Elizabeth Hensley

Hello everyone. My name is Elizabeth and I am grateful to begin my work assisting Susan Guda as editor in chief and transcriber of The Faces of Woodstock.

Each week I will be transcribing and editing in-depth interviews conducted by Susan in Woodstock, Georgia. She meets people where they are in the community to connect and bring their stories to light. We share a similar commitment to building bridges through storytelling and a belief that this project can only get bigger and gain momentum over time.

My introduction to this work began in my home state of California where I took part in the Veterans History Project, a nationwide oral history project housed in the Library of Congress. I also helmed Cal State Monterey Bay’s student-run newspaper, The Otter Realm, before moving to Acworth, Georgia, as a graduate student at Kennesaw State.

As an American Studies major, I have been struck by Woodstock’s ability to be both whimsical and modern, nostalgic yet vibrant and new. There is something special going on here that warrants sharing.

Prior to my graduation, my partner Richard and I expanded our horizons and fed our hunger for adventure. We converted a school bus we call Little House on the HWY and began traveling the United States full-time. We did this to travel, live more sustainably, and experience American culture. It was risky, but to date, we have traveled through 47 states and over 25,000 miles in our tiny house on wheels.

Thanks to Susan and this publication I will get to continue traveling as I work remotely, and I look forward to growing with you as we embark on this journey together

Elizabeth graduated from Kennesaw State in Fall ’18

Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?

A: My love of people and culture. After I trained to be a reporter, my first internship was at The Monterey County Weekly newspaper in California. Most weeks, I oversaw a section called Street Talk. I had to find three people on the street and ask them a series of questions for each issue. I was always amazed by how different their responses were and what came up. That’s something I’m looking forward to working for Faces of Woodstock – learning how the same questions affect each person differently.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

A: I want to continue writing full-time. My passion is creative nonfiction, but my favorite genre is memoir.  In the next five or ten years, I want to work on creative projects including my life experiences working on a cruise ship in Hawaii, losing my dad to cancer, working as a caterer in California and traveling the country in a school bus conversion – all sorts of things!

 Q:  What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?

A: Does Pie Bar count as a restaurant? Because I could eat a four-course meal there regardless. I fell in love with Lauren and Cody’s story and their craftsmanship before I ate there, but their Peanut Butter Cream pie is to die for.

Another place I enjoy is Canyons Fresh Grill. Their Black Diamond burger with gooey blue cheese, bacon, and sautéed mushrooms is delicious. When I was on the Keto diet (until I caved on the 4th of July), I felt awkward ordering a burger without a bun, but they understood what I wanted and made it easy. It’s also an excellent place for people watching because it’s right in the middle of downtown.

Q:  What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?

A: Right before we finished the bus and hit the road, Richard and I took a trip to Dixie Speedway. I had never been anywhere quite like it. We parked on the grass and walked up to the red and white building to pay our admission. I felt like a kid going to the county fair rodeo. The summer air was warm and balmy as we sat in the stands, and more people began to gather, rooting for their favorite cars. We ate hotdogs and cheered for our new favorites as we watched race after race, listening to the announcer’s rhythmic voice. A few hours later, we left covered in a haze of red dirt, but I will always remember how fun and entertaining it was.

 

Elizabeth and Richard and their school bus conversion, Little House on the HWY

Q:  If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?  And why?

A: That’s the beauty of living in a tiny house on wheels – we can travel almost anywhere we want to go!

Right now, we are preparing for upcoming trips. We are working seasonal jobs at Santa’s Farm and Christmas Tree Forest in Eustis, Florida, but after the holidays, we will be coming back to Georgia. We will head out to Arizona in January to meet up with other friends at Skoolie Palooza. Then we will go to Utah, our 48th state in the bus, and then we plan on spending time with my family in California beginning early March.

 

Q:  What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?

A: Forrest Gump. I was about eight years old, and I went with my mom. Looking back, it taught me a play-by-play of American culture, the good and not so good. I like the way mainstream culture is intertwined with the life of Forrest because pop culture (styles, music, politics) is a backdrop to all our lives to some extent. It makes me wonder what we might look back on as Americans down the road and what we could change, but we can’t see now because we are living it.

 

Q:  If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?

A: I’ve studied acting a lot as an adult – it’s another great method of storytelling. But these days I prefer to write. Rather than choosing a co-star, if I was in a film with someone, I think the absolute coolest thing would be to make a cameo in a movie based on something I wrote. Kind of like how Johnny Depp starred in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hunter S. Thompson made a cameo.  Or how Stephen King makes cameos in films based on his books. That’s the dream, maybe one day it will happen.

 

Q:  What advice would you give a crowd of people

A: Get out of your comfort zone, meet your neighbors, and take the risk you’ve been dreaming of. It might just be worth it.

 

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

A: I’m not sure how interesting it is, but I’m just coming to terms with being an introvert. It’s surprising to a lot of people because I’m always putting myself in social situations. I love bustling cities, meeting new people, and building community, but I realize I need downtime to recharge. I used to think needing time alone was at odds with wanting to work with people, but now I know it’s necessary for me to do my best.

 

Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

 A: Welcome, comfort and family.

 

Q:  If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?

A: I love food and trying all kinds of cuisine, so I would have a personal chef — but then I’d probably want a physical fitness trainer too!

Join in Community

You can find Elizabeth as editor in chief of The Faces of Woodstock and contributing writer for RV & Snowbird Travelers Magazine. Catch up with her on Instagram at @TheLizapproach and follow her travels with Richard in their skoolie @Littlehouseonthehwy

 

 

Leave a Reply