Image and Design by Stephanie Kellett

Personal stories from Robert E. Livingood's field of experience. Topics include the rural opioid / methamphetamine crisis, ecopsychology, nature as therapy, and subculture.


Robert E. Livingood holds this space. It is a place where his experience as coordinator of outreach services for rural people entrenched in opioid and methamphetamine addiction conjoins with his love of sound art and wilderness.

By subscribing to this newsletter you are invited into Robert’s world. Some of the stories you will encounter here are transcendent, while others are heart breaking. More than anything, Area of Refuge is a journey into Robert’s process as he navigates through landscapes of both resilience and adversity.

Area of Refuge Podcast:

Every article has an accompanying podcast. These feature an audio reading of the essay overlaid on an ambient soundscape that Robert creates using analog synthesizer. The podcast can be streamed or downloaded directly from Substack. It is also available on Spotify by searching, Robert E. Livingood’s Area of Refuge Podcast.

Newsletters and podcasts are released bi-weekly.


There are two options for subscription: free and paid.

A free subscription gives access to some of the writing and audio sound art readings of the essays. Paid subscriptions also include audio readings / sound pieces of the articles, occasional short video reflections, special messages, and process pieces. Moreover, paid subscriptions help support Robert to further his creative work which, in turn, allows him to share more of it with you.

About the Author

Robert E. Livingood a writer, outreach worker, grizzly bear devotee (former bear biologist), wilderness traveller, freelance guide, and sound artist.

Originally from the industrial cauldron of 1970s Detroit, he now lives outside of the thriving rural arts community of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. He holds a biology degree from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Robert worked as a professional wildlife biologist for a decade, with a focus on grizzly bear behaviour and ecology. Though he no longer works as a scientist, he continues to spend considerable time every year in the presence of grizzlies and travels into the Yukon Territory and the remote corners of BC in order to learn about the energetic and spiritual qualities of these animals. With his long time partner and collaborator, visual artist Stephanie Kellett, Robert creates multi-media art exhibits that revolve around themes of wildness. Their combined work has been shown at public galleries and pop up events throughout the West Kootenay Region, and Robert’s sound art has appeared on international electronic music labels around the world. The outreach work Robert does is an outgrowth from his own personal, childhood experience of homelessness in American cities such as Los Angeles, Houston, and Detroit, where he lived on the street with his mother during the recession of the late 70s/early 80s.

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Robert E. Livingood

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Personal stories from Robert E. Livingood's field of experience. Topics include the rural opioid crisis, ecopsychology, harm reduction, nature as therapy, and subculture.


Robert E. Livingood

Robert E. Livingood is a writer, outreach worker, sound artist, and grizzly bear biologist. Originally from the industrial cauldron of Detroit, he now lives in the Selkirk Mountains outside of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.