Memoirist & Nonfiction Writer
Restorative Justice Educator and Facilitator
Travels from: Freeport, ME

“The ideal antidote for even the strongest bout of national doubt . . . [with] frequent descriptive gems.” – Washington Post

Andrew Forsthoefel is the author of Walking to Listen, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age memoir about his 4,000-mile across America. His memoir has been used as an All-School Read / First-Year Seminar text at high schools and universities across the country, and his narrative work has appeared on This American Life and The Moth. 
Andrew is a restorative justice systems specialist for his local public health department in southern Maine, where he supports public schools in building listening-based cultures of connection and care. He is also an interfaith chaplain.
Andrew’s keynotes and workshops are designed to support the members of a community in connecting more deeply through the diverse interface of their humanity. Guided by the Indigenous-based principles of restorative justice, Andrew collaborates with community partners to take simple steps toward cultural healing and transformation.
Andrew lives with his wife, Tana, and their dog, Rose, in southern Maine. He writes about restorative justice, rogue spirituality, and radical masculinity twice monthly at

Andrew’s Authors Out Loud Profile:  Andrew’s Authors Outside Profile: 

Andrew 's Featured Titles

Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time

Bloomsbury |

A memoir of one young man’s coming-of-age on a cross-country trek–told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the highways of America.

At twenty-three, Andrew Forsthoefel walked out the back door of his home in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with a backpack, an audio recorder, his copies of Whitman and Rilke, and a sign that read walking to listen. He had just graduated from Middlebury College and was ready to begin his adult life, but he didn’t know how. So he decided he’d walk. And listen. It would be a cross-country quest for guidance, and everyone he met would be his guide.

Walking toward the Pacific, he faced an Appalachian winter and a Mojave summer. He met beasts inside: fear, loneliness, doubt. But he also encountered incredible kindness from strangers. Thousands shared their stories with him, sometimes confiding their prejudices, too. Often he didn’t know how to respond. How to find unity in diversity? How to stay connected, even as fear works to tear us apart? He listened for answers to these questions, and to the existential questions every human must face, and began to find that the answer might be in listening itself.

Ultimately, it’s the stories of others living all along the roads of America that carry this journey and sing out in a hopeful, heartfelt book about how a life is made, and how our nation defines itself at the most human level.


Walking to Listen (talk)

In this relational address, Andrew tells the stories and shares the insights of his 4,000-mile walk across America, and facilitates a discussion on the practice of “trustworthy listening” and its function in self-discovery and connection with others.


Walking to Listen (workshop)

Andrew invites participants into their own “walking to listen” experience in which they workshop principles of trustworthy listening, then set out for several hours in their local towns to walk the walk, and return to share what they learned with their cohort or community.


Your Walk Begins Today

In this keynote designed specifically for convocation and commencement ceremonies, Andrew inspires students to think of their educational journey as an initiation into their adulthood, and prepares them for the journey with reflections, stories, and hype.


Listening for Our Lives: Why Restorative Justice Matters

In this open lecture, Andrew offers a primer on the basic principles of restorative justice and the practice of trustworthy listening, facilitating a conversation on how these practices and principles have applications in DEI work, cultural transformation, and processing interpersonal conflicts in a community. What are the challenges of healing in a community of diverse backgrounds, identities, and histories of trauma? How do we restore and transform our relationships in such a way as to make authentic connection possible? Simple experiential listening exercises provide grist for the discussion.


Emergent Masculinities

In an open forum, Andrew facilitates a dialogue to excavate and explore modern masculinity and its influence on mental health and community well-being. What does it currently mean to be a man? What else could it mean? What is the unarticulated interior experience of a conventionally conditioned man? And for those who are not men, what is it like to be in relationship with men? With respect, through a personal lens, Andrew invites engagement in this delicate, necessary conversation.


Who You Really Are Is What We Really Need

In this keynote designed specifically for convocation and commencement ceremonies, Andrew inspires students to think of their educational journey as a rite-of-passage into their authentic adulthood, equipping them with reflections, stories, and hype for the journey. His thesis is simple: Our humanity will either unite us or divide us. Andrew invites out the humanity of the students, and asks: What would have to change if every person you saw was your teacher and they were here to teach you about their humanity? What if your own humanity was something others needed, too? Who would we become if we let our humanity lead?

Topics of this keynote include:
-developing the emotional intelligence required to skillfully navigate the coming-of-age landscape in college and beyond
-embodied vulnerability as a form of self-care, mental health, and community-building
-seeing each human being as an integral part of the whole
-learning to be with challenging mental and emotional states in self and other
-listening as a means of finding unity in diversity
-cultivating the confidence to be authentic
-the complexities of compassion in times of conflict
-becoming trustworthy allies to one another on the journey toward an integrated adulthood

Honors, Awards & Recognition

This American Life Featured Author
The Moth Featured Author
The Little Courtyard bimonthly Substack

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

Similar Authors

James Edward
Changing the Face of the Outdoors
Storyteller & Cultural Geographer


James Beard Award Winning Author
Award Winning Author
Psychotherapist and Writer

Interested in hosting this author?
Send us a message and an A|U Agent will return to you ASAP!