The Being of a Nation
"How do you want to BE in this world?"
Interviews from 48 states
In 2017 Kïrsten Blake of Chapter BE, along with her dog, Harriet Ethel, the brave and beloved BE mascot, traveled to all 48 continental United States and asked 380 strangers: “How do you want to BE in this world?”
Kïrsten and Harriet drove a total of 15,887 miles over the course of 90 days, July 15 through October 16, and stayed with family, friends, and friends-of-friends along the way. Beginning the trip in Santa Fe, NM and ending in Denver, CO, Chapter BE’s approach was simple – scope the city and crowdsource the best places to set up. Then, throw open the back doors of Beatrice, the BE Mobile, and invite strangers in to talk.
The Being of a Nation collected stories of courage, curiosity, empathy, love, positivity, and so much more. Stories are how people connect with one another, with their environment, and with themselves. Chapter BE wants to share these stories of BEing from across the nation with the aim to inspire individuals to share their story as well as connect to someone else’s BE story.
Below you will find stories of BEing from different individuals across our country. As you listen to these stories, note that these are raw, on-the-street interviews that capture the storyteller’s environment – general background noise, animals, cars, others passing by. Close your eyes and picture their environment as you listen in…
Listen to their stories
Santa Cruz, California
“Well, it begins with a different kind of listening. If I find myself bored or irritated, I ask myself if I'm really paying attention. And so, then, I take a few breaths and I listen a bit longer.”
“I think it's really important to be happy to learn that you're wrong, to be excited to say, 'Oh, I get to challenge this idea!' I get to find out that my initial instinct was off and to better shape my understanding of the world...”
“I think to break any preconceived notions that you have about different kinds of people or different ideas, you have to be curious to some extent or another, and you have to put yourself out there and ask those questions, even if you don't want to.”
Explore all of the interviews
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