This blog follows the journey of Sarah and Greg as they made their film. To see a trailer, read more, learn about the progress of the film or share your story visit AMERICANBEARFILM.COM

60 days. 25 States. 5 Bears.

Sarah and Greg are setting out on an adventure exploring American trust and fear through hospitality. Armed with their charm, courage, and a camera, they will rely on the kindness of strangers for a home each night, and if they're lucky, a few meals along the way.

The story began in summer 2009 when Greg exclaimed in his sleep, "We have to go to Bear, Colorado!" Unfortunately, no Bear actually exists in Colorado. However, there are five Bears in America, fortuitously located in a perfect a 'U' around the continental U.S. - in Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Arkansas, and Delaware. Following the trail of the Bears, Sarah and Greg will travel through 25 states of all different cultures, demographics, populations, and Americans.

Through conversations with locals, we will explore our themes on a personal level and embrace the stories that turn strangers into neighbors. Our discussions with scholars and professionals will dig into the philosophy and nature of a core aspect of what makes us human. We will understand why (or if) we let people into our hearts and our homes.

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American Bear, Day 31 and 32: Colorado and a fresh face

We hit Durango, Colorado two days ago at about 3pm, our scheduled stop for the day. Sarah's hometown of Alamosa is only three hours away, and we've always planned to visit her family and take a brief break there. But all day towards Durango, we were both quietly thinking that heading all the way to Alamosa would give us a couple more hours of break... So we decided to mull it over during our late lunch in Durango. The second we stepped out of the car, we met Bob, who later on refilled our parking meter and left his phone number in case we didn't find a place to stay in Durango. Then, at lunch, we ended up talking to Carl for almost three hours, about aliens, photography, and the dark side of Portland. Everyone we met was extremely friendly, and it sort of made us both feel more comfortable about taking that extra break -- we had experienced the kindness of Durango, even if it was mostly off camera. And besides, we've barely taken a break, and driving three more hours was worth it if it meant we didn't have to drive three hours the next day.

We arrived at Sarah's house at 9:40pm to surprise her family. It was so relaxing to have good food, our own bed, a familiar shower, to watch TV. A typical summer vacation. And of course, our "break" still included some filming, transferring footage, doing laundy. We recharged. And had a wonderful time. It makes me feel like the next 28 days will fly by. We've had glimpse of the end, of when the whirlwind trip is over, and although we haven't lost any excitement for this project, I think we're both more excited for the end than we were before we remembered what relaxing is.

Several months ago, Sarah and I began talking about shaving my beard. It originally came up as a potential mini-experiment, to shave in the middle of the project to see how people interact and trust me differently with and without a big bushy beard. At this point, I think we've determined that it doesn't really make a difference; my friendly smile and our positive energy outweighs a scraggly beard. But it was on the itinerary. And Sarah, along with anyone I've met in the last several years, has never seen my face before. So we did it.

I barely recognize myself, a very odd feeling when I consider that this is my face, the one I've had my whole life, the face I ought to be more attached to than my beard.


  1. Hello Sarah and Greg,
    I'm a reporter for the San Luis Valley's newspaper the Valley Courier. A local resident brought your guys' incredible adventure to my attention, and I would love nothing more than to hear from you! My email is; if you could email me in your spare time, I can send you some questions.
    Thanks so much!
    ~Maddie Mansheim

  2. Greg and Sarah, I am an artist living in Gloucester,MA who happens to be Sarah's great aunt. I have known about "your guys' incredible adventure" since its creation (kind of like knowing about a baby before it's birth)"and I would love more than anything to hear from you!" So enough of copying the above e-mail! Greg, I love your face without the beard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How does it feel to you? Does it feel good to be smooth? Is it growing back or staying off?
    And has there been a difference in the way people respond? I think personally it has looked with the beard kind of "Menonite". And with that and a cross all you would need is a black robe! I love you guys and read every blog with great excitement and enthusiasm for what you are doing. Love it! Hugs, Aunt Ruth