Lisbon & Casais, Portugal

This is the only trip where I had to come home early. It was late Wednesday night (3/11/2020), and President Trump announced that I have until Friday to get back to the United States. Truly a moment that changed the world…

*can’t believe it took only three years to post this – but it’s important. The only journey ever where I didn’t finish. It’s on the bucket list to go back.

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Portugal_20200310_MPeterson0095People change as they travel in faith,

not by standing still waiting to understand everything.



ME:  (3.20.21) Good Morning, Jessamine, and Happy First Day of Spring! Somehow I stumbled onto your offer to eat alone by the creek and it spoke to my soul. I would like to put my name down for the random drawing and see what happens.

ETT Restaurant:  (3.21.21) Yay! Your name was picked for ett April 26th. Please just let me know if you have any dietary needs and I will email you more details when your date is closer. Thanks!

ME: OH MY GOODNESS – I’m so excited!!! Thank you Jessamine! I have no dietary restrictions whatsoever. :)

EMAIL (4.22.21) Welcome to ett. INFO for your visit this Monday, 04.26 (the last ett as it works now). You are welcome to come anytime after 3PM. Please wear comfortable walking shoes – it is a bit of a hike and quite steep in spots. You may also want bug spray and maybe a change of clothes if you want to get in the creek. Park in the turnaround to the left as you enter the driveway across from the basketball goal. Then walk back up the driveway towards the road. The trail begins on the left halfway between your car and the mailbox. Follow the blue arrows to ett. It is 1/3 of a mile, steep towards the end and lands you creekside at your table. You are welcome (encouraged) to stay as long as you want. Yes, there is a meal but this is just as much about you taking quiet time for you as it is about eating. You can do whatever you want. We do ask that you leave before dusk though so you can easily find your way back to your car. Text when you leave so I can clear the dishes. Payment is whatever you want, can afford, or want to trade.  <Jessamine Starr>

WELL, FRIENDS…on APRIL 26, 2021, I earned the title of the “last ett guest” and the furthest traveling person (Chicago – Atlanta) for this beautiful and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Ett, Swedish word for “one”,  is the brainchild of Jessamine Starr, who is the proprietor of the Good Food Truck in Georgia. May of 2020 (two months after the pandemic paralyzed the world), Jessamine created this one seat, five-course meal, contactless restaurant next to a creek on her fabulous property as a way for people “to experience intentional solitude instead of the daily aloneness of pandemic life.” It was a GIFT to the lucky few every month to experience solitude in a way that is beyond the imagination and highly restorative. I spent three hours eating, reading, crying, thinking, laughing, and playing in the creek. Looking back, I wish I had more time to swim in the refreshing water. :) I cannot thank Jessamine enough for such an extravagant gift where I felt so magically cared for. I didn’t see her but I felt her presence the whole time; the food she made for me was next level and I will never forget it. The whole experience sparked a new sense of adventure in me and it deeply reminded me to be ready for anything. I traded the gift of photography for my ett experience. I hope I can bless Jessamine’s heart by showing her the wonderful gift she gave the world during a super hard and grief-filled year, and to hopefully remind her if she ever forgets. After twelve months of ett in the woods, Jessamine made a decision to end the project and let all the goodness seep into the woods. I feel so completely honored to be the very last “one” but there is this weird unexplainable pain in my heart. I know all good things end, but this was quite special and I know was hand-picked just for me. Thank you, Jessamine, for the unintentional seeds you planted in my heart and soul of showing kindness whenever I can and to be SUPER EXTRAVAGANT about it. I love how you see me as your last ett guest – the documentarian – because that is precisely who I am. I appreciate you more than words can ever express, and I pray the photos you see here will speak the thousand words which I cannot. XOXO

P.S. Btw, this was such a great way to kick off my birthday week…Fifty-Six  IS LOOKING SO DANG GOOD!!! :)

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“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” – Anne Frank

Follow @GoodFoodTruck and @ettinthewoods on Instagram!



Finally, VIETNAM. Out of all the trips I’ve made in 2018 and 2019, this one was the most significant…I went deeper and farther. Many surprises along the way and unexpected tears too. Looking back…going back to Vietnam after forty five years, without my mom, and to all new territories…was truly setting myself up for a lot of stress. But I’m proud of myself that I survived and a bunch of questions were answered. Most of all, God was with me and I felt HIs hand. I am so speechless every day for His provisions and how He guides my life. With God, ALL things are possible. I pray I continue to be a living example of His goodness and extravagant care.
Locations: Hoi An, Da Lat, and Da Nang.

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“If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.” – Rumi