A film by Sarah Sellman and Greg Grano. More at American Bear.

"American Bear" captures the adventures of Sarah Sellman and Greg Grano, who embark on a 60 day, 30 state trip around the United States, critically examining American culture, compassion and fear, by relying on the kindness of strangers for a bed in a different town each night. This 10 minute excerpt, shared exclusively with KarmaTube, follows three days of the journey in South Dakota and Montana, featuring two of their hosts: a charismatic dinosaur bone collector and the granddaughter of the last warrior woman of her Cheyenne tribe. This sequence concludes with a critical conversation between Sarah and Greg as they debate the ethics of their project - are they giving back in light of receiving so much?

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  • Kristin Pedemonti

    I love the debate at the end... it's important to consider what are you giving as you are receiving. And yes, we do want to give and yes we do want and need to connect one to another. As a person who sold her home and possessions to create/facilitate a volunteer literacy project in Central America, I have been astounded by how many people have reached out to help me on my journey. It continues today 3 years after the project has ended and my life is so much the richer for it. I have couchsurfer and been cared for by strangers who quickly became friends on 4 continents so far and it is deeply humbling. Continue your journey and continue to document and share the kindnesses received and shared. Hugs from my heart to yours, Kristin

  • Magdalena

    I have greatly recieved other people's kindness as I've been travelling, and as I've been at home. But I don't feel guilty about it at all, because I reciprocate. I can think of very many times when I have opened my home to strangers, or helped strangers out in some way. It is the "only taking" or "only giving" which may be a problem, because it stops the flow of kindness. But your life is long, and taking one year and giving another year also makes a balance. As children and very old people we get more, as adults we should give. Be greatful for what you get, and acknowledge what you get from others, and strive to give back when the opportunity arises. Hey presto - kindness flows!!!

  • Susan

    In addition to being kind, these strangers appears to have made a conscious choice to stay open to visitors and to accept the consequences of their kindness, whatever that may be. The camera records the "OK" moment, when they've decided to act on their choice to let Sara & Greg stay. Maybe they saw themselves in a way that encouraged openness in this situation, but they also saw something in their visitors and the opportunity they presented. I'd like to know more about how they made the choice because I think it's something we can all do and need to do. This was a sweet little piece of film...

  • Lina

    As a traveler myself, I thought the conversation Sarah & Greg had toward the end was an important one. Giving & receiving between strangers has the potential to change the world because it can create friendships; once we meet another and learn about/share our lives, as they were on their journey, we both grow in ways we might otherwise never conceive of.

  • Fiona Richardson

    I think that people in the world are inherently good and we want to see the good in everyone around us.We are all happy to share a piece of our lies with a stranger.

  • Victoria Schmidt

    Our presence with another human being, in shared stories, is a gift on both sides. I think this experience is lovely and shows that human beings want to be kind and want to meet new people. It is only in sitting and telling our stories that we understand our common dreams, goals and hopes for a better world. I believe in the goodness of people and when given the opportunity they willingly say yes. Thanks for sharing this. I hope I can see your full documentary some day.

  • Maurice Disney

    Curiosity! Wanted to know whether in today's world where people are so sceptical of others especially when it comes to strangers,their reaction change on a sudden call or remains yet the same as being cautious and unwelcoming.

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  • Learn more about the film, American Bear, and the filmmakers, Sarah and Greg, who share their journey with us. Watch the full film.
  • Watch another example of a transformative act of generosity and hospitality to strangers: My House Is Your House.
  • Perform an act of kindness,however small, for a stranger. Need ideas?

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