We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Cline and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Dan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I grew up traveling and experiencing different parts of the country – it was something woven into my genes from both my parents! After starting my own family and going on similar vacations – I noticed we were typically asking questions about our trip: Where should we go? Where should we stay? On top of these questions – we were noticing that the Midwest (my home) is typically forgotten or passed over in the world of tourism. It grabs particular stereotypes and it shouldn’t! The Midwest (as a whole – covers basically 12 states) has some of the most beautiful parts of the country! I would take drives around rural areas, stop in and visit with small business owners, and receive immense joy out of those experiences. Country Pilgrim started because I wanted to share that joy with others and paint a picture of “the possibilities” that the Midwest has to offer! In addition, I wanted to offer this in both written AND video format! So, I cover travel and tourism through my blog, youtube channel, and other social media. — And this is where the business is really taking shape — we are now expanding that to include tours and video production. We’ll work with travel and tourism areas by simply telling their story! Let’s face it – every story is unique and deserves to be told! If I can piece that together for an area or town – everyone wins – from the families, couples, and singles – to the destinations!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been a writer – and I stumbled on travel and tourism simply because I loved doing it and wanted to share the story. However, I shifted into doing more videography and have found a new energized passion about it. I started shooting video and was HORRIBLE at it! I had to learn all the ins and outs of shooting, mixing sound, getting proper lighting and angles. Plus, it was EXPENSIVE! I started shooting video with my phone – and then I purchased a Go-Pro and started learning – by doing! It was a fail-forward thing! Time progressed and I evolved into using a mirrorless canon camera, full with lens and the whole bit!

It was NOT easy, in fact, it was the hardest, most enjoyable thing I have ever done in my life! I overcame by doing! Taking action and thinking less, and doing more! Learning happens with a positive growth mindset and falling on our face a few times, helps us get better in our craft. I’ve still considered a rookie with blogging and videography and probably will be for the next 1o years, and I’m ok with that! I’ll just keep plugging away and trying to document the story.

The lesson I’ve learned along the way -is “it’s about the people”. Never forget that – a video or story is nothing without them.

What do I want the world to know about the Country Pilgrim story? That we care deeply about people, their stories, their business, their towns. We are 100% about relationships with our brand – and we would love to strike up a conversation with you – let us shine a light on you.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There is much to choose from on this list – However, to keep it closer to home – I would take him with me on a half-day trip covering one of Iowa’s Scenic Byways. Just 30 minutes from my front porch – we can get on the Glacial Trails Scenic Byway – We would start by going through the backcountry in Iowa along some of the bluffs along the Little Sioux River, make a stop at the Prairie Heritage Center, and have a close encounter with Bison, and check out the museum and exhibits, before heading out to Dog Creek – and having some outdoor adventure time in a canoe, before getting comfortable in a grain bin CONVERTED into a cabin home – where we would stay the night, but before doing that – we’d head out again and go out for a one of kind rural meal at a place called “The Hideout” in German Town, Iowa – This is where we would experience their infamous Chicken Dinner’s – full with a plate full of Homemade Fries. Following our time in Germantown, we would head over to Linn Grove, where there is this neat Winery and Vineyard – “Innspiration Winery”. We would take in live music for the evening, and hang out at the Winery. Iowa has a growing wine scene and showing him part of this would be part of the overall experience. Following our time at the winery, we would head back to watch an Iowa Sunset over Dog Creek at the Grain Bin Cabin.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m going to dedicate my shoutout to the Midwest Travel Network – and the reason why this has been so vital in my success is that in the world of “creating content” it’s easy to feel alone. You start comparing your work to others and you bring in self-doubt. “I’m not good, or creative enough” and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals who have similar passions, and they are supportive! They give you feedback, and breathe supportive life into you when you are on the brink of self-defeat! It’s a build-me-up group (some would say therapy group) that thrives in shining a light on travel and tourism and those who share the story about it!

Website: countrypilgrim .com

Instagram: Country Pilgrim

Twitter: DanielCline

Facebook: Country Pilgrim

Youtube: Country Pilgrim

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