Category - 2015 Run

Life in the Highlands compared to Highlands. Wait – What?
Revelations – A Change of Plans
Bunnies and Chicks? Where?!
Do a Little Dance!
Did You Know? Rock Eaters Come Out in the Rain
Gearing Up!
The Run Map Now Live – Check it Out!
Progress is Exciting
T-Shirts Coming Soon! Watch for the Order Form
“Make New Friends, but Keep the Old – One is Silver and the Other Gold”

Life in the Highlands compared to Highlands. Wait – What?

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Remember those reports you had to write in school about a past president, a book you read, a country you were studying?  That’s kinda what I’ve been up to lately.  We did all the initial research on where cultures of the top 21 most internet using countries are most prevalent in the United States, but not exact locations, or rather cultural centers or groups.  So, in preparation for the promotional trip I have been researching where to find the best exaMap of Scottland (google)mples, or most experienced people, for each of the cultures we will be visiting and talking about throughout the trip.

The first stop was relatively easy.  We originally planned to start in Highlands, NC. It’s close to home so I figured it would be really easy to find a cultural center to visit.  There are actually quite a few Scottish traits that have been passed on from one generation to the next.  The least of which is being very proud of our history.  According to, “tourism is one of Scotland’s most lucrative assets, focusing on such attractions as golf, walking and a rich history. In industry, too, the country is pioneering and enterprising. Key business sectors include life sciences, electronic technologies, energy and financial services.”  If you have ever visited Highlands, North Carolina, you’d think they were describing the Highlands in North Carolina, not the Scottish Highlands.  Though, we don’t have much in the way of electronic technology or industrial type business here, there is tourism, golf, walking or hiking, and financial services aplenty.

Highlands, North Carolina, is a huge tourist town during the Summer Season each year.  Downtown is bustling with vacationers sampling the local restaurants and seasonal residents catching up in the coffee shop or seeing what’s new in the antique and gift shops.  Compare that to the Fall and Winter here and you’d barely imagine this area holding so many people.  According to the 2000 Census, Highlands swelled from a population of just over 900 in the winter months, to between 10 & 15,000 from spring to fall!  Scotland saw approximately 15 million tourists to their 5.3 million local populace in 2013.

There are also numerous trails that lead to magnificent vistas or breathtaking waterfalls all over the mountaintop.  After watching this YouTube video, I think Scotland has their own piece of paradise they are very proud of too.  (Good to watch the whole video, if you want some ideas on things to check out if you ever visit Scotland.)

The differences, I have found, are not so obvious as you would think.  They enjoy water parks, sports, and the outdoors just as much as we do.  They love good food, listen to a wide variety of music, and enjoy traveling.  The major differences I’ve seen are the accent (a given, I know) and they live on a peninsula and outlying islands, whereas Highlands, North Carolina, is landlocked.  So how do I find out more?  Well, that is what our trip is for.

So I looked for the best place in this area to learn about Scotland and how it is similar, but also maybe more importantly, how it is uniquely different.  Surprisingly, the best place to go to discuss Scottish heritage is not in Highlands, but just down the mountain in Franklin.  The Scottish Tartan Museum is located in downtown Franklin and is educating residents and tourists alike about the Scottish and Cherokee people that lived and died here.  So that is where we will start our journey next summer.

Do you live in Scotland?  Or have you ever been there?  We’d love to hear what you think.  What things to we have in common that aren’t obvious?  And what makes Scotland so magical despite her similarities?



Revelations – A Change of Plans

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This is the first time I’ve run more than 20 some odd miles.  It’s been a year and a half since my buddy, Charles, got me into running.  On our first trip out after a party at his house, we had turned around about 7-7 1/2 miles in and were walking when I stepped off the trail and turned my ankle.  My left foot twisted so the bottom of my foot was clear around facing my other foot and I heard it pop.  But, you know me, I kept moving, but was only able to make it about 4 miles before my leg just wouldn’t go anymore.  Charles went and got the truck and I met him on the road.

The recovery period was a challenge, but I have enjoyed it.  Charles invited me to come run this SCAR with him and a friend and I leapt at it!  Thank you Charles for the invite and being such great support.  AND for hauling around such a crazy about of supplies on your back!  My homemade gels need a bit of tweaking, as I ended up with heartburn and a headache on the run (due to too much coffee in them, I think.)  Charles and his TUMS and gels saved my bacon!  I also would like to thank Brad Kee for having great trail experience and crazy endurance.   It was a good run and a strong team.  We Indian Ran the entire thing, trading off 2

I would also like to thank Matt and Sarah Fraser, friends of Brad’s.  They met us at approximately 40 miles in where there was car access.  We got to grab a solid bite (you have no idea how good that is after nothing but water and gels) and lube up again before hitting the trail again.  Matt ran the next 30 miles out with us too.  He’s a great guy – awesome attitude!  Good sense of humor.  Sara drove to the finish and then ran in to meet us.  There were crazy good pacers.IMG_20150529_062013555_HDR

So, our plan was to finish in under 24 hours.  As we neared the end, Brad, Charles, and I couldn’t help but push hard and we finished with Charles at 20 hours and 46 minutes and Brad and I in 20 hours 48 minutes – with Brad charging through on the last mile.  It was a great experience.  Including having to go off trail for water, we made a little over 74 miles in under 21 hours!

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I have also come to some conclusions after this run.  I have been driving too hard on this upcoming run and getting the website launched by the end of the summer.  The amount of research and sheer scope of planning a run this big (finding the contacts, scheduling the dates and times and locations, all our resources) is more than can be done in the time I allotted.  So, we will be postponing the leave Run/Bike trip start date.

We are developing great contacts and leads, so the momentum is picking up very quickly.  This additional time will be perfect for making contact with everyone and give us more options for both the creation of the site and planning for a very successful promotional trip at a later date.  We will keep everyone posted so that everyone will have the new date once it’s set.

We are so grateful for all the support we have been shown and will continue to work hard to get World Tree Circle ready for you all to start communicating.  Thank you everyone!

Bunnies and Chicks? Where?!

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One of the more widely celebrated holidays around the world is Easter.  I myself didn’t realize how widely spread it really was.

Growing up here in the US, to me it was all about the fancy new frock, handmade by my grandma with love.  I always matched my sisters’ specially made dresses, albeit in different colors.  We would gather with some of our extended family over a huge meal that my grandma, great aunt, aunts, and mother would make.  Then runpatent leather shoes around outside risking my beautiful dress and scuffing my new pats.

To some of my friends, it has always been a more religious occasion, with good reason.  For Christians, Easter is about the resurrection of Christ.  For Jews, this is a time of repentance known as Passover¹.  Some countries, I have read, celebrate anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks.  Even in India, where less than 2 percent of the population is Christian, Easter is celebrated with zeal.

As a young adult I also came to learn that this is also a time when many pagan religions celebrate the return of warmer weather and new life.  Known as Ostara, Eostar, or Eostre is celebrated around the same time².  This is always on the Spring Equinox, when the day and night are the same length of time.  Celebrations still include colored eggs, bunnies, and chicks.  Due to the timing of the day and night, it is also a time of reflection on the balance of things in our lives – life and death in particular.

No matter your belief, this is a truly beautiful time to celebrate new life, new beginnings, another opportunity to start anew with hope and high spirits.  So here is to a new beginning for each and everyone one of us!





² “Circle Round, Raising Children in Goddess Traditions” by Starhawk, Diane Baker, & Anne Hill

Do a Little Dance!

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It took us longer than we anticipated BUT the tentative schedule for Clarke’s run/bike trip across the USA is done.  Now that we have dates to plan around we can start contacting folks along the route that are excited to share their culture and traditions with us on behalf of their native country.

I have a few ideas for places we would like to visit already.  For example, while researching where to find “Little Saigon” in Houston, Texas, I came across an article about the first Vietnamese restaurant there.  Mai’s Restaurant was founded by Phim and Phac Nguyen in 1978.  After reading the article I am intrigued to see it for myself and sample some of their fine traditional cuisine and learn more about the Vietnamese traditions and lifestyle here in the States, as well as back in Vietnam.

I also found out – don’t laugh if you already knew this – that there is a sea in the United States!  I do not ever remember learning this in geography class growing up, nor does Clarke.  It just so happens that we will go right by it on our way out West and our timing will allow us to spend some time checking it out.  It’s called the Salton Sea.  It was created by accident over 100 years ago by a breach in an irrigation canal and the Colorado River began to fill up the Salton Sink.  It was a beautiful resort/recreation area for people until the late 70s, early 80s.  Unfortunately a large quantity of agricultural run-off an other nasty stuff has destroyed the water and most of the surrounding eco-system.  California has been Oak in the Salton Seacontemplating how to tackle this huge challenge to protect future generations from the repercussions.  This is a sad situation but a good learning tool as well.  A perfect example of how, if we are not conscious of our actions and the chain of events that can unfold, things like this can happen.  It gives us an opportunity to begin to take responsibility and begin to fix things, one positive step at a time.

We’ll continue to keep you updated as we find cool places, and most especially, cool people to see along our trip.  For now, I’ve included the calendar below as well as on the World Tree Circle Run page for you to take a look.  Please send us any recommendations you have for our stops along the way and any special site seeing we should be sure not to miss out on along the way!


Did You Know? Rock Eaters Come Out in the Rain

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Where to begin?  An apology is in order, so I will start there.  I am sorry that so much time lapses between posts.  Consistency is something that all good business and life coaches repeat over and over.  I get it, I do.  There has been so much going on that Clarke and I have been leaving things unfinished each night and falling into bed around 11pm each night.  And to be quite honest with myself and all of you – consistency is definitely something I am still working on, lol.

So what have we been doing, you ask?  Still working on the Run Map and getting ready for our first meeting with the new teams from WCU this semester, of course!

The Run is coming along.  Slower than I had first expected it to, but not without progress.  So far, I have mapped our tentative stops from Highlands, North Carolina, to Palisades Park, NJ.  I haven’t cemented our stops yet, but I do have ideas and possible places to rest at the end of each day.  We even found a few interesting things along the route that we may have to stop and take a look at.  Did you know there are Ghost Bicycle memorials along the highways in some places?  There are bikes painted entirely white and positioned near roads where a cyclist was killed.  There is one not to far from our route as we pass through Pennsylvania.  You can read more about it here and see a list of ghost bike 1the current locations around the world along with the names of those they were erected for.  Sobering thought, considering Clarke will be biking every other day.

We will definitely be keeping safety in mind while Clarke is out.  We want him very visible for more reasons than just getting the word out about World Tree Circle! 🙂



We have also finished gathering our initial “info packets” for the WCU students to help us get off to a very smooth start this semester.  Things like passwords, what the last group accomplished, and so on.  We will be working with 2 teams, 3 students each.  Clarke and I like to meet with the students at least once a week to share what we have all been accomplishing and what the goals are for the upcoming week.  It makes it much easier to address any challenges that come up right away and helps us all stay on the right track.  Since these meetings can be jammed packed with news from everyone we will need to meet with our teams separately most of the time to maximize all our time.  We will meet as a whole company now and again to make sure we are all staying true to the business model that we have in mind for World Tree, but not every week.  Our student are only required to spend about 6 hours a week working on this project and we want them to spend as much of that as possible on the tasks at hand.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to meeting all these new professionals and the extra help and creativity they will bring to the table.  If you can bear with me and check back now and again you will see regular updates on how things are progressing.  This semester I will be asking our students to give us at least one blog post with their experience working on this site and the run crowd funding, if not regular posts on what they are up to along the way.


Also – we will be adding Clarke’s PICTURES ON THE RUN photos to the WTC Store in the coming weeks.  We will be making them available at the best prices we can – an all proceeds will go towards funding the upcoming run and the creation of’s online community.  So, keep your eye out for those and feel free to purchase as many as you like!  Here are some of the photos you can expect to see for sale….

  • Shine Through
  • Steadfast
  • Roman Arches
  • Through the Veil
  • The Rock Eaters Come Out in the Rain
  • Seen and Unseen
  • Guardians
  • Fractals
  • Sticky Subject

Gearing Up!

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Since we began this endeavor in 2013 we have made progress in leaps and bounds.  Despite being a team of 2 on and off.  2014 was full of “leaps” for World Tree Circle.  We teamed up with Western Carolina University’s Business College.  We have been able to interact with up-and-coming individuals in their field, helping us to gain new perspectives.  We now have the foundation for the actual community site.  As well as having built a fast growing group of followers on 3 different social media sites – most, if not all, of which are not duplicated from those 3 communities!western carolina univ logo

So it is with great pleasure we can announce that in this new year, we will continue to make great advances.  We will be teaming with WCU again this semester and will be assigned two teams.  One for the fundraising (most likely IndieGoGo or Kickstarter) and the other to focus entirely on the development of the site where our last student team left off.  This is extremely exciting.  I for one have very high hopes for this semester’s students.  We learned a lot from our last joint effort and will be able to improve on much this semester.

Also, along with defining exactly how much money we need to build World Tree Circle and fund the run, we are working on getting the run mapped out and deciding on the schedule for stops to meet new people along the way.  Our tentative date to head out from Highlands, NC, is June 14th.  We will have to keep up a pretty vigorous pace, but the goal is to be back in Franklin, NC, on August 10, 2015.  That will give our kiddos some time to unwind and get ready for the upcoming school year to start.  Considering all the places they will see, the new people they will have met, and the amazing things those people will have shared – we will all need at least that much time to sort of assimilate all we have experienced.

communicating across culturesWe will be doing intensive research on functions and places steeped in the cultures we have picked for this trip.  We want to get the best examples we can find here in the States.  If you know of something, or someone, we should be sure not to miss, please let us know.  Send us a quick note or email at

Here’s to Great things in the New Year!


The Run Map Now Live – Check it Out!

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We’ve been having a bit of a challenge finding a mapping program that would allow us to map out the run/bike route while showing what countries we would visit.  the number of location per layer seemed to be the sticking point.  We even upgraded to Google Maps Pro but haven’t been totally successful.  Still not sure if its the program or the user. :/  However, diligence has paid off some what and we do have a pretty decent map to share with everyone so far.  There are 3 routes, each in 2 sections (due to the limit of locations per layer).  One is for the run route, one for the bike route and one for the driving route the kids, critters and I will have to take to keep up.

Progress is Exciting

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Just a quick update for our followers.  We’ve met with our new team several times now and have a game plan that will be going in to action soon.  What have we been up to?  Here’s what we’ve got going on:

  • Planning a Focus Group study for next week.  We will be meeting with 5-10 WCU international students to talk about social media and there likes and dislikes over yummy food and good company.
  • Finalizing our online survey that will go out to the entire student body at WCU.  This 10 question survey will help us get a stronger handle on what people are looking for in their social media.
  • Our computer team, Christian and Pat, have started  to create the foundation for the website.  Soooooo exciting!!!!!!!
  • In the “design stage” of creating a new short video to talk about WTC that we will use on a crowd funding site called Indiegogo as well as our site and other online advertising.

And check out “Pictures on the Run” on our Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to see what Clarke has been up to during his runs to train for next summers epic run!

T-Shirts Coming Soon! Watch for the Order Form

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The t-shirt design is finished and the first colors picked out.  Very exciting! We will be posting the order form here and on all our social media accounts in the coming week.  In order to make them available sooner, we will be taking pre-orders.  Once we have 500 ordered, BluBus will start printing and we’ll start shipping them out to you.

 All proceeds will go to funding the site and advertising, including Clarke’s WTC Run set for next summer.

T-shirt Mock up #2

“Make New Friends, but Keep the Old – One is Silver and the Other Gold”

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We’ve talked so much lately about the promotional run and the progress we’ve been making with the help of Western Carolina University’s Business College, Clarke and I felt it was time to go back to our roots. And yes, pun intended. 🙂  So, I’ve gone back and reread some of our earlier messages to see where we can be more clear.  Or more importantly, educate those new to World Tree Circle, what exactly it is we are setting in motion for everyone on Earth.

World Tree Circle is a global gathering place.  A safe and familiar virtual community center for people around the world to post about the things they are excited about, that irritate them, or elicit any of the pantheon of emotions that incite us to post about the things happening in our lives.  It’s also the perfect place for people to ask questions and gather information about places around the globe they may, or may not have been, and want to learn more about – from the people who have firsthand experience.  Anywhere around the world!  We can ask the locals, world travelers, educators, anyone really, about the topics we’ve always wondered about.  World Tree Circle is for sharing all those things.  Information, ideas, hobbies, pictures, or videos, and commenting, or even full on discussions about, practically any topic you wish.  Find and connect with other individuals who are just as interested as you.  Just imagine.  You absolutely love soccer, but you live in the United States and when you talk about association football, your friends want to talk about the NFL.   With no need to worry about language barriers,  you can hop on your favorite device, be it phone, tablet, or computer, and find passionate association football fans anywhere in the world to catch up on the recent game scores, banter about whose team is doing better this season, and share your thoughts on every facet of the sport with others who understand why it is so important to call it football, not soccer.

The same holds true for each and every one of us.  There are people all around the world who love some or all of your favorite things and would delight in spending time talking to you about it.  Distance isn’t the obstacle, the different languages we all speak are more a challenge at this stage in our technological advancements.  Even if each of us could afford to travel anywhere we wanted at any time, we would still have to know how to communicate once we got there.  You also have to know how to find those people that share your zeal for things.  We’ve got you covered there too!

World Tree Circle links similar events, interests, concerns, and opinions from around the world in an effort to demonstrate how similar we all are.  It provides a place where users need not have any familiarity with a region in order to gain knowledge from individuals who are from, or have been to, the region or regions of interest.  Users may create their own confidential account and choose to post things publicly or they have the option of creating a public posts just like they do with other social media.  The difference is that this site is designed to give people free access to regions and the living history that is created every day.  A way to get first hand knowledge from the people in an area where whatever it was that sparked your curiosity originates.  That could be current events, recipes, culture, history, the language, sports, whatever.   Access to a world’s worth of expertise!

Something that is becoming more common, but is still not yet well known by all, is the benefit of using open source software.  World Tree Circle is entirely made up of open source software to allow it to grow and change with its community on every level.  When the majority of leaf holders are telling us on the main community board they don’t care for a certain set-up, or an open source programmer shares a cool new format with us, we will hold a poll and go with whatever the community decides!  Open source software allows everyone access to the code for free.  “Every user is a potential author.”  Even our translation software will be open source, allowing it to grow and improve every time a World Tree Circle member corrects an error or improves the grammar in a translation.

The list goes on and on.  World Tree Circle is the place to be.  Whether you’re looking to make new friends, researching for a trip you’re taking, or satisfy all your curiousity about the world, this site is the place for you!

Be one of the first! Donations of time, expertise and funding are all needed and greatly appreciated.  Get involved now and be one of the first to grow your beautiful leave on World Tree Circle.  There are so many ways to get in volved.

1. Visit our store to purchase World Tree gear or

2. to help power Clarke and I across the country spreading the word about the site and the need for better global communication.

3. Visit and search for World Tree Circle to take a look at the code and collaborate with us.

4. Email us at


Here’s a sneak peak of the foundation site that our most recent WCU CIS students completed this past semester.  Not quite to the point we can start letting folks log-in, but a very promising start!

  • Log-in Page
  • Main Feed
  • World Tree Circle Q&A page

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