Love Letters Take a Road Trip

There’s nothing quite like 8,000 miles in the car with your closest friends. Add a trailer full of suitcases, guitars, an accordion, and a trombone to the back, and you’ve got yourself an adventure.

Four talented friends from Portland, Oregon are taking a trek across the United States as they go on a tour of sorts. It was my goal to get a bundle of love letters on board. Because how fitting is it for a group of love letters to tag along as these artists and musicians set out to share hope and to go searching for stories of community?   

It was easy enough to convince Anya Dikih, the tour coordinator, to act as postal carrier for me.  She agreed to drop the love letters off in various states, taking pictures and sending tweets.  Sending these love letters on a road trip is a bit like sending your children off to summer camp. Only instead of finding out what they’re doing through postcards, I’ll get to check on them through Twitter.  I can’t wait to see the places they’ll go.

Just like you’d pack your bag for a trip, the envelopes were suitcases, and I stuffed them full of words.  Deciding what to pack is difficult. When you don’t know your destination, you want to pack everything: shorts, coat, sandals, boots, a fancy dress, and hiking gear. It was the same with the letters. I packed in a little bit of everything, hoping that the one who would open the luggage would find what they most needed. I packed in hope, love, encouragement, strength, smiles, tears, and truth. I sat on the suitcase, tugging the zipper shut.

My favorite pen may be dry of ink, but those letters are drenched with love. I handed off my bundle to Anya, knowing she’d treat them with care. Anya is the tour coordinator for the Portland based bands, Common, Dear and Find Your Smile. Going on tour is David Stefanik, vocalist and guitarist for Common, Dear, the beautiful Rachel Jeffers, who plays multiple instruments (often at the same time) for Common, Dear, and Jordan Roach, the lively vocalist for Find Your Smile.  

To get to know the guardians of the love letters better, I asked for a short interview.

What are you hoping to find on the road?

A Tour Of Sorts: I think what we’re after is stories… And we’re looking for stories of community. Of struggle. Of vulnerable, raw life. We’re hoping our stories help others and in turn we take refuge in theirs. We are connecting with a lot of interesting folks on the road and we pray that we will be the best stewards of the time and opportunity we’ve been given.

What are you hoping to give?

A Tour Of Sorts: A chance for people to connect –to bring a story that they may have never heard before. One of goodness and grace. Maybe people will find hope or inspiration. Maybe just entertainment, but we hope not. That’s not what we’re after. We’re hoping to share our gifts in hopes that people will be inspired to use their own.

What are you afraid of?

A Tour Of Sorts: Failure. Running out of money. Disappointing all the people that have supported us. Losing the trailer. Not being able to back up the trailer. Letting Rachel accidentally eat dairy. Dying. Need I go on?

Strangest thing in your suitcase?

A Tour Of Sorts: Hands down, Rachel’s stuffed purple unicorn/pegasus that one of her customer’s gave her before we left. It’s in the car with us. It’s with the instruments. It doesn’t leave our sides.

Have you been written any words that have positively changed your outlook?

A Tour Of Sorts: So many words. Seriously, our community in Oregon has been the most supportive group of people we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. We spent a solid hour on the road just reading the cards that people sent with us. I get emails every week from people I hardly know, sometimes complete strangers, who speak words of life into this project.

Follow the love letters as they road trip this summer!  A Tour of Sorts will be posting updates and pictures via Twitter @TourofSorts. To get to know these artists better, check them out at atourofsorts.com.