Who We Are

 We are a community of movers and shakers, visionaries, artists, farmers, environmentalists, homesteaders, makers and do-gooders uniting together to promote sustainable and regional tourism in the rural Midwest.

We travel with a small business budget, by work trade, through select contracts and out of the goodness of our hearts.

 How We Operate

image1 (77).jpeg

Team

 
FOUNDER   Lisa works as a freelance creative, event planner, catering supervisor, hospitality consultant and hospice photographer. She jokes that her home is wherever her work takes her, however she currently resides in the Twin Cities.  A former non-profit professional, Lisa has always pursued work that’s mission driven and allows her to live out her values. Lisa saw an opportunity to create a meaningful, transformative company that redefines how we travel. Living in the cities, she belongs to several sub communities across the non-profit world, coffee gurus, and service industry folks. She finds a great sense of community within these spaces, which reminds her that a small town spirit can be found in bigger places too.  Her hope is that Rettlers continues to grow into a community that serves to inspire people to further act on their passions, encourage rural renewal and build a bridge from place to place, big and small. Lisa’s academic and professional background in sociology and environmental sustainability inform her vision of intentional hospitality as part of a greater movement towards building stronger communities, preserving natural resources, local economies, and equity within and countries ethos.  Having grown up living in-between parents residing in Rome, Georgia and Minneapolis, Lisa’s reverence for travel started as soon as she could fly solo without an attendant. Today, travel brings her back home to her rural roots. What she most loves is meeting a stranger in their most favorite element and being greeted by people with passion and enthusiasm. There is something inspiring about it that fuels her work and provides an abundance of gratitude for life on this earth.

FOUNDER

Lisa works as a freelance creative, event planner, catering supervisor, hospitality consultant and hospice photographer. She jokes that her home is wherever her work takes her, however she currently resides in the Twin Cities.

A former non-profit professional, Lisa has always pursued work that’s mission driven and allows her to live out her values. Lisa saw an opportunity to create a meaningful, transformative company that redefines how we travel. Living in the cities, she belongs to several sub communities across the non-profit world, coffee gurus, and service industry folks. She finds a great sense of community within these spaces, which reminds her that a small town spirit can be found in bigger places too.

Her hope is that Rettlers continues to grow into a community that serves to inspire people to further act on their passions, encourage rural renewal and build a bridge from place to place, big and small. Lisa’s academic and professional background in sociology and environmental sustainability inform her vision of intentional hospitality as part of a greater movement towards building stronger communities, preserving natural resources, local economies, and equity within and countries ethos.

Having grown up living in-between parents residing in Rome, Georgia and Minneapolis, Lisa’s reverence for travel started as soon as she could fly solo without an attendant. Today, travel brings her back home to her rural roots. What she most loves is meeting a stranger in their most favorite element and being greeted by people with passion and enthusiasm. There is something inspiring about it that fuels her work and provides an abundance of gratitude for life on this earth.

Lisa Frank

Founder & Hospitality Consultant

PHOTOGRAPHER   Originally from Detroit, MI, then Chicago, IL for 6 or so years, then Phoenix, AZ, Christie has settled in Minneapolis, MN  She’s been interested in photography for as long as she can remember. Since her early years running around with disposable cameras to polaroids through high school, when she became obsessed with working in the darkroom and learning alternative/antique processing techniques. Christie went on to attend SAIC, where she was awarded scholarships, fellowships, publications, and exhibitions. Since graduating in 2013 she’s been traveling the world while photographing subjects relating to various nature-based lifestyles—both for her own conceptual projects, as well as for brands/organizations. Maintaining a balance between the two has been essential to her practice. Since relocating to Minneapolis, she has been focused on photographing subjects relating to various nature-based lifestyles.  When asked how she most enjoys traveling Chisite says, ”This is tough! On the one hand, I love traveling solo and with very few planned activities. I think it's very freeing to simply take travel as it comes, and to explore on foot. But there's also a side of me that enjoys planning ahead so I don't feel like I might miss out on something I may not find without doing  some  research ahead of time. I also think it is special when you can share those experiences with the people you're close with. It's all about balance, and the type of trip / what mood I'm in.”  Her favorite element of the Midwest are the seasons. It only took a little over a year away from the midwest for her to realize how lucky it is to have four unique seasons. Time felt warped without a snowy winter.

PHOTOGRAPHER

Originally from Detroit, MI, then Chicago, IL for 6 or so years, then Phoenix, AZ, Christie has settled in Minneapolis, MN

She’s been interested in photography for as long as she can remember. Since her early years running around with disposable cameras to polaroids through high school, when she became obsessed with working in the darkroom and learning alternative/antique processing techniques. Christie went on to attend SAIC, where she was awarded scholarships, fellowships, publications, and exhibitions. Since graduating in 2013 she’s been traveling the world while photographing subjects relating to various nature-based lifestyles—both for her own conceptual projects, as well as for brands/organizations. Maintaining a balance between the two has been essential to her practice. Since relocating to Minneapolis, she has been focused on photographing subjects relating to various nature-based lifestyles.

When asked how she most enjoys traveling Chisite says, ”This is tough! On the one hand, I love traveling solo and with very few planned activities. I think it's very freeing to simply take travel as it comes, and to explore on foot. But there's also a side of me that enjoys planning ahead so I don't feel like I might miss out on something I may not find without doing some research ahead of time. I also think it is special when you can share those experiences with the people you're close with. It's all about balance, and the type of trip / what mood I'm in.”

Her favorite element of the Midwest are the seasons. It only took a little over a year away from the midwest for her to realize how lucky it is to have four unique seasons. Time felt warped without a snowy winter.

Chrisite Caputo

Photographer Portfolio

 
 

Stay Agents

Art Agent   After a 5 year journey living and learning in Savannah, GA, Drew has moved back to his home state of Minnesota where he is currently residing in the city of Minneapolis.  By day you can find him making photographs just about everywhere he goes as well as teaching ballroom dance to 5th and 8th graders throughout Minnesota.  Photography has always been the vehicle in which he can interpret the world around him, ever since he picked up a camera when he was 14 years old. Making photographs is a true passion, one he never intends on ceasing to explore.  For Drew, traveling is about connection. Connection to place, connection to people. He is fascinated most when he can inhabit cultures and lifestyles completely different from his own. What he is finding as time goes on is that these places exist so much closer to home than he could have ever imagined.  He can’t wait to explore all of the beauty that he get to call home.

Art Agent

After a 5 year journey living and learning in Savannah, GA, Drew has moved back to his home state of Minnesota where he is currently residing in the city of Minneapolis.

By day you can find him making photographs just about everywhere he goes as well as teaching ballroom dance to 5th and 8th graders throughout Minnesota.

Photography has always been the vehicle in which he can interpret the world around him, ever since he picked up a camera when he was 14 years old. Making photographs is a true passion, one he never intends on ceasing to explore.

For Drew, traveling is about connection. Connection to place, connection to people. He is fascinated most when he can inhabit cultures and lifestyles completely different from his own. What he is finding as time goes on is that these places exist so much closer to home than he could have ever imagined.

He can’t wait to explore all of the beauty that he get to call home.

Drew Anderson

Photographer

ART AGENT   Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, Thomas is a Midwest native that spent many formative years on the West Coast. Currently, he calls Minneapolis MN home and is a proud home owner in the artistically rich neighborhood of Longfellow where he runs Make Room, an Airbnb and Artist Residency program.  In his day job, he serves as the Director of Visitor Experience for a small business in the commercial furniture industry. It is his job to assure their guests have the best impression and experience they can when visiting. Doing so sets the stage for their ability to develop a lasting relationship with their clients.  His background and interest in art is strong and deep. In many ways its the only thing that has held his interest throughout his life. He has a fine arts degree with a concentration in interior design and sees art as a tool which can bring about beauty and appreciation as well as social change and common community good. He shares, “art often becomes the cultural fabric of a community, the backdrop of a place that ties people together to share ideas. Personally, I consider myself a designer first and an artist second. While I have worked in many mediums, most recently, ceramics have been my focus.”  He most enjoys traveling when he is able to stay in a place that is away from the center of attention; he prefers a place that is off the beaten path. Thomas likes to stay somewhere that puts him in touch with locals and allows him to get a feel for life in that place. He likes to see what it is in a place that makes it unique and approachable.  Thomas’s love for the Midwest spans across its natural beauty and it's down to earth people. He loves to find hidden gems in places that’s least expected. From breathtaking water ways and lakes to golden glowing fields in the fall, from quirky folk art along roadsides to generous and welcoming art programs. The Midwest has it all.

ART AGENT

Born and raised in rural Wisconsin, Thomas is a Midwest native that spent many formative years on the West Coast. Currently, he calls Minneapolis MN home and is a proud home owner in the artistically rich neighborhood of Longfellow where he runs Make Room, an Airbnb and Artist Residency program.

In his day job, he serves as the Director of Visitor Experience for a small business in the commercial furniture industry. It is his job to assure their guests have the best impression and experience they can when visiting. Doing so sets the stage for their ability to develop a lasting relationship with their clients.

His background and interest in art is strong and deep. In many ways its the only thing that has held his interest throughout his life. He has a fine arts degree with a concentration in interior design and sees art as a tool which can bring about beauty and appreciation as well as social change and common community good. He shares, “art often becomes the cultural fabric of a community, the backdrop of a place that ties people together to share ideas. Personally, I consider myself a designer first and an artist second. While I have worked in many mediums, most recently, ceramics have been my focus.”

He most enjoys traveling when he is able to stay in a place that is away from the center of attention; he prefers a place that is off the beaten path. Thomas likes to stay somewhere that puts him in touch with locals and allows him to get a feel for life in that place. He likes to see what it is in a place that makes it unique and approachable.

Thomas’s love for the Midwest spans across its natural beauty and it's down to earth people. He loves to find hidden gems in places that’s least expected. From breathtaking water ways and lakes to golden glowing fields in the fall, from quirky folk art along roadsides to generous and welcoming art programs. The Midwest has it all.

Thomas Wegner

Founder of Make Room

SUSTAINABILITY AGENT   Elizabeth Flinsch grew up in Afton, Minnesota on the farmland above the bluffs of the St. Croix River. Keeping bees, harvesting maple sap, and growing food instilled in her a deep love for the land. Currently she teaches photography at a local high school and is the editor of Shots Magazine, a print publication devoted to fine art black and white photography. While she can sometimes be found wandering worldwide with her camera in tow, the Midwest is undoubtedly her home. After being inspired by a brick oven building workshop at the Northhouse Folk School in 2012, she quit a desk job determined to explore the practices of milling local grains and naturally fermented breads. She followed this path and found herself as an apprentice for wood-fired bakers. This stirred a new found love for the small communities of thoughtful food producers sprinkled throughout the midwest. When she travels, she seeks out connections with people who share her respect and fondness for the land, hoping to strengthen the fabric of stewards of our Midwestern home.

SUSTAINABILITY AGENT

Elizabeth Flinsch grew up in Afton, Minnesota on the farmland above the bluffs of the St. Croix River. Keeping bees, harvesting maple sap, and growing food instilled in her a deep love for the land. Currently she teaches photography at a local high school and is the editor of Shots Magazine, a print publication devoted to fine art black and white photography. While she can sometimes be found wandering worldwide with her camera in tow, the Midwest is undoubtedly her home. After being inspired by a brick oven building workshop at the Northhouse Folk School in 2012, she quit a desk job determined to explore the practices of milling local grains and naturally fermented breads. She followed this path and found herself as an apprentice for wood-fired bakers. This stirred a new found love for the small communities of thoughtful food producers sprinkled throughout the midwest. When she travels, she seeks out connections with people who share her respect and fondness for the land, hoping to strengthen the fabric of stewards of our Midwestern home.

Elizabeth Flinsch

Photographer Portfolio

Agriculture Agent   Originally from Middleton, WI and currently living on a farm and homestead in Faribault, MN  Megan   is an herbalist, writer, certified permaculture designer & educator, medicine maker and loving earth steward. She centers plants as teachers in her ever evolving creative practice with   regenerative business, storytelling, art, community gatherings and Earth reconnection. Megan is the co-creator and facilitator of  Living Hearth  and the  Open Hearth PDC.  Through her experiences working on organic farms she’s grew passionate about growing food, herbal medicine and caring for animals which has become a beautiful way to reconnect to her roots. She’s proud to be tending the land with practices that are regenerative and community focused.  As a traveler, she loves connecting with locals, agenda-less wandering and seeking out the most delicious food. Megan’s thought on the Midwest is that it’s pretty down to earth culture. She says, “people tend to be more rooted here, and the way she sees it is that it allows for the potential of a deeper understanding of the land.”

Agriculture Agent

Originally from Middleton, WI and currently living on a farm and homestead in Faribault, MN

Megan is an herbalist, writer, certified permaculture designer & educator, medicine maker and loving earth steward. She centers plants as teachers in her ever evolving creative practice with regenerative business, storytelling, art, community gatherings and Earth reconnection. Megan is the co-creator and facilitator of Living Hearth and the Open Hearth PDC. Through her experiences working on organic farms she’s grew passionate about growing food, herbal medicine and caring for animals which has become a beautiful way to reconnect to her roots. She’s proud to be tending the land with practices that are regenerative and community focused.

As a traveler, she loves connecting with locals, agenda-less wandering and seeking out the most delicious food. Megan’s thought on the Midwest is that it’s pretty down to earth culture. She says, “people tend to be more rooted here, and the way she sees it is that it allows for the potential of a deeper understanding of the land.”

Megan Mastel

Co-Owner of Land by hand

WELLNESS AGENT   Originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin, Alissa came to Minneapolis at six years of age. She severs as a Youth Development Specialist at Kulture Klub Collaborative, a non-profit that supports young adults experiencing homelessness through high quality arts engagement. Near and dear to her heart is her role as Director for Midwest Mixed, a community group she co-founded in 2014 that hosts an ongoing dialogue series, a biennial conference and art-centered programming for people contemplating multiracial identity, transracial adoption and more.  In her journey as a black mixed race woman with roots in performance art and youth-work, wellness must reside at the epicenter of everything she does or her work is not sustainable. Alissa is deeply committed to re-mothering her own inner-child and connecting to her role as mother and hostess to her little one, Khalil. Healing generational trauma and driving forward a commitment to social change call her to travel and discover other ways of being in the world outside of the city.  She loves everything about the MidWest from the four seasons to the flatlands, and it is her goal as a Stay Agent to discover innovative ways to create access to these spaces and experiences for single mothers and people of color.

WELLNESS AGENT

Originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin, Alissa came to Minneapolis at six years of age. She severs as a Youth Development Specialist at Kulture Klub Collaborative, a non-profit that supports young adults experiencing homelessness through high quality arts engagement. Near and dear to her heart is her role as Director for Midwest Mixed, a community group she co-founded in 2014 that hosts an ongoing dialogue series, a biennial conference and art-centered programming for people contemplating multiracial identity, transracial adoption and more.

In her journey as a black mixed race woman with roots in performance art and youth-work, wellness must reside at the epicenter of everything she does or her work is not sustainable. Alissa is deeply committed to re-mothering her own inner-child and connecting to her role as mother and hostess to her little one, Khalil. Healing generational trauma and driving forward a commitment to social change call her to travel and discover other ways of being in the world outside of the city.

She loves everything about the MidWest from the four seasons to the flatlands, and it is her goal as a Stay Agent to discover innovative ways to create access to these spaces and experiences for single mothers and people of color.

Alissa Paris

Founder of Midwest Mixed

WELLNESS AGENT   Having lived in near and far away places, mixed with an upbringing throughout Minnesota for most of her life, her connection to the Midwest runs deep where she’s made a home in Madison, Wisconsin.  She’s a healing arts practitioner, spa development consultant and business owner. She’s studied many modalities of wellness and healing throughout her career personal practice. Starting with yoga teacher training, she fell in love with hands on adjustments which brought her to massage therapy and energy healing after completing a BA in Journalism. Learning from the Center for Spiritualty and Healing at the UMN opened her up to find answers about the subtle arts of life and wellbeing. Since then she’s studied craniosacral therapy, hydrotherapy, reiki, reflexology, meditation, breath work, fascial release, western herbalism and Ayurvedic body therapy. Raachel’s practice is an alchemy of these backgrounds which she finds really mellow as an approach but also very effective. The connects of the elements in the body to the elements of our environment are truly practical magic.  She love traveling. One of her favorites is loading up the car with goods and supplies and hitting the road. A sunny day calls for fresh cucumber lemon water in her ball jar and a woven basket of snacks, aromatherapy and teas.  She shares “ I love that the midwest has such beautiful elements to work with. The seasons, hands down. Aligning the rhythms of the body, mind and spirit with the rhythm of nature is such a gift the Midwest gives.”

WELLNESS AGENT

Having lived in near and far away places, mixed with an upbringing throughout Minnesota for most of her life, her connection to the Midwest runs deep where she’s made a home in Madison, Wisconsin.

She’s a healing arts practitioner, spa development consultant and business owner. She’s studied many modalities of wellness and healing throughout her career personal practice. Starting with yoga teacher training, she fell in love with hands on adjustments which brought her to massage therapy and energy healing after completing a BA in Journalism. Learning from the Center for Spiritualty and Healing at the UMN opened her up to find answers about the subtle arts of life and wellbeing. Since then she’s studied craniosacral therapy, hydrotherapy, reiki, reflexology, meditation, breath work, fascial release, western herbalism and Ayurvedic body therapy. Raachel’s practice is an alchemy of these backgrounds which she finds really mellow as an approach but also very effective. The connects of the elements in the body to the elements of our environment are truly practical magic.

She love traveling. One of her favorites is loading up the car with goods and supplies and hitting the road. A sunny day calls for fresh cucumber lemon water in her ball jar and a woven basket of snacks, aromatherapy and teas.

She shares “ I love that the midwest has such beautiful elements to work with. The seasons, hands down. Aligning the rhythms of the body, mind and spirit with the rhythm of nature is such a gift the Midwest gives.”

Rachel HUNTZ

Owner of House of Heartland

 
RECREATION AGENT   A true Minnesota native, born in Hibbing and lived in Chisholm through his toddling years before trekking with his parents and brother to La Crescent. Ten years and one brother later they moved to Coon Rapids where he graduated from high school before heading back to the southeast for college at Winona State in 2006. Since then he’s lived in Ely, Sandstone, Duluth, and now lives in Alexandria where he builds for Morton Buildings.  The exploration of the outdoors through human (and animal) powered methods has been one of the greatest sources of joy and inspiration throughout his life. As a youngster, the bluffs rising above the Mississippi were a short bike ride from his home and the woods and creeks became his playground. As an adult he’s had the opportunity to guide canoe trips in the Boundary Waters, lead sled dog adventures near Duluth, and teach environmental education at the Audubon Center near Sandstone. Nowadays, he hardly leaves home without a mountain bike strapped to his car to explore the Midwest’s ever-expanding network of off-road trails.  He shares, “what I love most of about the Midwest is the variability of landscapes that can be explored. Within a couple of hours of the Twin Cities, a traveler can find calm contemplation amongst the Big Bluestem Grass on a prairie path, or experience ragged peaks while climbing over ancient rocks on the North Shore. The possibilities in this area are truly immeasurable.”

RECREATION AGENT

A true Minnesota native, born in Hibbing and lived in Chisholm through his toddling years before trekking with his parents and brother to La Crescent. Ten years and one brother later they moved to Coon Rapids where he graduated from high school before heading back to the southeast for college at Winona State in 2006. Since then he’s lived in Ely, Sandstone, Duluth, and now lives in Alexandria where he builds for Morton Buildings.

The exploration of the outdoors through human (and animal) powered methods has been one of the greatest sources of joy and inspiration throughout his life. As a youngster, the bluffs rising above the Mississippi were a short bike ride from his home and the woods and creeks became his playground. As an adult he’s had the opportunity to guide canoe trips in the Boundary Waters, lead sled dog adventures near Duluth, and teach environmental education at the Audubon Center near Sandstone. Nowadays, he hardly leaves home without a mountain bike strapped to his car to explore the Midwest’s ever-expanding network of off-road trails.

He shares, “what I love most of about the Midwest is the variability of landscapes that can be explored. Within a couple of hours of the Twin Cities, a traveler can find calm contemplation amongst the Big Bluestem Grass on a prairie path, or experience ragged peaks while climbing over ancient rocks on the North Shore. The possibilities in this area are truly immeasurable.”

Luke Miller

AGRICULTURE AGENT   Born in Marinette County, Kaitlin grew up in the small town of Amberg, in northeastern Wisconsin. After graduating from high school, she packed up her things and moved to the city to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she still resides today.  She works for the Biodynamic Association which is the oldest sustainable agricultural non-profit in the country that works to educate and promote biodynamic agricultural practices. Much of her work centers around their annual national conference, where she helps to coordinate presenters, workshops, and business sponsors. She also holds a seat on the board of Slow Food Southeast Wisconsin. Her passion today lies in food policy, foraging wild goods, and attempting to match her mother's incredibly green thumb. Kaitlin has been surrounded by a love of gardening & farming from an early age — her mother has always been passionate about cooking good food for her family, and depended on the garden to provide her loved ones with the most delicious seasonal dishes.  As a traveler, she loves waking up early and taking her cattle dog Aster, her partner Eddie and a big mug of coffee out on the road in their station wagon. They do their best to get out of town as often as possible and explore new parts of the state. They seek out opportunities to stay in private homes where they can share the experience with others, and witness the pride that they take in their property and the history of the land, home, and region.   She shares, “the Midwest to me will always be home. I’ve spent my lifetime bonding with the rural landscapes and the gifts that emanate from them. The seasons can often be rough, but they bring character and diversity to how you experience the terrain from month to month. I enjoy the humble subtleties of midwestern agricultural life, and the diversity of the landscape from the wide-open farms of central and southern Wisconsin, to the rolling hills of the west, and the forests, rivers, and lakes of the north, where I grew up.”

AGRICULTURE AGENT

Born in Marinette County, Kaitlin grew up in the small town of Amberg, in northeastern Wisconsin. After graduating from high school, she packed up her things and moved to the city to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she still resides today.

She works for the Biodynamic Association which is the oldest sustainable agricultural non-profit in the country that works to educate and promote biodynamic agricultural practices. Much of her work centers around their annual national conference, where she helps to coordinate presenters, workshops, and business sponsors. She also holds a seat on the board of Slow Food Southeast Wisconsin. Her passion today lies in food policy, foraging wild goods, and attempting to match her mother's incredibly green thumb. Kaitlin has been surrounded by a love of gardening & farming from an early age — her mother has always been passionate about cooking good food for her family, and depended on the garden to provide her loved ones with the most delicious seasonal dishes.

As a traveler, she loves waking up early and taking her cattle dog Aster, her partner Eddie and a big mug of coffee out on the road in their station wagon. They do their best to get out of town as often as possible and explore new parts of the state. They seek out opportunities to stay in private homes where they can share the experience with others, and witness the pride that they take in their property and the history of the land, home, and region.


She shares, “the Midwest to me will always be home. I’ve spent my lifetime bonding with the rural landscapes and the gifts that emanate from them. The seasons can often be rough, but they bring character and diversity to how you experience the terrain from month to month. I enjoy the humble subtleties of midwestern agricultural life, and the diversity of the landscape from the wide-open farms of central and southern Wisconsin, to the rolling hills of the west, and the forests, rivers, and lakes of the north, where I grew up.”

Kaitlin Downs

 
 
image1 (79).jpeg

Contact Us

Have feature recommendations, story ideas
event collaborations, partnership ideas?

We would love to hear from you!

Send us an email at info@rettlers.com