Episode 1: Savior World / Making Soap in a Winnebago
Updated: Feb 17, 2020
We arrived on the scenic and historic downtown Square in Woodstock, IL on Sunday morning. The sky had cleared from the prior evening's heavy, cold rain, giving way to a crisp, bright fall day. We stopped for a pour over (Greg) and a double shot of espresso (Dave) and then walked over to the Woodstock Square Mall to meet Natasha. The Mall conjured up images of growing up for both of us. When I was in High School, I worked at Knuth's Sporting Goods, which had its home in the basement floor of the Mall. My best friend Jason worked at Knuth's Office Supplies on the other side of the floor. I remember holiday parties playing ping pong, getting hot chocolate from the little shop on the top floor of the building and hanging out at the music store. The building feels the same now as it was then, although the storefronts are all different.
This post is a companion to Episode 1 of Appreciation Nation, which you can find in our archive or your favorite podcast app.
We walked up to Savior World's storefront right at 9:30, and Natasha was already open and ready for the day. I set the recording equipment up in a cozy little corner near the small storage space she has in the back of the store, and Dave moved around some chairs so we could get comfortable.
We really enjoyed our time speaking with Natasha. We loved the story and images of her family traveling through the desert southwest in a reconditioned Winnebago, and Dave mused about "the stars over the Mojave." I love what Natasha is doing in the tiny storefront space. It's carefully curated, neatly arranged and dense enough to feel comfort as you walk through and appreciate the handcrafted, fair trade and eco-friendly products.
During the interview, we met a really fun cast of characters: Natasha's husband, the stable presence that balances her creative meandering; Natasha's grandfather, the woodworker; her father, the idealistic entrepreneur who was always working on some wild new idea; Hector, her great friend and amazingly talented artist; and, of course, the '73 Winnebago Indian, the embodiment of adventure, escape and fulfillment.
We spent about an hour and a half with Natasha, picked up some soaps and other items to gift to others and headed across the Square for some lunch. Two things stood out as we debriefed. First, there was a really fun contrast and tension in Natasha's story created by the forces of stability (represented in the story by her Mother) and creative expression (her Father). I believe the interplay of these forces allow Natasha not just to imagine possible future outcomes but to put small things into action that actually move her forward and realize new realities. The idea of starting with "small things," was the other theme that emerged right away for both of us and formed the seed of the episode's Challenge.
Appreciation Nation Challenge (ANC) #1: One Small Thing
Discover. Choose one thing you've wanting to put time into for a while. Not a chore or task around the house - something more like a hobby you've wanted to pursue.
Define. Write down on paper one thing you can do without any extra training, studying or learning, related to that pursuit.
Commit. Share your commitment by joining the ANC Tribe (or Kula) Facebook Group and posting to the week's challenge, telling an "accountabilabuddy" (thanks, Dave!) or just writing it down for yourself. Your commitment is to do the activity for seven days for at least 15 minutes each day. If you miss a day, that's totally fine, but try really hard not to miss two days in a row.
Do it! When you're done, consider two reflection questions. Sharing your thoughts with the ANC Tribe or your accountabilabuddy is an extra bonus. First, how did you feel about doing this today? Second, how do you feel about doing this again tomorrow?
Reward yourself. If it's helpful for you, do something to acknowledge that you've created movement. For me, checking a checkbox is powerful. A gold star sounds silly, but for many of us, it feels good and reinforces our ability to come back again tomorrow.
Learn and discover. If you want to learn about something related to your one small thing, go ahead and do that as well, but don't use study time as a substitute for your doing time during these periods.
Savior World - organic and sustainable goods for home, pet and self care
Surfrider Foundation - a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground - the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee - providing sanctuary for more than 20 years