Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why I Farm Roadtrip FAQ

I've been on the road for about two and a half months honoring farmers through the Why I Farm Roadtrip. Along the way, I've met many wonderful people, and they all seem to have the same questions about my year long, 50 state adventure. I finally decided to put a few answers together in this Why I Farm Roadtrip FAQ blog post.

1. Why do you want to travel to all 50 states?
So many things inspired this roadtrip, it's hard to describe them all. Before I left, I made a list of 28 things. Every day I'm on the road I find more inspiration to keep going.

2. When did the Why I Farm Roadtrip start?
I graduated from Iowa State University on May 7, 2016 with a degree in Agricultural Business. A week later, on May 15 I pulled out of my driveway in Ames, Iowa and hit the road.

3. What was your first stop?
The first stop of my 50 state adventure was the Grant Wood Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I wanted my first stop to be somewhere that honored my home state of Iowa, but also inspired my creative side. This Cedar Rapids Museum of Art stop did just that. All through my childhood, I'd heard of Grant Wood, but it was fascinating to learn more about how Midwest agriculture influenced his work. He once said, "All the good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow."

4. How are you paying for your travels?
Learning to budget and and manage my own expenses for this trip has been an exciting new responsibility. I'm doing lots of freelance work related to food, travel and agriculture. My biggest project, as you may have guessed, is the Why I Farm Roadtrip. As a way to continue the movement that fueled my passion through college, I'm visiting a few farmers, of all different kinds, in each state. After my interviews, I put their photos and quotes together in social media and blog posts

My part-time employer from Ames, AgSolver, let me stay on the marketing team while I travel. Since last year, I've been responsible for some of our social media content and writing. I'm thankful they've let me continue working with them. I enjoy learning how farmers can be environmentally and financially sustainable and challenging myself to write in a different style. 

Finally, I'm doing some other freelance work as I go state to state. I really love writing for state Farm Bureaus and sharing my photography with tourism boards in different areas. Occasionally, I'm able to try out travel gear or destinations that I otherwise wouldn't be able to experience through different freelance arrangements. (To learn more about working with me, head over to the Work With Me! page.) It's been great learning opportunity to coordinate all my commitments, stretch my budget, and prioritize expenses!

5. What does your boyfriend think?
I feel so fortunate to have found someone who supports my goals and dreams, even if they're a little out there. Travel isn't something he loves nearly as much as I do, but it means so much to have him cheering me on back home. He faithfully calls me every night and makes time to see me when I'm in the Midwest. I can always count on him to make me laugh when I need to loosen up and he's talked me through more than one overwhelmed, "the world is ending" moment. They say, "Distance makes the heart grow fonder" and I really believe it's true. Long distance is never easy, but I know we'll be better for it when my travels are over. In the mean time, I'll treasure our screen-sharing movie dates and the thrill of picking out a souvenir I know he'll love.

6. What do your parents think?
First off, this trip has made me thankful I'm their daughter in more ways than one. As I meet with farmers across the country, it's clear I have my dad's love for stories. I know my desire to be a part of improving my community comes from him too. When I'm around home, people tell me I'm just like my mom. Always on the go, always up for trying something new. Realizing this makes me proud to be their kid. I'm thankful for all they taught me growing up that has prepared me for this adventure.

I'm thankful they encouraged my entrepreneurial spirit and creativity as a child. They made me believe I could accomplish anything I set my mind to and worked hard enough for. It means so much to have their support. For my mom, that means little phone calls to check in, keep me in the loop with family updates, and gently reminding me to not text and drive, not to stay in weird places, and to get enough sleep. My dad's support means being my most loyal blog follower, answering my questions about navigating professional life, and short "Love u. Praying for u." texts. They've never tried to talk me out of pursuing my dreams.

If you have any other questions about my 50 state adventure, leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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