Life on the Road: Adventures with StoryCorps’ Mobile Tour Staff (July 24 – July 28, 2022)
Soap Lake, WA-July 24, 2022
Hello from Soap Lake, WA! We are pretty pumped to have two days of field recordings here!
This little city has been built up around…you guessed it: Soap Lake! The lake boasts the most diverse naturally occurring mineral content on earth, and people have flocked to the lake for its healing properties for centuries, from Tsincayuse or Sinkiuse tribes to World War I veterans suffering from Buerger’s disease.
It’s no surprise, then, that our recording space is a natural medicine practice full of peaceful, healing vibes:
Here, we heard stories about waitressing and bartending the city’s nightlife scene, an adventure that brought one woman here from Yorkshire, England, to Soap Lake, discussions, and plans to create the largest lava lamp in the world (60 feet tall!) After recording, Lea and I jumped into the lake to test out the healing properties for ourselves. We don’t know if it healed us or not, but we sure felt rejuvenated afterwards! We also felt grateful–Lea pointed out how lucky we are to hear stories about such a special place all day, then get to experience it for ourselves.
Leavenworth, WA – July 26, 2022
Lea and I are both off work today, so we are headed to Leavenworth, WA, a nearby Bavarian village.
En route, we got some delicious coffee at Favored Farmhouse.
We also couldn’t resist the urge to stop and take a dip in the Wenatchee River on the way. The air here smelled so splendidly of pine trees that even looking at this picture brings the scent back.
As we eat pretzels and overlook the colorful streets in Leavenworth, we truly feel like we’ve somehow traveled abroad. Life on the road can be like that sometimes–an hour or so away and suddenly we find ourselves in a completely new environment, seeing the world as if with new eyes. It’s wild how we’ve now seen so much, and, yet, there is always another unexpected gem around the corner, just as sparkly as the last experience we’ve had.
Moses Lake, WA – 7/27/22
We all have a way of creating home on the road as we travel to new temporary spaces each month. Teriyana likes to find health food stores where she can find her favorite snacks. Naomi likes to make playlists that remind her of the various places she’s lived. Sonia likes to take walks to explore her new surroundings. Back when she was a Mobile Tour Facilitator, Lea brought her favorite tapestry with her to decorate each room she stayed in. My ritual is to make Sun Art from the plants I see in the area. Since I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, collecting leaves and flowers as part of the process makes me feel closer to home.
Here’s what I made this month from a bundle of lavender given to me by a kind stranger at the farmer’s market and some Sweet Gum Tree seeds that I collected from around Moses Lake’s Japanese Peace Garden:
Moses Lake, WA – 7/28/22
And just like that, we are done! We had our last day of recordings at the Civic Center today, said our goodbyes, and packed up.
After 10 months on the road, every stop seems to go even faster than the last. Maybe it’s because our days are so full, or maybe this is just how time feels at this stage in our lives. Either way, the car ride to our next destination is always a nice time to slow down and reflect. On Sunday, we will drive to Boise, ID so I’ll get the chance to do just that. I’m sure plenty more thoughts and adventures await that I would love to share with you, but this will be my last blog post for now. Thanks so much for tuning in! Until next time, I challenge you to ask your loved ones, or someone you’d like to know better, some great questions!
Click here to read the first installment of the Mobile Tour series.
Click here to read the second installment of the Mobile Tour series.
Click here to read the third installment of the Mobile Tour series.
Announcing the 2017 StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour
With the new year, we are on a new journey across the United States. In 2017, StoryCorps’ MobileBooth will travel more than 4,000 miles from the Gulf Coast of Florida to Michigan’s Great Lakes, then down the Mississippi River finishing the year in Southern Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter and be the first to know when appointments open up.
StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour 2017
We are excited to work with the following NPR affiliated radio stations to bring the iconic Airstream trailer to their communities…
January 5 – February 3, Fort Myers, FL, in partnership with WGCU
February 9 – March 10, Mobile, AL, in partnership with Alabama Public Radio
March 16 – April 14, Lexington, KY, in partnership with WUKY
April 20 – May 19, Cincinnati, OH, in partnership with Cincinnati Public Radio
May 25 – June 23, Bloomington, IN, in partnership with WFIU
June 29 – July 28, Detroit, MI, in partnership with WDET
August 3 – September 1, Des Moines, IA, in partnership with Iowa Public Radio
September 7 – October 6, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, MN, in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio
October 12 – November 10, Shreveport, LA, in partnership with Red River Radio
November 16 – December 20, Corpus Christi, TX, in partnership with KEDT
Along the way, our iconic Airstream trailer and a crew of facilitators will stop in 10 cities for a month at a time each, recording meaningful conversations and preserving them in the StoryCorps archive in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
Since 2005, the StoryCorps MobileBooth Tour has visited more than 200 cities and traveled nearly 100,000 miles. In each city StoryCorps works with station partners, cultural institutions, and community based organizations to help spread the word, and encourage people to record a conversation with someone they love to be preserved for future generations.
As StoryCorps works to become an enduring institution that touches the lives of every American, the MobileBooth Tour continues to provide an authentic StoryCorps experience to individuals across the country who may not otherwise have access to one of our permanent StoryBooths in Chicago and Atlanta.
StoryCorps’ MobileBooth Tour is made possible, in part, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
StoryCorps: 10 Years on the Road
For the last decade, our Airstream trailer, outfitted with a recording studio, has been partnering with local public radio stations across the country to give people in local communities the chance to record an interview with a loved one that will be archived for future generations in the Library of Congress.
The tour, which began in May 2005 and shows no signs of slowing down, has already visited over 200 cities and traveled over 80,000 miles.
Where We Go
Our Mobile staff considers several key factors before choosing a location for our MobileBooth to visit:
While all recordings for our Mobile Tour take place inside our MobileBooth, complications in weather can make it difficult for visitors to reach us. In addition to weather complications, the MobileBooth can only reach temperatures inside of 20 degrees above or below the outdoor temperature, making warmer climates ideal.
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives. When deciding where to travel, our Mobile team takes diversity into account.
3. Past Visits
Over a 10-year span, our MobileBooth has traveled all over the continental United States (and Hawaii). Some cities we return to, although usually at least three to five years after the initial visit. Regional diversity is also important to us. Although we’ve made visits to major cities such as NYC and L.A., we’ve also visited smaller cities such as our recent stop in Vernal, Utah.
Partners for our Mobile Tour include local public radio stations, community-based organizations, and cultural institutions. Overall, we choose a location that is iconic, comfortable, and accessible to all members of the community. Finding a spot large enough to park an Airstream trailer can be difficult so we work with our local partners to locate a great temporary home for the MobileBooth.
Participant accessibility is very important. The MobileBooth is equipped with a wheelchair lift but does not have a bathroom so we make sure that all our stops are in close proximity to bathrooms. Participants are also able to record their interview in any language they wish.
For one or two days of each stop, our interviews are conducted at a field location. This makes it easier for some participants to reach us. We work hard to maintain a StoryCorps feel at each field location and provide the same experience a participant would receive recording in the MobileBooth.
Some Questions Our Mobile Facilitators Are Asked…
Where Do the Facilitators Sleep?
Yes, we know this might sound like a wacky question, but we get it all the time. No, our facilitators do not sleep in the MobileBooth. Accommodations are handled by local partners ensuring that our staff have a comfortable place to stay when they are not recording amazing interviews.
Did Obama Record in the Airstream Trailer?
President Barack Obama and Noah McQueen recorded an interview with StoryCorps earlier this year. The interview was recorded in the White House, although many people guess that the MobileBooth was the actual location.
2016 Mobile Tour Announced
Here are a few of the stops and partnerships scheduled for next year’s MobileBooth Tour. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional locations and updates on when and how to register to record your story:
Las Cruces, New Mexico (in partnership with KRWG)
San Antonio, Texas (in partnership with Texas Public Radio)
Nashville, Tennessee (in partnership with Nashville Public Radio-WPLN)
Washington, DC (in partnership with WAMU)
Baltimore, Maryland (in partnership with WYPR)
Providence, Rhode Island (in partnership with Rhode Island Public Radio)
Colchester, Vermont (in partnership with Vermont Public Radio)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (in partnership with WESA)
Columbia, South Carolina (in partnership with South Carolina Public Radio)