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Southern Experience #7: Stories (And Lessons) From A Memphis Retirement Home

Who better to share about the South than those who’ve been there the longest? On July 27 on my Southern Experience road trip, I arrived to Memphis, Tennessee.  The next day I visited a retirement home, where I met Barry, Frank, and Margaret.  They opened up to me about growing up in the South, about what it…
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Breaking The Taboo Of Mental Illness

Dear Brandon, I live with mental illness; specifically, bipolar disorder. I am a member of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and my chapter is NAMI Dakota county.   Dad and I share caregiving duties for my mom. She was diagnosed in 2011 with Alzheimer’s. I attend a support group for Caregivers of Loved Ones…
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Ayla: The Finale – The 13 Lessons She Learned Traveling The World

After Cuba, Ayla’s next destination was her starting point–her home Norway. In this, Ayla’s final post, she looks back on her three-month, three-continent, ten-country journey to look at the highlights, offers advice to those who wish to travel, and answers questions I ask below. Enjoy Ayla’s finale. She’s enjoyed sharing her global experiences and adventures…
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Mental Health


This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week Our modern world has seen the eradication of many diseases. We have the ability to stay connected with billions across the globe with computers that fit into our pockets. Creature comfort luxuries are limited only by our imagination. Yet for all the developments in the US and other wealthy nations,…
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Ayla Travels The World, Part 15: Cuba

It ends with an even 10.  Ayla’s last stop on her three-month world travel is country #10: Cuba.  A country unseen by practically all Americans, Norwegian Ayla had no such diplomatic difficulties. Below she shows us Americans, and the rest of the world, what she discovered on this island her final week of travel.  *** Last destination!…
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Southern Experience #6: Sights Along The Side Roads From Arkansas To Memphis

While engaging in conversations with the locals highlighted my Southern road trip, in between were the jaunts–the cruises from point A to B (or B to C to D to…). Gliding by the ever-changing terrain, you gain a shallow, though broad, experience of this region–the homes, the signs, the traffic, the lakes, the fields. It’s…
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Ayla Travels The World, Part 14: A Day In The Bahamas

Ayla said goodbye to the US and hello to country #9 on her three-month, three-continent journey. “Aruba, Jamaica, ooh I wanna take ya Bermuda, Bahamas, come on pretty mama.” Ayla spent only one day in this Caribbean country, but it was a picture-filled day with a story about meeting some fisherman who hauled in a lunker,…
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Cultural Integration Vs Segregation: How To Move Forward In America

Today we can connect with other cultures and people easier than ever–whether through media, by physically going to other places, or by simply living in diverse places. This exposure helps us learn about each others’ lifestyles, removing the fear of the unknown that can divide us, and encouraging understanding, growth, and peaceful living. Example: If…
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Ayla Travels The World, Part 13: Staying At The Florida Weed House

After Ayla’s dad flew back to Norway, Ayla was left alone for the third time on her three-month world excursion. And it didn’t take long on this last solo leg for Ayla to walk into an interesting situation… *** My dad left me at my cousin Kenneth’s house in St. Petersburg, Florida. He and his…
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Hot Springs Faces

Southern Experience #5: Conversations On Spirituality, Connectedness, And Segregation With The People Of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Bob the spiritual man shared about an unexplained sighting out in the woods. Tracy the Southern socialite talked about race, class, and her affection toward Bill Clinton. These are just two of several human beings of Hot Springs, Arkansas I spoke with about spirituality, connectectness, and racial segregation.  *** After a morning of diamond mining and an afternoon touring the…
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