yes, a reminder: trust the journey.)

6. The Mother Road (historic Route 66, a deadly tornado’s anniversary, a living ghost town, and the road ahead when facing and healing from past and contemporary triple-bottom-line sustainability impacts) 

7. Heaven on Earth (my route veered from the one pictured to include Kansas — and thank God it did! I’m currently there and it’s Heaven on Earth! I’m at an alpaca farm and eco-spirituality center run by the Dominican Sisters of Peace!)

8.  Time Makes You Bolder (the multiple “mountains” advocates climb to create monumental change, the changing face of traditional homesteading, plus the potential of “miracle crops” such as hemp)

9. Salt of the Earth (the Great Salt Lake climate crisis and its potential impact as a harbinger of horrors — and hope — elsewhere, plus a call to “re-train” ourselves while traveling via one of America’s best train routes)

10. Altars Where We Worship (Hare Krishna temple and llama rental facility; nsight into a wide range of what’s currently revered in our society and how we can use our natural herd-mentality as humans for good)

11. What Happens In Vegas (surprising sustainability leadership stories from this city of decadence)

12. “But It’s a Dry Heat” (the Mojave Desert in August? What was I thinking? Oh, yeah — the chance to experience a mind-blowing off-the-grid desert oasis and a reminder that there are many ways to live a life both individually and collectively as a species) 

11. La-La Land (arriving at a National Historic transit station in Los Angeles, of all places, and ending my farm workstays replanting a forest after wildfires on a lavender farm. Plus, don’t miss a shocking revelation about an aspirational obituary and how to reframe the stories we tell ourselves about our dire — and dear– reality) 

12.  Sunset and Mourning (crossing the American Southwest, with illuminating public comment in New Orleans the exact week of the Hurricane Katrina anniversary)

13. Hope Is The Thing with Feathers (summary of hopeful finds from the journey; a return visit to the Tiny House to see how it, I, the country, and world have changed one year later; resources others may find helpful — maybe even life-changing or possibly world-changing — moving forward)

*refers to my travel companions, Disco Duck and his little currently-unnamed side duck, but also the Emily Dickinson line: Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. I included that line at the very beginning of my book Food for My Daughters, and I seem to keep going back to it for a way forward in this country-at-a-crossroads and world-in-crisis.