Saturday, November 26, 2011


These last few months I haven't written a lot here. There honestly hasn't been a lot to say. I've been living with friends and family since March and I've been back at a normal job since April. Life was about as normal as it gets, with the exception of a place all my own to live.

On Monday, November 21st, I moved into my first apartment since July 25, 2010. It was a crazy year and a bit that I will always remember and hold close to my heart. It was a learning experience, a chance to see some of America's greatest cities from a point of view we so seldom really get to see and one of the best things I've done in my life. I loved it, hated it, miss it and am so glad it's over.

I've settled down for the moment in Orem, Utah with a full-time job doing janitorial work for thirteen office buildings, writing for a recently established online magazine in the area and working at writing a few books in my free time. I feel blessed by the support I've seen while I've been writing this and for all the people who have shared my adventures with me.

And now, I'm officially closing the blog portion of this adventure. As I said in my last post I am working on writing a book about what was going on in my life to inspire each post through out the life of this blog. It's great to look back at the time I spent living life without the basic necessities we take so much for granted and to remember that so many times I saw more caring, camaraderie and sense of community in the people who are usually looked down upon by the general public.

There have been a hand full of people in the past few months who have wanted me to tell them about how all homeless people are junkies, lazy, alcoholics with no souls or families who love them. I can't and will never do that. There are people with addiction problems. There are some who will steal from you if given the chance. There are even people who would kill another person. But I feel that in the general population of the world, there are more people per capita with addiction, kleptomania and murderous impulses with more normal living situations. More than anything, I saw normal people down on their luck. Sometimes it was a consequence to their own actions. Sometimes it was through no fault of their own.

I kept in contact with two people I met along the way. They both are off the streets and working. I know that if I went back to the same places I spent so much of my time, I'd see some of the same people, but I also know that a larger percentage have left that chapter of their lives behind. That's a good thought.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I've Figured It Out

It's been almost fifteen months since I announced my plans to travel from city to city and learn to survive without the stability of a place to live. I've been asked a lot of questions since then about whether or not I would write a book and I was never able to give a very satisfying answer whether or not I would do that. On March 31st of this year I arrived back in the house I grew up in, in the small town of Waseca, Minnesota, USA. Since that time there have been only a few new posts in this blog. There are a variety of reasons for that. One of the most prevalent being that I was tired and I needed to take sometime to live a normal life as best I could, considering my living situation has not been very stable.

As the months passed, I was able to spend a lot of time in reflection of the things I have experienced as well as engage in countless conversations about my experience. The more that time wedged itself between me then and now, the greater my desire grew to retell my story.

Everything I do has something, in some way to do with writing. It gets out of control very often, to the point that I feel that I'm observing life instead of experiencing it. I often feel like a fly on the wall in social situations and it's not rare that I lose sleep trying to figure out what happens in a characters life in one of my stories.

So for these last fifteen months, I have been thinking about how I would go about writing this book, if that was my decision, which it is. I've started, deleted or otherwise scrapped, and restarted writing this book countless times never being satisfied with how it was going.

About two weeks ago, I had the inspiration I needed to finally officially begin. The book will work hand in hand with the things I wrote in this blog, serving as the story of the entire experience and explaining what was happening at that point to cause me to write what I did.

Again, I feel the need to thank everyone who has supported me during this time. There were so many times that your support was what kept me going. While I was cold, wet, dirty, lonely, tired, uncertain of my future and unsure of myself I was held up by the prayers and love of people all over the world who regularly visited this blog. It's truly amazing to me that even now that I haven't been writing in this format, that people are continually reading about my experiences and insights. Thank you so much for everything. I could never have done this without all of you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Things I Notice

When I left the comfort of a place to live almost a year ago, there were a lot of things I was unsure of. Topping that list was where I would end up in the end, if I'd regret this choice, and my sanity. I've been back "home" for just over two months now and have taken a lot of time to reflect on seven months I spent roaming the country side, and I'm glad to say that I've got no serious questions about my sanity!

My motives were questioned a time or two. Why did I do this? It's true that I've wanted to gain exposure with the things I write, but there's many easier ways to gain readers than to leave everything behind and write about homelessness. It's a sad state our culture is in when people can't imagine that a person would want to give up everything for a time to try to get more people thinking about people who are, not less fortunate than the rest of us, but people are not fortunate at all.

It's true that many people who are living on the streets are there because of choices they've made. So, why should we help or even care about them? Because they are human beings. One of the things that separates us as humans from the rest of the animal world seems to be our selfishness and lack of caring for one another.

I've heard so much upheaval about how we treat criminals of war and terrorists we've taken prisoner in the last few years. It seems that in this world we worry more about the rights of criminals of the world more than our own citizens who are sleeping in the shadows of the very neighborhoods we live in. This sickens me. Some of the most talented, nicest, and just all-around gems of the earth are living on the streets being spit on by the most unoriginal, rudest, garbage for human beings this world has to offer.

I wish people would appreciate the things they have. I went to a Performance Art Gala about a month ago. Everyone in attendance were dressed to the nines and very few people finished their food. One woman who was sitting near me ate about a quarter of her food and the rest was thrown away. It seems as though we could feed hordes of starving children with the food that is carelessly thrown away in America, as well as some other countries I'm sure. I'm not saying ship all your left overs to the poor and needy, but please take some time to think about the things you have and appreciate it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Coming Home

On March 31st I arrived back in Minnesota where I have lived most of my life. It was the second time I had returned from being gone for an extended leave of absence and once again I find myself, because I'm such a nerd, reciting the words of Frodo Baggins, "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you know there is no going back?"

I've lived most of my life struggling to have the basic needs of human life. I know that in America most of what we see as basic needs are not needs at all, but I grew up watching my peers having nicer clothes, better toys, nicer homes, less homemade from scratch food which, as a child, I saw as better food. I don't want it to sound like I'm complaining about my upbringing, class status or anything else, the truth is I loved my childhood, and there's nothing I'd change about my upbringing. I only mention that to illustrate the fact that in leaving on this adventure, I wasn't a trust fund kid slumming, I wasn't looking for handouts, and I wasn't wanting to give that impression. All I wanted to do is what I thought someone needed to do to show anyone who would pay attention, what some people go through on a daily basis. I've made friends along the way who, as I've kept in contact with them, have watched them work their way off the streets and back to much better living conditions. That is amazing, and I'm glad for their friendship and amazed by the way they opened up to me and gave me insights into their private lives.

Sadly, this is not the end of the struggles in this country. Hard working people are still losing their jobs, many employers are still not giving their remaining employees raises in pay. With the ever rising price of gas and in turn everything else, America's lower class is sinking farther while the middle class is only just keeping their heads above the surface, so to speak. I'm sorry to say that in a world of corrupted politicians things are not going to change. It's up to us to change things, we can't fight about our petty differences anymore.

Donate time, old clothes, blankets, shoes, furniture, and if you can money to your local shelters. Something as simple as serving meals makes a world of difference to the people you serve and you will gain insight to how millions of people live, insights into their reality.

There's no way for me to pick up my life where I left it. I've seen and experienced too much to be the man I was only a year ago. Looking back on all I've done, I have no real regrets, despite what many people have said to me or about me, I've seen success in what I set out to do. This blog has been read thousands of times in over30 countries around the world, and it continues to be read by an increasingly diverse group of people. I only hope that my insights have made some sort of a difference in the world.

Check back now and then; this isn't the last post, although they will be farther between than they have been in the past.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Losing Sleep

I've had trouble sleeping for nearly half my life. At first it was a major annoyance and I'd flat out lying if I said that I don't feel the same way some nights still, but I have gotten used to it. I've learned how to see the signs that I'm about to experience one of these nights, and therefore I don't waste them laying in bed hopelessly counting sheep or some other lame way to unsuccessfully bore myself to sleep. These days I spend that time doing something to help myself.

I mentioned that I'm writing a novel. Tonight, being one of those sleepless nights, I've been able to spend sometime thinking about the things I need to write this week; the hoops I need to make these characters, whose lives become more and more real to me everyday, jump through, and which of them are going to emerge on the other side with grace and who's going to fall.

It's nearly 6AM in Phoenix, I've already watched a few of my friends on the East Coast wake up and go about their morning routines via Facebook. It's an odd feeling to know that these people, some of who are the dearest of friends I have, are waking up when I'm not even thinking about falling asleep and when it comes down to it, we're not that far apart; driving I could get there today and a flight would three maybe four hours. What a small world we live in. It gets smaller everyday and everyday each person is connected more and more to every other person in the world. When ever you think that what happens somewhere else, to someone else, doesn't matter to you or make a difference in your life, remember that you're part of this world, and each time one life is lost prematurely, we all loose identity. It's only through the cooperation of every species, every race, every human being that we can make this world what it should be. Too often are we consumed by petty differences and let them stop us from seeing the good in the world and in each other.

The novel that is currently consuming my life is about love, it's about learning about ourselves, learning from our mistakes, and helping one another be the best people we can. It's not a lesson that any of us are ever done learning but it is one that we often pretend to know whether we practice it or not. Nothing about any of us, or anything in this world for that matter, is perfect, but that doesn't give anyone an adequate excuse not to try to improve where we need to.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Update

It's been awhile since I wrote anything on here. Honestly, I don't have a lot to write about that I really haven't already, so I've decided to just let you all know what I've been doing lately.

I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. My brother Dustin and his wife Kristin live here, so I've been staying with them. It's been great to be with family again. I also have a little more family here, but I haven't had the chance to go see them as of yet, but I'll get there.

I've been filling my days with a lot of reflection. Not only reflection on the last seven months of my life and the things that have occurred in that time, but a lot about the last five years of my life, and the experiences I've had, and the people I've met. I've been taking all of those things in and have started working on a project I've thought about for sometime.

What's the project? Well, until recently I didn't really know myself, but I've come to realize that it's a book. Not a book about homelessness or the things I experienced while on the road, but a coming of age story mostly about twenty somethings and the relationships that we have in that time that teach us about ourselves and shape us to be mature enough to have the kind of relationships that last. It's not a typical love story, but romance is a pretty big theme through out, and really, if not for romantic relationships, there wouldn't be a story.

So I've kind of been shutting myself off from the outside world to work on this book. When I started, I planned on writing a novella (around 150 pages), but the story has progressed more as I've started writing and it seems like it's going to turn into a novel.

Besides sitting inside and writing all day long, I've been continually taking at least a minute of my time each day for some photography. In June 2010 I started a photography project to help strengthen my portfolio. I've been making sure to take at least one picture everyday. But no matter how many I take, one is selected as the picture of the day. Those are available for your viewing pleasure on the Sean Donner Photography Facebook page. Enjoy.

I'll keep writing here with updates on my life until I'm back in a home of my own again so keep checking back!

I love you all,


Friday, February 25, 2011

Social Networking

Most of us absolutely hate Facebook in one way or another. It's addictive. It takes over our lives. It can create unwanted drama. Sure, that all may be true, but to the homeless it's a way to connect and feel a lot less alone.

Read this article from the Los Angeles Times. You might just see how important Social Networking sites are to some people. The Wired Homeless

I can't complain about Facebook myself, The vast majority of readers find this blog from there, and for that I thank you, and everyone at Facebook... the company.