It was a beautiful day of Independence in the Fourth of July Capitol of Nebraska.

White puffy clouds wafted by while we set up the house on Main Street in Seward, Nebraska, and while the number of people in got higher, so did the temperatures. By noon, the festivities were in full swing and an all-American good time was being had by all. Locals and out-of-towners converged on downtown to enjoy crafts, the car show, funnel cakes, and our tiny house.

When two o’clock rolled around, it was time to close up shop and get ready for the Grand Parade through town. We eventually had to start turning away people who wanted nothing more than to, “See inside one of those tiny houses from the T.V.

All told we had thousands walk through the house, shake our hands, and give their two-cents.

On days like this, we invite people in just to see where the conversation goes. It’s different for everyone. From wildlife conservation and tiny living to sustainability and politics.

One person stands out in my mind as I look back on the day though. Normally I wouldn’t have given him much thought. He was 70+ years old, with worn out clothes, a straw hat and scraggly hair. He was missing a few teeth. I learned pretty quickly that he was a Trump supporter. As the conversation went on and I expressed my grievances for our new administration when it comes to their policy on wilderness, wildlife, and the environment. He said, “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the guy or what he does – I voted for him because he said he could change the country for the better. That’s exactly what you and Stephanie are trying to do. It’s so great what you’re doing, you’re showing people a new American dream. Keep doing it.”

The point is that we had back and forth conversation, and found common ground.

This is more important today than ever. While everyone is shouting at the other side, it’s great to invite people into our home and have a chat.

Sometimes the messages that we need to hear come from unlikely sources. We hope that these tours and subsequent conversations that people walk away with a new perspective. But on this day, I walked away with a new perspective. Thus far on this tour we had opened our doors to complete strangers of all kinds, but there’s nothing like opening your doors to friends and family.

We have had 15,000+ people walk through our door at events and in our new found communities at campgrounds across America, but we had been missing the familiar faces that make a community a “Home”.  On this leg of the tour in the mid-west, friends and family came from all around and it reminded me think about the piece of the puzzle that we had given up in order to find the ones we had have been trying to piece together for others lately.

Perhaps – it’s this other part of the puzzle we’d been fighting for with every conversation. We want others to remember, not the familiar faces of family and friends that we see at a home-town shin-dig, but our family that lives outside of town – the ones that live in the forests and in the oceans. Our distant relatives that we share this “Tiny Home” with. We want others to see the connections between their actions on a daily basis and the ecosystems that make life on our planet possible. Between the human animal and every other animal.