Speaker announcement: What’s the real stranger danger?

By TEDxSalem Storyteller, August 30, 2013

Courtney Dillard

Courtney Dillard

Concerned about how human relationships have changed in the modern world, a Willamette University Continuing Instructor used technology to bring out the strangers on the other end of the computer screen.

Courtney Dillard and Matt Webber married last year and decided to go on an unconventional honey moon that they felt suited them as a couple. For five months, they traveled from Portland, Ore., to Portland, ME, to have breakfast with strangers, despite protests from Courtney’s protective mother.

They shared 60 or so breakfasts with strangers that they recruited through Reddit and other recommendations and came back with a simple conviction. Stranger danger may not be a thing.

The couple is now working on a book, Breakfast with Strangers: 50 Meals Across Americawhich is set to publish on Nov. 1. At TEDxSalem a couple weeks later, Courtney — who teaches rhetoric and media studies — will share with us some lessons she has learned from her conversations with strangers.

Courtney said she was struck by the willingness of people to take risks, their patriotism and how multifaceted people are. Even those whom she might’ve written off have surprised her and inspired her.

To learn more about Courtney and Matt’s journey and project, visit their website at breakfastwithstrangers.com.