Becoming A Trustworthy Listener with Andrew Forsthoefel

Product Description
$ 1.99

MP3 Download

Andrew Forsthoefel created for himself a coming of age ritual. After graduating from college, he took a year to walk 4,000 miles across America. Along the way he experienced the hospitality of strangers and encountered countless remarkable stories. After several months on the road Andrew began to realize that people are generally kind-hearted. He explains, “I began to realize that people were basically kind and generous and the way people were responding to me had a lot to do with the way I was seeing them. I was seeing them as worthy of my time. I was seeing them as worthy of my respect and even reverence, and seeing them as teachers.” As he traveled he learned that if he could become a “trustworthy listener” people will share their unique “song” with him. He says, “My job is to become trustworthy, expectationless, agendaless, nonjudgmental. To become a safe environment so that of your own volition you would choose to offer me something. You would gift me or honor me with something. I’m not going to steal it from you. That’s this work. That’s this practice of becoming a trustworthy listener.” Listen and be inspired by this authentic voice as you hear the many remarkable stories of his encounters on the road. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Andrew Forsthoefel is a writer, radio producer, and public speaker based in Northampton, Massachusetts. After graduating from Middlebury College in 2011 with a degree in environmental studies, he spent 11 months walking across the United States, gathering stories along the way. He first recounted part of that journey in a radio story featured on This American Life. He facilitates workshops on walking and listening as practices in personal transformation, interconnection, and conflict resolution.

Andrew Forsthoefel is the author of:

To learn more about the work of Andrew Forsthoefel go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • The questions Andrew asked himself that precipitated his decision to walk across America
  • What were his first encounters as Andrew set off on his trek
  • How did Andrew work with fear as it arose
  • How Andrew handled racial prejudice
  • What kinds of questions did he ask of those he met on the road
  • What does it mean to be a trustworthy listener
  • How the poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Walt Whitman were his companions
  • How the experience of solitude is a privilege not a deprivation
  • What are some of the examples of the many kindnesses given to Andrew on the road
  • How he dedicated his walk to be of benefit to others
  • How he survived walking through Death Valley in the hottest time of year

Host: Justine Willis Toms         Interview Date: 4/1/2017         Program Number: 3610

Music Playlist

From Album: A Windham Hill Retrospective
Artist: Alex DeGrassi
1992 Windham Hill (2010 Valley Entertainment reissue) 2-VWH-21011 

Opening Essay: Track 01 Overland
Music Break 1: Track 02 Causeway
Music Break 2: Track 03 Western
Music Break 3: Track 04 Window

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review Write a review