Letter from the Publisher

The Other Side of the Tracks 

I met Todd Waters five years ago sitting at the bar at Gianni’s Steakhouse in Wayzata. He was friendly, handsome and soft-spoken. Our conversation quickly turned to traveling, and we starting swapping stories.

In my young adulthood, I loved to travel by rail and crisscrossed Europe with just a backpack and a modest amount of money. My friends and I would go for weeks at a time, making up the itinerary as we went. This was during the pre-Internet days, when independent travel took more effort. We relied upon printed schedules, maps, guidebooks and tips from strangers.

Todd mentioned he favored a different type of train travel and declared he was a hobo. He explained that most of the year he was a successful advertising executive and a family man. But every summer he traded his comfortable life to seek freedom and the open road, riding the rails for several weeks. I knew that his story was genuine and that his journeys were very different from my own. I thought it would make for a great article, and Todd agreed. We resolved to meet again.

Time went by. I misplaced Todd’s contact information, and I’ve been looking for him ever since. I seldom read obituaries, but somehow last summer I came across the news of his death. It confirmed what I already knew: that he lived by his own terms, had his feet firmly planted in two worlds, and sometimes favored the other side of the tracks. I met with his widow, Dori Molitor, and with her permission, we set out to tell his tale. “Riding the Rails,” written by Marguerite Happe, brilliantly describes the hobo subculture and the remarkable story of Todd Waters.

Soon Super Bowl LII and its international audience will descend upon our region. In this issue, we present our Big Game Comes to the Bold North guide. It’s anchored by Reid Forgrave’s “Battle For The North,” an examination of the fierce enmity between the fan bases of the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. And don’t miss our candid conversation with renowned sports reporter Michele Tafoya, who calls the Twin Cities home.

This year, we celebrate a decade of publishing Artful Living. The inaugural issue was created in the dawn of the Great Recession with the objective to market residential real estate. It was 42 pages long, with a handful of articles and advertisements. Our team had no publishing experience, and it was with sheer grit that we made it happen. Most business people know that there is not a straight line to success, and Artful Living is no exception.

There are many reasons why I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, but I can take credit for very few of them. The honors belong to our small, talented team — a team that’s scrappy, resourceful, conscientious and a pure joy to work with. Artful Living will continue to evolve, offering beautiful design along with engaging, original content with just enough eccentricity and edginess to keep things really interesting.

Most people I know live their lives in safety, striving for normalcy and routine. Sometimes it’s interesting to escape, walk in other people’s shoes, and take chances. The other side of the tracks can be a place to find inspiration and freedom.

Cheers,

Frank Roffers
Publisher + Editor-In-Chief

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