Meet Joan Mathison 💃 guide and storyteller @ Adventures with a Locavore

Joan Mathison, guide and storyteller

Adventure lover: Curious + Curator + Connection + Community + Celebrate. Should you stay or should you go? I can help you find THAT PLACE WHERE YOU BELONG.

Saint Paul  Minnesota United States

My song is “Gotta Move”
written and performed by Barbra Streisand


Gotta move, gotta get out
Gotta leave this place,
gotta find some place
Some other place,
some brand new place
Some place where each face that I see
Won’t be staring back at me
Telling me what to be and how to be it
Some place where I can just be me
Gotta move, got to get out

Gotta leave this town, gotta find some town
Some big new town, some bright new town
Some new town with new places, new lives
And most of all, some new faces

My Story

photo by Lisa Venticinque

After eight exciting years, I lost my purpose in the pandemic.*

And it was so unexpected, just like the shutdown. You can probably relate. As a planner by nature, I was caught totally off guard.

But it’s complicated. On one hand, I was happy that people were heading outdoors and discovering nature’s healing gifts, close to home. But on the other hand, they did that on their own without my help and encouragement.

So now what? I was really afraid I wouldn’t be able to find another purpose that felt so right, that would energize me as much.

How could I make a difference in the post pandemic world. What would that look like?

I had to take a deep breath and shift my thinking, consider other options, and look for the Big Picture. It took a while but there it was – right in front of me all the time.

Nature is a feature of PLACE, and every place has a story. As a locavore, place was what I really focused on.

We celebrate a specific place by eating fresh food grown by local farmers, supporting small local shops, artists, and businesses, and learning local history.

I named my business,  Adventures with a Locavore  because I believed in that concept and love adventures.

Then I learned that where you live, has a huge impact on your happiness and well being.

So I thought, teaching people about the science and art of “place” was true to my core, and no one else seemed to be doing it – an opportunity for my business, Adventures with A Locavore, to grow. And place was a topic big enough for me to study for a lifetime. I was curious and believe other people will be, too.

Coming out of the pandemic, knowing you can work from anywhere, there is a broadband today. Many people are itching to move.

People are thinking about upsizing in the suburbs or downsizing in the city, living in a small town or a cabin in the woods or closer to family.

So, how do you find that place where you truly belong.

I thought about my own place, my own life, and all the places I’ve lived – 10 places in four states. How about you?

In Denver. The mountains were wonderful – a place to escape –  trout fishing picnics in the summer, skiing in the winter. But the perfect weather had me missing those grey days that make you really appreciate the sun. Another delightful place, Arbor Michigan, a college town, something was also missing for me. I found it in Chicago on the river, and the big lake.

I thought about growing up in the new suburb of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, being carved out of cornfields. Not much else to do there in my jaded teenage mind, but the Purgatory Creek was magical, constantly changing throughout the seasons and it flowed near Prince’s Graffiti Bridge. It was a special place you could find and share.

That’s when I realized how important being near water was for me to be happy.

Where I live now is the perfect place for me. I live in the creative, urban neighborhood on the edge of the river gorge in St. Paul, surrounded by nature and history with family nearby. I’m home.

What’s your perfect place?

You can find that place where you belong too. Come with me we’ll have adventures. You can learn about good places to move, and whether you stay, or whether you go, how to put down roots in your place. that place where you belong.

– Joan

*see Joan’s “before the Pandemic” story here

What’s Next

*Coming Fall 2021*


That Place Where You Belong

Explore possibilities. Set down roots.

A 90-minute in-person workshop held outdoors in an extraordinary place
a Virtual Version in the Village


  • Where you live impacts your health and happiness
  • Create your plan to move and/or learn to love where you live
  • Support the Saint Paul Parks Conservancy

You will learn:

    • Every place has a story.
    • Should you stay or should you go?
    • Importance of where you grew up
    • Does your personality fit the city/neighborhood?
    • Revival of the “15-minute village”
    • The French art of flaneuring
    • Your “Third Place”

photo by Village Member Lisa Venticinque

About Joan

Joan is a writer, history nerd, pastry chef and community development professional certified in sustainability leading workshops in extraordinary Twin Cities places.


Connect with Joan

Join us for one of our Athena Village Salons or AHA Conversations


Follow our 30 Women 30 Stories mojo Playlist on Spotify