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 full-length creative nonfiction book (with an ongoing narrative and two informational sidebars per chapter — read or listen to the first chapter for free here) will be 70,000 words. View the chapter summaries below (a Baker’s Dozen, of course).

Although addressing the most pressing issues of our country-at-a-crossroads and world-in-crisis, Round America with a Duck centers joy (including as an act of resistance), hope, and heroes and features a through-line of humor.

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 (maybe even a cartoon!) as part of a comprehensive multi-platform project.

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 chapter for free)

2. Kids Today ((goat farm/cheese dairy during birthing season, and a trend-alert re: “no contact” intergenerational clashes as well as emerging co-generational partnerships for progress)

3. The Art of Freedom (USA’s best public art program and overview of changing rules and realities nationally about who gets to occupy public space, when, where, how, and why — and who gets to decide that) 

4.  A New York Minute (climate-adaptation innovations and why fast change is needed, especially in post World War 2 suburbia; also a harrowing and hopeful peek at aging in America)

5. Horse Sense (horse sanctuary and rehabilitation farm, and a look at our growing mental health challenges in the USA today as well as positive solutions)

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.  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) 

8. 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)

9. Altars Where We Worship (Hare Krishna temple and llama rental facility; insight 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)

10. What Happens In Vegas (surprising sustainability leadership stories from this city of decadence, plus 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 (from Los Angeles to a lavender farm, and 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 (the changing borders of day and night as well as wrong and right while 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.