April 9, 2020
Meet Bethany Vedder
Bethany delights in travel and freedom, is a lifelong student of human nature, and loves people, deep conversations, and working with her husband.
Born in Ohio and raised in Chicago, at 29 she married Michael, a free-spirited artist. The couple have two teenage boys, born in central PA and Brooklyn respectively, and have spent the last five years wandering together through the lower 48 states in a 30' travel trailer "filled with books and tools, going everywhere and doing everything". After their years of travel, the family is now putting down roots on 32 acres of mountain land in northeast Tennessee.
Having lived in various places including suburbia, rural Pennsylvania, bustling Brooklyn, and a camping trailer hauled across the country, Bethany brings an expansive perspective to the Finding Home podcast series.
Where is home? What is home? How do we find and make it?
Bethany's dining room table in her current home - a 30' camping trailer
Born into a tightly knit religious community Bethany's story of home is one of expanding circles of connection and belonging.
At a young age Bethany experienced life in another culture where material possessions or square footage were not the defining characteristics of home. Home was connection, happy people and a space to gather. And that happiness did not depend on economic security.
Because of her father's work and the religious community she belonged to, Bethany's growing-up home (back in the United States) was an open and revolving door for work associates and anyone needing a meal or a place to stay.
Having learned the spirit and practice of hospitality during her growing years and finding likeminded friends in her young adulthood, home as place for community became a defining value in Bethany's life.
Bethany carried these values of community and connection into her marriage with her free-spirited artist husband and together they've used their combined creativity and DIY ethic to create home in various places.
After renting for 9 years in Brooklyn while establishing Michael's art career, and having a steady stream of culturally-diverse paying guests stay in the spare room of their one bathroom brownstone, the Vedders embarked on a grand adventure.
This adventure started by living year round in summer cottage community where children leave the house in the morning and don't come back till after supper; tired, dirty, and happy.
Leaving that safe nest for their big dream, the Vedders have been living in their camper for the last 5+ years staying with people all over the lower 48 states, building and creating as a team. This venture, a teenage dream of Michael's, and known as HeartLoose, has taught them to let go, depend on God, listen hard, and work as a team.
The family is about to settle down in Tennessee on a piece of raw land that they are dreaming to build into a place for community, connection, and creativity.
Bethany's story is a good one. It's about the imprinting effects of our earliest memories and childhood experiences on our ideas of home. It's about creating a family culture of radical and life-enriching hospitality. It's about trust and freedom and finding a home where your heart is secure, safe and loved.
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My podcast is supported by patrons and released to my Patreon community once a month. Normally you have to be a Patron at the $5/month level to listen to the episodes.
This April 2020 episode with Bethany Vedder is free for anyone to listen to.
Bethany's story of home as a place for creativity, community, and connection is inspiration during our current crisis for sure, with an enduring message for what we might prioritize in our future. I would love for you to hear it.
If you want to hear the rest of the episodes - interviews with extraordinary ordinary people - join my Patreon at the $5/month tier and have access to all interviews. Over 20 episodes are available and a new episode is released every month.
This season I'm producing the Finding Home series and each episode explores that theme with a new guest.
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