The Road Less Travelled By
Dennis Palubeski

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Dennis, a writer, poet and storyteller who has experienced intermittent homelessness throughout his lifetime sat down with us to discuss his process coming out and speaking publicly to his experience on the street. Transformation, empowerment and the ability to have a choice in life all underlie a complex, candid and hopeful discussion with a man who has overcome homelessness.

Participant Reflections

The Road Less Travelled By
Dennis Palubeski

Each workshop produces a creative participant reflection – a personal take away from the story they just heard – that is voluntarily shared with the wider community.
We believe that personal narratives have the power to connect individuals across socioeconomic boundaries, and that the rich creative ability of our community is the most effective tool we can wield against the stigma that prevents necessary social change.

Featured Artist

The Road Less Travelled By
Dennis Palubeski


Sandra Szabo

"My, my, you have grown"

Acrylic and acrylic gouache on 11"X15" canvas paper.
This piece is a meditation on the self worth that can develop from the poverty of the heart. It is meant to portray the potential empowerment of allowing oneself to heal through the catalyst of forgiveness. I chose to paint a man pensively and peacefully reading a book while walking forward. He is overcoming the distraction of his past traumas which are portrayed as lingering creatures and animals. Like children, animals feel emotions without questioning their reasoning mind. They too may innocently wonder why they are coerced to exist in harmful situations. The man is nearly bare with the intention of being seen and recognized for the direction he is choosing to pursue. A perspective that embraces the ability to transform, love and be transparent with oneself. It is this feeling of awakening and consciously deciding to feel good and heal that helps him to regain agency over his life. Each step and each page of the book is an active choice to redirect the wounded mind and break the pattern of shame. The man is proud of each step that unburdens him from the practice of suffering that has bound him to an isolated and oppressive life.

Attention is such a delicate thing. I am humbled by the opportunity to connect and create with the existence project. It is through empathy and understanding of the ruthlessness of love that we can relate to each other.

My artwork is on instagram under szandika.szabo or

Featured Student

The Road Less Travelled By
Dennis Palubeski


Sam Redmond

My story box consisted of a (poorly) drawn ear that had a speech bubble coming from it saying: “I wish we all listened to each other more.” Reflecting now, it is especially apparent that I wish this to be true. I am very thankful to The Existence Project for making the time and space for us all to be able to really get back into simply listening to one another tell their stories.

“I wish we all listened to each other more” because it is important that we do. Not only does it help us create and practice respect for a fellow community member, but it builds empathy when we listen, connect, and respond to a personal narrative. Listening seems to be a good starting point when trying to find systemic solution to any problems; however, our society is filled with silencers and punishers on the one hand, and voices desperately trying to speak up on the other. Listening helps decrease violent conflict and instead creates space to move through conflict. I wish we all listened to each other more because I believe when we do, as my experience in this workshop exemplified to me, when we listen to others, we learn about them… and when we learn about each other, we also learn more about ourselves. While my (poorly) drawn story box may have said just one line – I wish we all listened to each other more – it has so much more depth than just a few words.

I believe that education through experiential learning is essential if we want our communities to be kinder, more compassionate, and safer. Getting to hear first-person stories, especially from community members that I may not have interacted with otherwise, has completely expanded my world view. This type of learning is critical because I don’t believe that this story could have been told to me in any other way that would have been nearly as impactful, if not from the mouth of the storyteller himself. It’s clear though that the impact of experiential learning is simply the impact itself.

Education and learning through story-telling and experiential experiences are crucial in my field of sociology. In order to study, interpret, and provide for societies… we must first understand the individuals that exist within it. As such, I believe it is rarely a disadvantage – if ever one at all – to not constantly engage in story-telling practices. This is obviously accessible in this day in age through movies, books, podcasts, music, and more… but it is hard to deny the special feeling one gets when being present and attending a live story-telling event. The feelings being emphasized and shared is so present in the space, and the attentiveness is unreal, which can sometimes be escaped in other forms of story-telling media portrays.

I am thankful to The Existence Project for not only providing me such a crucial learning experience, but for asking me to reflect on it as such – which I also believe is a critical component in experiential learning.