Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Letter to Communities

Here is a copy of the introductory letter that we send to communities that we would like to visit. Does anyone out there have suggestions on how to make the letter even more inviting, interesting or informative? Thanks! 
 Seasons Greetings!
As a married couple in search of intentional community, we are sending this letter of introduction and a link to our travel blog. We are planning to arrive in your area quite soon, and would love to arrange a visit with your community, if this would be good timing for you.
As long-term communitarians, we long to live in intentional community again. We lived and were married on an IC in the late 80s---Woodburn Hill Farm in Mechanicsville, Maryland. We’ve also enjoyed 17 years of friendship with Sirius Community in Shutesbury, MA and River Valley Cohousing in Amherst, MA, and have a very good understanding and appreciation of community life. We are sensitive to the fact that some communities receive hundreds of visitors per year, and we aspire to be visitors who give much, take little, and leave something of ourselves behind in the form of good energy, volunteer service, and sharing.
We recently reduced our carbon footprint and altered our lifestyle in significant ways: we sold our home, let go of most of our possessions, and left our jobs as a nurse and social worker.  Our life in New England came to a close to embark on a journey around the country to visit intentional communities.  We are two months into our trip, traveling in a biodiesel RV outfitted with twin solar panels, and we are planning to convert our rig to veggie oil. Since we are in a self-contained mobile home, we are relatively self-sufficient guests, and need little in terms of accommodations. 
Valuing honesty and good communication, we want to be up-front about the fact that we are traveling with a very sweet, small, deaf and quiet 14-year-old dog. Her name is Tina and she’s a hypoallergenic, mellow, child-friendly old girl, easily pleased and very well behaved. We understand that many communities do not allow canine guests, and we very much appreciate that. Thus, we are willing to stay off-site and visit one at a time, keep her at our side on a leash, or be able to find dog care for her while we visit. There are many options, and we hope that we can find an arrangement that works for the good of the whole, as we already have at a number of communities.
As you all know, living in community can be hard work and/or complex on many levels, and we’d love to help lighten the load by lending our helping hands and listening hearts. We are certified Laughter Yoga leaders and if your community would welcome a get together, we’d be happy to offer a complimentary session of Laughter Yoga for community residents and/or lead some fun improv games.
Please feel free to learn more about us by visiting our travel blog, aptly entitled “Mary and Keith’s Excellent Adventure”: Thank you so much, and we look forward to hearing from you!
Mary Rives and Keith Carlson


  1. It's a nice letter. We've got some overlap, as I've visited 92 different established U.S. cohousing neighborhoods.. but I'm curious, where's River Valley Cohousing in Amherst? I've been to Pine Street and Pioneer Valley more than once, but never heard of it, and it's not in any cohousing directories. I'd love to know more.

    Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach
    Planning for Sustainable Communities
    Berkeley, CA

  2. Seems like a nice letter to me. However, since you ask, my professional opinion is to cut it by at least half...its a little lengthy as a letter of introduction. On the other hand, maybe a long descriptive letter is de rigeur for visiting intentional communities, what do I know?
    Love and laughter to you my dears!

  3. Thanks to you both. It's a work in progress!

    Raines, as to your question, it's our's actually "Pioneer Valley Cohousing". Our bad!