“Every Point on the Map” or Why My Heart Has the Flutters

Have you ever had an idea spark at some point in your brain, move from the incubation stages slowly and deliberately, then continuously remerge in your consciousness until it demands to be reckoned with?

I would imagine those types of ideas are the fabric from which “Bucket Lists” are constructed.  They’re the kinds of ideas that send little currants of electricity down your spine, or through your teeth.  They’re the visions that, when played out in your head, give your heart a little flutter, or awaken the butterflies in your stomach.

They’re the kinds of ideas that aren’t uttered aloud until you can own them.  And, until you can own the results of your utterances.

One such result might be that by uttering your idea aloud, you’ve implied some kind of social contract with the person who heard you.  Or, perhaps a contract with yourself.

Some people blurt their ideas in the early stages, before they’re fully developed.  Others harbor them covertly until they’ve weighed every risk associated and every aspect or contingency.  I fall more into the second camp.  And that’s why it’s not until NOW that I’ve decided to publicly announce a project I’ll be starting in February called, “Every Point on the Map.”

Every Point on the Map will be a ten year journey to visit each one of Oklahoma’s 593 townships or cities and have a meaningful conversation with one person in each place.  My daughter will be traveling with me, documenting the journey through two types of digital video and with two different cameras.  Every Point on the Map is something of a “bucket list-type” idea that has been incubating for a while, and by virtue of writing this beginning post – to me – it’s like forming a social contract with Oklahomans at large.  To me, it’s like the beginning of trying to introduce the idea.  And, to introduce you to the “why” behind the idea.

I am a social scientist for two reasons.

The first will always be: To help solve human problems and enhance human lives.  I will never cease to be fascinated at how a bit of listening, some degree of guidance or resources, and a lot of human determination on the part of someone who wishes to change their life creates miracles.  I feel comfortable, energized and inspired every day as I work through the steps of training new professionals, researching unanswered questions, or connecting with someone for a brief time of stress…knowing full well I might not see them again. Ever.

The second reason, however, is because my studies have helped me see the world in a new way.  I feel as though I take daily strides upon our earth with a permanent set of people-glasses through which to view life.  I love tracking feedback loops when groups of colleagues are making plans.  I love watching how people set boundaries with one another, or decide to take action at certain times but not others.  And if I’m to be open with you, my people-glasses help me understand myself too.  So, in the spirit of understanding myself…

Recently, I completed a personal goal that zapped my Essence.  I know that I can replenish that deficit by exploring.  Or, as the Australian Aborigines put it: “going on walkabout.”  Exploring, or perhaps, getting away from normal life for a while, helps me in many ways.  I like to learn.  I’m an introvert, so I get to personally “recharge my batteries.”  I like to connect with new people.  And, exploring in Oklahoma has extra perks for me because I love our state so very much.

In fact, exploring in Oklahoma gives me great joy.  It’s where I feel my roots of being a fourth generation Oklahoman are pulled along by the wings of delightful energy I encounter when conversing with another citizen of our state…and discovering another square inch of its complicated, intrinsic culture.  And, it is where I believe I’ll get back my Essence that’s recently been zapped.

I’ve thought a lot about this journey.  We’ll have to visit an average of 59 cities per year to reach our goal.  Rachel is 26 now and will be 36 when we’re finished.  I’m 50, so I’ll be 60.  It’s 2014, so it will be 2024.  Some of the eldest members of my family are over 90 now.  They may or may not be around when we’re done.  We will have experienced at least one more, and possibly two more U.S. Presidents by then.

But more than that, my daughter, our equipment, my car and I will have traveled to  Every Point on the Map and will have encountered .000169 percent of our state’s population.  We’ll have a great many stories, photos and video clips to share with you along the way. And…

I can’t wait to get started!




11 thoughts on ““Every Point on the Map” or Why My Heart Has the Flutters”

  1. Cool! Excited to see where the journey takes you in many ways. Looking forward to the next ten years! How are you going to decide with whom you will have a meaningful conversation? I am thankful that you love Oklahoma so much to do this project. Can’t wait!

    1. Hello, Donna – thanks for your well wishes! I thought perhaps I’d write the “why” post. I think, because so many have asked, the very next post we’ll write is “how.” How will we decide who to ask? How will we decide where to go? How will we, with so many questions to ask, narrow our main prompts down? We are working on those logistics as we speak…and will put that info out next week! Take care, RDK

  2. Absolutely brilliant!! I can’t wait to follow along. Having something to look forward to keeps us all going!

    1. Hi, David – we are SO thrilled to begin our journey. Thanks for the encouragement, and we look forward to seeing you online along the way! ~ RDK

  3. Kelly,

    What an idea! The possibilities are endless, the memories with your daughter priceless and the folks you’ll meet along the way are the best in the world; I’m quite sure of it. Let me know how I can help in any way and I’ll be cheering you along…for 10 years. 🙂


    1. Thanks for checking in, Rose ~ you are such an ambassador for OK in your own right. I’m grateful for your presence along the way!

    1. Can’t wait for you to come along, Prairie wife! And speaking of…when we’ve got our system down after a few pilot trips, we’ll be inviting “ride-withs” as well 🙂 Have a wonderful Monday, RDK

  4. I’m so excited for you, and for us readers, I can barely tell you. Butterflies, RDK. Happy butterflies.
    I love how you describe the idea incubation, and I love that you acknowledge a need to nourish the deficit created by all that hard work. YES. Exploring, close to home, what a fabulous solution.
    Ten years. So much can change during this slice of time, it’s a bit overwhelming, but exciting.
    Congratulations and very best wishes!!

    1. Thank you so much, Marie. You are one of the very special people in Oklahoma that help provide the faith that there are probably more very special people out there. Bless you – and bless your own incubations as they come about (because I KNOW they do! 🙂

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