Our Inspiration

Steph and her traveling pals, Tex and Weston
The idea for Beth and I to bop around the country was not invented in a vacuum. I give credit to our youngest daughter, Steph, who has been traveling and farming for four years.
I tell everyone I meet that Steph is one of the happiest people I know. She has very little in the way of possessions: a change of clothes, an old van (Celia), a bicycle, a stove, and a guitar. If we try to give her money, she refuses it. Steph is independent, courageous, generous and curious – everything we wanted her to be.
When Steph graduated high school, she wasn’t inclined to spend four more years cooped up in a classroom. It’s not that Steph hated school, but she loves the outdoors so much more. To her, the forests, rivers, farms, and trails are where she finds her smile. When I hike with her, I see someone whose whole being lights up with joy and curiosity. And isn’t that we want from life?
In August, we visited her in her natural habitat – an organic farm near Bozeman, Montana. This was Steph’s first managerial position and she nailed it. Seven days a week, Steph woke up in her little shack, made cowboy coffee and then met with the crew she was supervising that day. The days were long because the sky didn’t darken until around 9pm and there is always more to do on a farm. Having spent a week with her, I saw how hard she worked with an always-too-small staff. I was and am so proud of her.
I always thought – it’s the elders who inspire the youngsters. In my case, though, it’s the other way around. Steph inspires me. Her willingness to live with less, work hard, laugh and sing are my north star. I am very blessed.


  1. Del Shortliffe

    "Teach your parents well." Steph seems to do this without even trying. And everything you have just told me about her serves as inspiration for me, too. You should be very proud. I think of the many parents who wouldn't be–and of the important values they fail to embrace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *