My correspondence with Sarabeth before her trip, began when I saw this message posted in the guestbook of the not back to school camp web site. We'd written a few brief notes before hand, about camp and the unschoolers list.

Name: Sarabeth Matilsky
Date: March 8th 1997

Hello to everyone... I just wanted to let all of you (with
whom I've been corresponding) know that I won't be writing
any more letters after March 24th... in two weeks, I'm
going to be leaving on my 4,250-mile journey to NBTSC by
bicycle, and so I will be neccessarily leaving behind my
mailbox!:) I will try to write to people on the road, but I
would rather not rashly promise anything like a regular
So, see you at camp! Keep me in your thoughts on March
24th, as I begin my solo trip across the country...
With love,
Sarabeth Matilsky

Subject: Biking and Blue Jeans.
Sent: March 20th 1997
To: Sarabeth,
From: Reanna,


I've been meaning to write you ever since I found out when you were leaving. You know, wish you the best of luck and all that.

And then today, walking down broadway in Vancouver, everything sunny and wet, just moments after a spring shower ended, my mum and I went in to the magazine store. I scanned through all the girls mags, determined not to buy a sassy, no matter how tempting it may look....

And behind some magazines, a copy of Blue Jean Magazine. I fliped through it, because I've heard of it before, and there you are! Sarabeth Matilsky. Talk about coincidence. So of course, I bought it.

[refrence to something in her article:] I read reviving ophelia too. Although I don't think I got as much out of it, because at the time I was mostly looking for personal solutions, and it wasn't really that kind of book.

Good article though, I enjoyed it.

I had an idea last night.... [here I proposed the idea of the web page. it was unnecessarily long. you get the idea].

Goodluck on the trip, either way. I hope all goes well for you, and I'm looking forward to meeting you at camp.

Subject: Re: Biking and Blue Jeans.
Sent: March 22nd 1997

Dear Reanna,

Thanks so much for writing! I'm leaving in two days, and all is chaos, but I wanted to write to you anyway!:) (After all, there's only so much packing and organizing that one can do in a stretch of time without going crazy!) That's realy neat that you found Blue Jean in your magazine store! Personally, I don't like the editing they did, but I guess every writer must feel that way to a certain extent about any cuts that happen to their work!:) (But also, I just want it known that I am NOT responsible for that title OR the graphics.)

Okay, about the website idea... I think it might be fun, though since I'm leaving so soon it doesn't give you much time. (I don't know how long it would take.) But I would definitely be into writing you letters and having you post them, or at least to try it and see how it works. I have your address in that preliminary camper-directory thing, so I can send letters there. (I won't have access to email.) I'll be checking my email probably one more time before i leave (tomorrow, which is Sunday) and so you can let me know.
Anyway, packing duty calls, so I must go, but thanks again for writing!


I replied. She wrote back:

Date: March 23nd 1997

Hey! Well, here I am, receiving my last emails for the next 6+ months! I still can't quite believe I'm doing this... Anyway, I am going to send you a list of places along the way where I'll be able to pick up mail--you know, general deliveries and things. So, if you want to, I'd love to get some letters!:)

Tomorrow I'm getting on the bus in Newark, NJ, and I'll arrive in Williamsburg, VA around dinner time. A homeschooling family is going to meet me at the bus terminal and I'll probably stay with them for a few days to get oriented and to put my bike together. After that, I'll be off to RIchmond for the 30th and 31st (more homeschoolers to host me there) and then, Reanna, I'll be staying for a week at Twin Oaks intentional community, something which YOU made possible! See, a girl named Devon found me on your unschoolers list, and wrote to me and said I've just gotten out of school, could you tell me a little bit about how you unschool... I wrote back and said, WEll, I don't really have the time to write much now, but I noticed that your return address was "Twin" and on this upcoming bike trip of mine, I'll be going through your town. So, how about if I come visit instead??! So we've been writing this last month, and I'm going to stay with she and her family from April 2-9! See, your unschoolers list has already done some great networking:) I was really glad that it's working out for me to stay with her, because part of the focus of my trip is staying with homeschoolers and visiting intentional communities...

Well, I really should go--I've got stuff to do, and I can't put it off after today:) I guess that I'll just send that address list now, and then I'll start sending you letters once I'm really on the road and riding my bike... Let's keep in touch, and see you at camp! (Yahooo!)

Oh, and happy spring:)

Date: March 23nd 1997

Gosh, one thing I've been wondering in these last few hectic days, and something I wish I'd talked about with Kyla at camp, is whether she got these sudden rushes of "oh-my-goodness-what-the-heck-did-I-get-myself-in for" kind of thoughts before she left on her trip! Because just now I'm getting some...

Anyway, now I'm really going to go--i'll write soon...

"The first three weeks" - Sarabeth Index