East Coast Tour 2015 – Notes from the Road #1


With Training Week in Fredericton under their belts, Otesha’s 2015 East Coast Cycling and Performing Tour has hit the road! In today’s update, a few of the team members share stories and reflect on how their pedal-powered adventure is unfolding.



I had a strong feeling when signing up for Otesha that the other people doing it would be my kind of people, considering how many rad awesome cool people I know that have been involved with it in the past. In general, my best friends are people with whom I can go from being totally goofy to having meaningful life talks. I am sooooooo happy to find myself in a group of amazing people with whom I can do just that!

During training week we had a lot of workshops and group discussions about topics such as oppression and privilege, active listening, food, fears & support, safety, and more. It’s been a reflective time for me and I’ve been drawing many comparisons to a program I participated in 6 years ago where I was with a group of youth and we also did many workshops and group discussions on the same type of topics. I don’t know if it’s related to age, life experience (the group back then having been a bunch of teenagers, whereas now we’re all in our 20’s) or personality, however on my first experience in this type of intensive group setting I felt like there was a lot of disrespect for the processes of group decision making, and for the opinions of one another, which left me feeling a bit discouraged and skeptical of this type of organized group project.

This week I’ve been STOKED to discover that this situation is very different… We are all putting away our ‘cool cards’ to open up, learn from one another, share our vulnerabilities and insights. Processes are respected as are differences in opinions and backgrounds. Every day is filled with learning and laughter and every night is a slumber party and it’s such a blast to be spending so much time with these brilliant, creative, engaged, hilarious, and strong teammates of mine. – XOX Emily

Elyssia Bio Pick


Day two. We sat on the front lawn of the parsonage, allowing our lunch of tasty donated foods to digest. A blue Toyota pulls up in the parking lot next to us, and out steps a lovely lady from the Church of Nazerene.
“We thought you might be hungry” she says, producing a fruit tray. We graciously accept the donation, and munch happily on succulent segments of pineapple and honeydew melon for dessert.

“Is anyone going to eat this dip?” asked Emma, referring to the untouched circle in the centre of the tray.

“I dunno,” said Natasha. “It probably has dairy in it.”We look at the packaging. Indeed, it is ‘cream cheese style’ dip.

Andrea dips her strawberry into the mysterious substance. “Ugh. It’s basically icing.”

Emma took a look at the package a little closer. “What?!?” she exclaimed incredulously. “It has an ingredient called cream cheese preparation. What is that?”

After, we all took a moment to ponder what cream cheese could possibly need to be prepared for. – Elyssia


Day 10, and I am overwhelmed by generosity. It began when I flew into New Brunswick with fellow tour member Jessica. Assembling our bikes in the airport, we were approached by at least three people wondering if we required help or directions (“yes” to both!). The directions were clear but unfortunately applied to cars, so we had to walk our bikes over a convoluted pedestrian walkway to avoid a busy, uphill, shoulder-less road… in the dark with no dinner.

However, generosity overcame this setback as we crashed in the backyard of an enthusiastic person from an online cycling community, Warm Showers. Throughout training week, our group was brought together by food donated from local grocers, free accommodations, facilitated workshops, cash donations to the charity, and servicing of our trusty steeds. It’s encouraging to know so many people will give all this to support to us before we have even departed. I shelve every “good luck” and “ride safe” with me on the road with much gratitude! – Andrea



My greatest fear for this tour was performing the play. But after three performances, many missed lines and cues, clapping and dancing out of tune, and crashing to the floor with such vigour while “pretending” to trip during rehearsal, I think it is fair to say, FEAR VANQUISHED! Well…almost. – Natasha