*Listen for regional expressions. Ask what they mean and there they came from.
*Ask and listen for people’s stories.
*Take a lot of photos, including plants and animals.
*Use your senses: touch, feel, smell.
*Research after you see something unusual (e.g. boots on fence posts. What do they mean?)
*Watch for town names. Ask locals where the town name originated.
*Avoid tourist attractions. Take the back roads to add flavor to the story.
*Use history to spin fiction.
*Look for controversy. Talk to people. What are they worrying about; what divides them?
* Watch for historical markers.
*Be aware of connections to develop a theme: We are connected to other people through our experiences and similarities. It’s not about the place as much as interactions and connections.