Cuba!!

Is this really happening?

YES!! As a present to myself for getting a new full time job, I figured I'd blow what little savings I have left and travel somewhere NO ONE in my family has ever been before! 

I will definitely be posting a full post about it when I get back, but I felt the need to put a placeholder in because my flight leaves in 3.5 hours and I'M SO EXCITED!!

I'm bringing 3 ukes, 100 SPF sunblock, and a very limited Spanish vocabulary. At least I know how to ask where the bathroom is, and that's the most important thing right?

 sorry to whoever I took this from on the internet! 

sorry to whoever I took this from on the internet! 

Savannah, Georgia 9/27-9/29

Savannah, Georgia 9/27-9/29

Now that my trip is over and I'm finally getting settled in, I'm going to catch up on writing about each of the places I visited on my trip!

  Johanna took me on a tour of iconic Savannah places, including Forsyth Fountain which was spraying pink water (it's hard to tell from the photo)

Johanna took me on a tour of iconic Savannah places, including Forsyth Fountain which was spraying pink water (it's hard to tell from the photo)

My time in Savannah was brief, but beautiful. I stayed with another family member I had never met before! Johanna is also my first cousin once removed (the sister of Michael who I stayed with in Gloucester). 

Savannah is like nowhere I'd ever been before. Many of the houses are huge, grand, and painted beautifully. Spanish moss hangs off many of the trees, making you feel like you're in a sort of fairytale jungle. Speaking of fairytale, there's a lot of folklore and ghost stories floating around. I bought a post card about "The Waving Girl" for my friend Leah. According to the legend, she was a young teen when she fell in love with a sailor who had to go on a voyage and promised that she would wait for him at the river front where she'd be able to see him as soon as his ship returned. Only, his ship never brought him back and she waited, waving a white handkerchief at every ship that came into the harbor for 44 YEARS! She became known as the official greeter and was very well known, which is why a statue was erected in her honor. I just kept looking at that statue, and I couldn't help but feel sorry for that girl that she waited all of her life for some boy who never came back. I would NEVER do that. In the post card, I wrote that I wished I could have been friends with that girl because I never would have let her waste her time like that would have encouraged her to MOVE ON and see the world! But then again, who knows if the legend is really true. Wikipedia tells a slightly different story. 

  Here's a better photo of Forsyth Fountain where you can see that the water is indeed pink!

Here's a better photo of Forsyth Fountain where you can see that the water is indeed pink!

Anywho, I was only in Savannah for two days. Most of the people I taught were ones Johanna introduced me to, or who I met as I was wandering. My favorite student was this little unicorn in the photo below!

  They really do exist!

They really do exist!

One of the best parts of my stay in Savannah was meeting my 2nd cousin Gian and hanging out with him and his girlfriend Katie. He's an aspiring beer brewer and I even got to see where he works and taste some of his homemade meade!

 M y cousin Gian looking like a rockstar. It runs in the family!

My cousin Gian looking like a rockstar. It runs in the family!

Number of people taught: 7

Gloucester, North Carolina

Gloucester, North Carolina

I was without a working computer for a few weeks, so I really fell behind on blogging. Now that I only have 2 weeks left on my trip, I'm doing my best to catch up and write about every state I've been to so far.

  Sunrise view over the marsh in Gloucester

Sunrise view over the marsh in Gloucester

My first cousin once removed (the son of my paternal grandma's brother) Michael, invited me to stay with his family in Gloucester even though they'd never met me before. Michael and Traci, and their children (my second cousins) Eirene, Josiah, and Bethany treated me like I'd always been a part of their lives the moment I pulled up to the house. I didn't get to meet their oldest Nicholas because he's away at school. I felt at home because I was pretty much immediately integrated into their routine. I helped feed the chickens and shared a room with their youngest, Bethany, who stayed up talking to me until well after midnight because as she put it, "I've never met you before. I just have so much to tell you!"

  Bethany performing to an imaginary audience at the beach. She was jumping, bowing, and making up her own songs when she thought we weren't looking.

Bethany performing to an imaginary audience at the beach. She was jumping, bowing, and making up her own songs when she thought we weren't looking.

My immediate family has a particular way of putting everyone to work. I grew up with it being the norm. If I had friends come over for dinner, they would have to help make the pizza dough. If my dad drove us to the mall, he was going to bring us to home depot and have us carry things to the car on the way.  It's common practice for my dad to have my brothers and their friends help with construction around the house when they're hanging out there. The fact that I picked up and dropped off the kids from school, helped with homework, and fed the animals a few times added to the feeling of belonging. I was so glad to help because Josiah had broken his thumb a few days before and had to be taken for appointments and surgery (he's doing well, he's so brave!). Knowing that Michael and my dad grew up together working on my Great Uncle Jerry's farm makes a lot of sense when I see how they both operate now.

  Bethany's classmates loved playing!

Bethany's classmates loved playing!

  Future uke teacher?

Future uke teacher?

The day before I left I was able to have lunch with Bethany at her elementary school and teach her classmates during recess. She taught a few of her classmates with me, and then they began teaching each other! I had only brought 4 ukes with me and I wished I had brought all 9 because the students were so into learning and teaching each other. 

Later we picked up Eirene from high school and they took me on a tour of the main part of town. They said it was just down the road, but it took 20 minutes to drive there. I am obviously not used to places being so spread out after living in NYC. Of course Bethany made sure to bring a uke with her into the ice cream store and taught our cashier how to play. I have no doubts in my mind that we share the same DNA. 

  Bethany's classmates

Bethany's classmates

The morning I left, Michael and Traci made sure I took a huge tub of peanutbutter with me in case I got hungry on the way to Savannah. I got to hold a chick that had just hatched in their incubator, and I dropped Bethany off at school. Before she got out of the car she said, "You know, I'm really glad we're family." Me too, Bethany! I'll miss all of you! 

Total People Taught: 22

Check out the rest of the photos here!

Richmond, VA

Richmond, VA

The longest solo drive I'd ever done brought me from Philly to Richmond (around 250 miles) at 6pm on Thursday 9/21 in a little over 5 hours with only one stop for gas. I'm building up my driving stamina, because I have much longer ones coming up. 

  The most beautiful wall of ukes at Fan Guitar & Ukulele

The most beautiful wall of ukes at Fan Guitar & Ukulele

On my first night, I met a couch surfer named Julia from Vienna, and it turns out she's going to be in New Orleans at the same time as me! I taught her ukulele and she taught me and other guests Hungarian folk dancing (lots of twirling and stomping was involved). 

  Natalie at the shop showing off her amazing skills on a pocket uke

Natalie at the shop showing off her amazing skills on a pocket uke

The next morning I went on my first run since starting the trip. It's hard to keep up an exercise regimen when you're driving a lot and trying to eat as cheaply as possible. My college friend Courtney is now studying to be an art teacher at Virginia Commonwealth University and showed me a good place in the center of campus to bring my wagon of ukes. When I packed up that wagon and started walking, I felt like Matilda wheeling around her red wagon of library books (90's kids you know what I mean).

I stopped at an amazing ukulele store, Fan Guitar & Ukulele, I had seen the night before and ended up have to force myself out the door so I didn't buy any more instruments. The Guilele (guitar + ukulele) was really calling to me. John Gonzalez, the owner of the store, gave me 3 free books to teach people with. I'm learning that the ukulele community is so supportive and I can't wait to meet more people who play along they way. 

As I walked through campus pulling my wagon of ukes, I started having doubts. What if the students think I'm really weird? What if no one wants to learn? What if I hit a pothole in the middle of the street and all the ukes spill out and cars and people run over them? But all my worries were unfounded. After I mustered up the courage to ask one group of students if they wanted to learn, tons of people kept coming over! I ended up teaching 52 students over the course of the three hours I was there. One student even left, bought a ukulele from Fan (which is down the road from campus), and came back with it! 

 My Uber driver's aunt and uncle are ukulele builders! It's a small world.

My Uber driver's aunt and uncle are ukulele builders! It's a small world.

I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of people there, especially at the college, since I've been in a few cities in VA before and they were pretty homogeneous. It seems like there is some divide in Richmond in the city between the more affluent and progressive college area and others, but it's hard to really understand all of the complexities of an area when you're only there for 2 days.

I got a little freaked out because after my first night, I went to my car to get my ukes and saw a young man on the phone standing near his car that had been robbed the night before. A window was smashed with glass all over the street. It had been parked mere feet away from mine. It could have easily been my car that was broken into.

I'm sharing this because I think it's important to think about the fact that I am a woman traveling alone and as fun as it is, I'm fairly vulnerable and need to stay vigilant. That being said, I've been having an amazing time and am excited to keep going on my journey, meeting and teaching more people!

These students talked about starting a Ukulele club on campus next semester. As I watched them exchange information to stay in touch I thought about the ukulele club I started in college called The Suny Plattsburgh Uke A Dooks. That experience had an immeasurable impact on my life and is one of the reasons I'm traveling and teaching today. 

Total # of People Taught: 59

Next stop: Gloucester, North Carolina to stay with family members I've never met before! Check out the rest of the photos from Richmond at the Yes Uke Can Project FB page.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

10/6/16-10/11/16

I'd never been to New Orleans before, and my friend was getting married there at a time that worked out really well for my trip, so it was a natural next stop! 

 Louis met me for the meeting and it was so hot during the day that we took naps where we could!

Louis met me for the meeting and it was so hot during the day that we took naps where we could!

I was invited to teach a group of seniors at Lakeview Sheapherd Senior Center and we had a blast!

NOLA7.jpg

I also stopped by the Tulane University Campus with my uke wagon and taught some students.

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I also taught a bunch of people I met along the way! Here are some photos I managed to take.

Julia, who I originally met in Richmond at the start of my trip was in town at the same time as me, so of course we met up! We're both going to be in Nashville at the same time as well. It's crazy how you can meet a random person from a completely different place in the world, and run into them so many times in one trip. 

 Please excuse our derpy faces. NOLA is very hot. 

Please excuse our derpy faces. NOLA is very hot. 

Most exciting of all was the wedding. Although, I didn't bring my ukulele with me to the ceremony, I did get Mallory and Aaron one as a wedding gift!

 Here's a blurry photo of their first dance! They are beautiful people and I'm so excited for them!!

Here's a blurry photo of their first dance! They are beautiful people and I'm so excited for them!!

NOLA was hot and sticky, full of greasy food and amazing music. I even tried alligator bites. Everyone says it, but they really did taste like chicken.

People taught: 28

All the way down Florida and back up again

9/29/16-10/5/16

I hadn't been to Florida since I was 7 years old and barely remembered it so I was happy to continue running away from winter there.  I left Savannah armed with trail mix, the Hamilton soundtrack, and a full tank of gas for my 500 mile trip. This was the scariest part of my trip so far. Not only was I almost run into the highway divider by an 18 wheeler, but following that I had to drive through 2 hours of on and off thunder storms. 

I finally arrived in Davie to meet my friend and former coworker Jon at his dad's restaurant, Pizza Loft.  He was still in class when I arrived, but I was super hungry after driving all day, so I ate a solo luxurious pizza dinner by myself with the best garlic knots I've ever had in my life. 

 Pizza Loft Represent!

Pizza Loft Represent!

The next day, I went to med school classes with Jon at Nova Southeastern University and taught some of his classmates after sitting in on some classes (in borrowed scrubs). Med school is definitely not for me, but I did enjoy giving students a study break!

  Med student for a day! Jon let me borrow his scrubs.

Med student for a day! Jon let me borrow his scrubs.

My next stop was to stay with Taylor (another friend and former coworker) in Surfside Miami. I was welcomed to her house with a Friday night dinner and a fresh coconut that her dad chopped open with a machete in the backyard. It was delicious.

  I spent as much time at the beach with Taylor as possible, when it wasn't raining.

I spent as much time at the beach with Taylor as possible, when it wasn't raining.

I stayed in Miami for a few days. My waterproof uke really came in handy, and I was able to teach people I met at the beach. I don't think I'll ever get all of the sand out of it completely, but it was very worth it. 

  Makala Waterman meets Atlantic Ocean

Makala Waterman meets Atlantic Ocean

On my way up to Boca Raton for the night, I made a few stops.

I stopped by Pizza Loft again and played for the cooks who make the most amazing garlic knots ever. I seriously miss those buttery, garlicky, knots of heaven.

Next I stopped by the Penny Lane Music Emporium in Fort Lauderdale to meet the owner, Fernando. I started following him on Instagram because he always posts pictures of people "adopt" instruments at his shop and I think it's awesome! It was so great to meet another person trying to put music in people's hands and fingers. I hope we meet again one day. If you ever find yourself in Fort Lauderdale, I highly recommend checking out his shop!

Next I stopped to meet some good friends of my dad from his high school days. Bob, Karen, and their kids were so welcoming and it was great to hear some embarrassing new stories about my father.

I stayed the night with some more family friends I'd never met before, and let their adorable granddaughter play around with a uke. 

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I taught 22 people in South Florida! My next destination was Tallahassee to stay with Jon's friend Kevin. Off to the panhandle!!

I stayed with Kevin neat FSU and took my wagon of ukes to campus in the morning. I taught about 15 college students which was really fun! But then I lost my big sign which was not as fun. Oh well, I hope whoever finds it enjoys it. 

FL2.jpg

Florida was so sunny and I got to reconnect with people I love, plus meet new wonderful ones! 

People taught: 45

Philly

Philly

The night before I left I was so nervous I couldn't sleep and I actually felt nauseous. When I drove over the Betsy Johnson Bridge and saw the Philly skyline for the first time it hit me, I'm really doing this! I may or may not have started crying... 

   The Mayor Jim Kenney addressing the crowd about how "the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection" needs to be an accepting place for refugees. 

The Mayor Jim Kenney addressing the crowd about how "the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection" needs to be an accepting place for refugees. 

I made it there in time for International Day of Peace, and stumbled upon a beautiful ceremony at the Capitol building, where I met some incredibly compassionate people working towards justice for refugees in Philadelphia. I heard the mayor speak, saw a live music performance, and got free insomnia cookies! It was a good morning. Here are some people I met there. 

One of those was Faez, a man who moved here from Iraq 3 months ago with his mother who is battling cancer. We started talking because he was drawing and I had my ukulele out. He said that he didn't know many people yet and is learning English, but he trusted artists more because he is one himself. 

We spoke for almost an hour and eventually he shared with me that his family had been killed back in 2003 and he was trying to start a  new life here.

Faez gave me permission to share his story, and I hope I've done a decent job of it. I enjoyed speaking with him and was really moved by his optimism. I'm glad I was able to make him smile by teaching him a few chords.  

 

Lanica, who started Cambodian American Girls Empowering (CAGE) as a way to preserve culture through dance. Check out her awesome group! 

My friend and former roommate Dani took me sight seeing later on. The line to see the Liberty Bell was ridiculously long, so we peeked at it through a window which was just as good. We ended up on a rooftop bar at the 51st story of a building which had an incredible view of the city.

Later we met up with our friend Bridget and went to an open mic, where I performed and taught the bartender how to play a few chords so he gave us a free drink!

  Me, Bridget, and Dani

Me, Bridget, and Dani

Great times, awesome people, Philly is an A+.

Total # of People Taught: 12

See more pictures from Philly here

Thank You's Before I Go

Thank You's Before I Go

Before I leave for my trip, I need to say thank you to some people who have made this possible, however they aren't the only ones. So many coworkers, friends, and people I've met have encouraged me as well and I would not feel confident doing something this crazy if they hadn't.

If you've listened to my silly ideas, let me teach you, jammed out with me, or donated to or shared my project, I am also extremely grateful to you.

THE COUPLE WHO STARTED IT ALL

Gary and Joan Moore, long time friends of my parents, gave me my first ukulele when I turned 12. I'd never even seen one before. Although I didn't get around to playing it for a few years and accidentally spilled a bowl of cereal inside of it one morning (that was a bad day), I eventually learned "On Top of Spaghetti" and was hooked.

I can't find the words to show how grateful I am to them for bringing this beautiful instrument into my life out of the blue. They're both very active in the music community in Staten Island where they play in a band called Allergic to B's and spend time bringing arts access to youth in the area.  


MY FAMILY

Growing up with four brothers (from left to right - Avery, Stephan, David, and Ryan) ensured that there was never a dull moment. For all the times we fought over the best cereal, the tv channel, the front seat, and who got to name our next pet, there was another time when they took turns to care for me after my after my knee surgery, dropped me off for work, or held me as I cried. I don't say it a lot, but I'm so glad I didn't have a sister and wouldn't trade a single one of them (except maybe for Jack). Thanks for teaching me how to love unconditionally because if there's anything I thought I couldn't forgive, it would be Ryan fingerpainting in my library books when I was 10 and Stephan dating my friend in middle school, but I've gotten over those things (kindof).

My parents Paul and Michele have always pushed me to be the best I can be. They guided me and set amazing examples of what it looks like to be a genuine and compassionate person, making sure I was aware of the bigger picture when growing up. They're not too happy that I left a teaching career track last year, but I know it's just because they want to make sure I'll be secure in the future. I want them to realize that it's because I feel secure that I finally feel confident enough to act on my dreams. You are the best kind of people.


GRANDMA NORA

She is hands down my favorite being on this planet. This strong and beautiful 91 year old woman has taught about being forgiving, staying positive, and that you're never too old to be a little ridiculous. I could try to go on, but the words to describe how much she means to me elude me. Basically, she's hilarious and amazing.

Classic Nora Quotes:

  • At Thanksgiving - "Are you going to take the stuffing out of its A@$ or what?"

  • A pep talk - "If you think positively, positive things will happen to you."

  • When she saw my first tattoo - "Well, that's not going to come off. Too bad."

  • After I eat garlic - "Good luck getting a boyfriend now. I can smell you from a mile away."


WHOEVER IT WAS THAT CAUSED MY SKIING ACCIDENT

Four years ago I obliterated my ACL skiing for the first and last time when I tried to avoid someone in front of me on the trail and fell. I had been an avid runner and was crushed when I had trouble just walking in the months before and after my surgery. That summer, I worked as a 2nd year tutor counselor for upward bound while healing physically and emotionally. The year before I had taken students on runs and hikes, and that summer I could barely walk up the stairs. I had to be creative to connect with students in other ways which is where ukulele came in. I started playing more, and they wanted me to teach them. I bought a second uke so I could teach more kids. One week, a student came back with a ukulele she had gotten over the weekend. I realized how much I loved teaching and how much joy it brought to others. That's how I decided to start The SUNY Plattsburgh Uke A Dooks when school started in the fall.

Without my injury, I don't know if I would have realized how much I loved teaching others how to play. So thank you mystery skiier. And don't feel bad, I'm all recovered now.


Last but not least, I need to be super mushy and thank my boyfriend Louis Rassaby, who has helped me with so many things that I can't list them all, but most of all has not for one second tried to talk me out of this even though I'm leaving for an unspecified amount of time. He's awesome. Also, he designed my amazing business cards. #sorrynotsorryforembarrassingyou #cellolele

Camp Counselor for a week

Camp Counselor for a week

A few months ago one of my closest friends Ali asked me if I wanted to work as a counselor for a week at the camp her family has been running for over a decade. Camp Wah-Nee is a sports camp that runs all summer long. This was the first year that  but this summer they were trying something new and hosting Camp17's first #bestcampever with special guests youtube stars Tyler Oakley and Bethany Mota. I had no idea who they were, but since my fellowship ended around the same time I was happy to be a counselor for a week! Ali surprised me with a new waterproof ukulele when I got there on July 19th, which was perfect for hanging out at the lake. I'd brought 4 others with me so I could teach campers. 

  Here's a picture of my new makala waterman, decorated by Chris Hoffensetz (an amazing artist and Camp Wah-Nee counselor)

Here's a picture of my new makala waterman, decorated by Chris Hoffensetz (an amazing artist and Camp Wah-Nee counselor)

I was a camp counselor for a bunk of 13 and 14 year old girls who were super sweet! It was a goal of mine to teach all of them how to play at least one chord. One of my campers had brought her own uke, so we had 6 in the cabin. Campers from other bunks were coming in to ask if they could borrow them and learn as well. I lost count of how many campers learned a few chords, but I think it was somewhere around 40 or so. 

  A few of the campers and all of the ukuleles!

A few of the campers and all of the ukuleles!

When we went to arts and crafts, Bethany Mota joined us. Katie ran back to the bunk to get her ukulele for Bethany to sign and the session turned into a sing along where another camper taught Bethany how to play "I'm Yours." It was really adorable. I wish I had a video, but you'll just have to imagine it. 

  Some of my campers with the signed uke

Some of my campers with the signed uke

Due to a hand injury I didn't get to participate in some of the camp activities like the trapeze (which I was really bummed about) but there were plenty I did get to do like watch The Parent Trap on a big screen with the entire camp, dance like crazy at the silent disco and neon dance party, and perform in the camp talent show (the campers blew me away)!

  Teddi learned really quickly!

Teddi learned really quickly!

At the end of the week we brought campers to the airport to fly back home. Some had come from other states and even different countries. 

I stayed with Teddi for about 7 hours until her flight, trying to keep the 14 year old entertained. She was awesome and easy going fortunately, and we wandered in and out of pretty much every shop in Terminal 4 at JFK airport. I also taught her how to play "Youth" by Troye Sivan because she had sung it with some friends in the camp talent show (her first singing performance EVER)! The other people waiting for the flight seemed pretty entertained. 

She texted me the next day saying she had bought her very own ukulele! 

Overall, it was an amazing week. I even got to meet Tyler and Bethany, who were pretty nice, normal people. Thank you to Camp Wah-Nee and Camp 17 for including me!

  Many of the other counselors were international, ranging from England, to Scotland, to Australia and more! I miss them already! It was such a treat to work with amazing people for the week.

Many of the other counselors were international, ranging from England, to Scotland, to Australia and more! I miss them already! It was such a treat to work with amazing people for the week.

How it all began

How it all began

One of my first memories is singing along to Eric Clapton's 'Layla' (still my favorite song) in the car with my dad. Ever since I can remember, music has been the force that most strongly connects me with other people. I've been in choruses, musicals, and a few failed band attempts. I've cried listening to old folk songs songs with my best friend, and had more singalongs to "Bohemian Rhapsody" than I can remember. I've played open mics in other countries and sung 80's songs in the subway with strangers. When I think of the most positive experiences in my life, many of them have to do with music. 

  My dad, older brother, and I fooling around with our first webcam and some instruments sometime in the 1990's

My dad, older brother, and I fooling around with our first webcam and some instruments sometime in the 1990's

I started learning guitar from my dad when I was 16. When I played my first original song about going away to college for friends and they cried, I learned that I could actually connect with people on an emotional level through music. Since then, I've learned a few string instruments mostly through the internet. Ukulele is by far my favorite.

Why? So many reasons.

  • They ALWAYS sound happy.
  • They're super portable, I bring one almost everywhere I go.
  • They come in all sorts of colors and patterns.
  • They're much more affordable than other instruments.
  • They're kid sized and arthritis friendly (I've been teaching my grandma).
  • They're the gateway instrument. When you learn one string instrument, you can pick up another!
  • They make people smile.
  • You don't need to take yourself seriously on a uke.
  • I could go on, but most importantly, they're relatively easy to learn. 

So why did I attempt to make a website about ukuleles when I'm a cave person and tend to avoid technology? To connect with people all over and document my journey. I've also taught many people throughout the past few years and want to start keeping track and share their accomplishments with the world! In college I started a club called The Uke-A-Dooks, where people who had never played an instrument before could learn. Those who had stage fright could come practice playing with other people and gain confidence. College romances even formed over the 4 strings and romantic tones. We would perform silly covers at college functions and fundraisers. I became known around campus for shoving a uke in the arms of anyone who showed any amount of interest.

  The SUNY Plattsburgh Uke A Dooks volunteering at a children's museum in fall of 2012. That's me in the center with the rainbow sweatshirt and pineapple shaped uke.

The SUNY Plattsburgh Uke A Dooks volunteering at a children's museum in fall of 2012. That's me in the center with the rainbow sweatshirt and pineapple shaped uke.

This past year I started the Crown Heights Ukulele Club. I've met so many new people from all walks of life. I've seen adults who thought they didn't have a musical bone in their body gain confidence enough to perform in front of families at the Brooklyn Children's Museum. I've even traded ukulele lessons for donuts and haircuts. My favorite thing to see is someone I've taught, teaching someone else. Spreading the joy of playing.

Now I want to spread it further and farther. I'm taking a journey to teach as many people as I can across the US, and I need your help! Do you know anyone who would want some free lessons? Coworkers? A school? Congregation? Random group of friends? I'm going all over and stopping in a lot of places. I'll also gladly accept any donations, or a place to stay along the way. Check out my gofundme.

As I go, I'll feature people I meet and the songs they play! Let's all connect through the power of music because ukuleles are one thing that can make anyone smile. 

In the words of the incredible Amanda Palmer's song 'Ukulele Anthem',

"Ukulele small and fierceful
Ukulele brave and peaceful
You can play the ukulele too, it is painfully simple
Play your ukulele badly, play your ukulele loudly
Ukulele banish evil
Ukulele save the people
Ukulele gleaming golden from the top of every steeple...

So play your ukulele"