For nearly 20 years, it’s been me and my computer and an internet connection (and often my daughter, especially when she was younger) just working from wherever I happened to be. I’d joke that my HQ was in Canada, but I was working from the branch office in Beirut or Kampala or Bangkok or Santiago… It made my consulting business sound huge, which was fun.
But it was really only me.
The kind of work I do—facilitation, curriculum development, writing—for clients around the world, doesn’t require a place so much as a connection. In the mid-90s, this was challenging, but developing quickly. When others complained about too much e-mail or being interrupted by chat messages, I just prized it all as the technology improved, because it made the work I love possible. I didn’t know anything about digital nomads or location-independent business, and there were no role models for such things. I was just doing it.
But I longed for a tribe.
Like-minded people who would understand why I chose to do my work in this way. Why work-life balance never made sense to me, because I never got the divide in the first place. Why picking up and going to a new place wasn’t a big deal, but just the next thing. Why neglecting furniture purchases at home made sense to me—because I was so mobile (who needs a couch then?), and wanted to buy experiences rather than things. And so on.
There were a few years when I spent a lot of time dreaming about my tribe, thinking about the kind of people they would be, and trying all kinds of things to find them. I did a lot of interesting stuff and met many wonderful people. I even made life-long friends; but they weren’t my tribe. After awhile, I started to give up a little. But it was always in the back of my mind.
So, when I heard about Tribewanted, those words kept going through my head: tribe wanted, tribe wanted, tribe wanted, tribe wanted … like a kind of incantation for luck, a cri de coeur. It had been chanting in my heart all this time, for years and years. I signed up with both expectation and trepidation—would this really be my tribe? Through the doorway, then, into this new, vibrant Bali space.
Meeting with the group made me feel—this is it! What excitement. A few weeks in, here’s what I like about the tribe:
The tribe is enriching me with new perspectives and forcing me to re-think what I’m doing and why. They can ask wonderfully awkward questions. They’re helping me sharpen my ideas and get more work done, while opening huge new vistas to explore. I’m connecting with creative change-makers all around the world and building new friendships that I feel sure will endure. I hope I’m giving back half as much.
Tribe wanted. Tribe here. And a new, contented susurration: tribe found, tribe found, tribe found..!
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