Tribes, tweets, expats and sheds?
September 2, 2013 by
Find your tribe?
I have never been big on joining groups, how about you? There are some things in life you can never imagine yourself being a part of, for me its being a member of groups – Okay, I was in the girl guides/scouts as a child and I have loved dearly the book group I was part of for many years, which gathered in our once ‘home from home’ cafe here on this island (since disbanded due to its members being scattered to the four winds, partly a phenomenon typical of our transient expat community). I have been part of other groups too…
As the years have passed, however, as soon as someone wants me to be part of a group I have an aversion. Does that sound harsh? Groups are a great way of meeting like-minded people, people who you can share common interests with. But when time to yourself is precious, having only a few hours or even minutes to yourself, signing up for what initially seems like a great way of meeting friends may end up a commitment to other activities you genuinely don’t have time for. Sometimes you just don’t have time to explain either, and yet you need times in your life to commune with those who have passions similar to ourselves and who are actively seeking a way to creatively express themselves. That is where the Shed with the Chandelier can come in, for creatives with a little precious time, where the only commitment expected is to your creative self so that you in turn can be the best you can be, developing your passions as fully as possible within the realistic constraints of all that life throws at you.
But sometimes we need some assistance and encouragement too; someone at the end of the phone who gets the whole deal, someone who has been there done it and doesn’t necessarily want to wear the t-shirt!
In reading the September issue of Psychologies magazine I am reminded yet again that ‘tribes’ ( groups of people) are the way to go. Psychologies have devoted a whole dossier to it!
Why do I mention this? Well I was on Twitter at the end of last week. (yes Twitter, another place many people say they have no time for and yet millions join including me!) I ended up tweeting with @PsychologiesMag about the very subject : Tribes.
I had carried from Scotland to my home in the Med, some magazines bought in the airport with the knowledge that we had a 5 hour wait in transit. One of which was Psychologies UK – which has lasted and lasted – so many good articles in one small handbag sized mag! (I know we can get a digital copy and I often do, but there is nothing like a good magazine in your hands from ‘home’ as you travel or sit by a pool in your other ‘home’)
“Any favourite features?” @PsychologiesMag asked. As I look at my now well thumbed copy, I realised it was their dossier, entitled ‘Find Your Tribe’, where Seth Godin is quoted as saying: “A group needs only 2 things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate” – instantly I was reminded of our Shed with the Chandelier Facebook group. A group I set up! Never say never!
Earlier in the day, during another Twitter interlude, I had been tweeting about being an ‘expat’ and sharing what has evolved into the little international hub of creativity that is the Shed with the Chandelier; my artist’s studio. Why share on Twitter? Because with all the Shed with the Chandelier activity online, there is too much good content to keep to ourselves!
Why share this group with expats? The Shed with the Chandelier online group is a bunch of artists, writers, composers, filmmakers, designers, magazine editors, aspiring and practicing makers – not necessarily just expats! What has that got to do with the Shed with the Chandelier?
A home away from home…
We as a family have just celebrated 10 years in a country other than our birth place, and my life has often been referred to as “expat” by others. Even if I would wish to run from the word myself, integration not separation would be my wish. I have lived here on this island for ten years – am I still expat?
There is, however, no denying I have experienced ‘expat life’ and it has made me the person I am today. If you have lived in another country away from established family and friends, it is sometime the case that we yearn to be surrounded by those we may have left behind – the sunshine, the pool, the cocktails, beaches and five star hotels are all lovely – but people are what makes a life too. I have shared some of the best and most intense experiences of my life with my expat friends over the last ten years, but as often is the case, it is a transitory life for many; 2 years here, 2 years there (“I know!” I hear you cry, “another term starts and my best friends have all gone!”).
Time to build up those friendships with whom you share a mutual interest is often pushed aside in your need to settle your family in a new place and to keep on moving forward. The friends you shared your earlier careers with seem so far away, and the independence you may have had sometimes seems far away too!
As artists, we are pretty adaptable. I would say we often look for and thrive on challenges and new experiences, but getting into one of those conversations about some obscure designer you love, the opera you cried over, the film that just seeped into your memory, the book that wont leave you, the song you can’t stop singing, or the idea you want to put out into the world often doesn’t get a chance to develop when the family, partners work or the country you find yourself living in fill your day with the essentials that only those who have lived the life in an expat community understand. Yes we have chosen this life, haven’t we?
Creative mentoring with Tracy
We at the virtual Shed with the Chandelier are a group with ‘shared interests and a way to communicate” – the Shed with the Chandelier tribe perhaps? By the website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and the opportunity to have one to one conversations with me too.
Do you need speak to someone who has been there and done it, but resists wearing the t-shirt too? Do you need a creative space and you don’t know where it can fit into your life? I am here waiting for your call. Contact me, Tracy, now and we can talk and find a way to make your creative dreams come true too. (fill in the contact form to get in touch and it comes directly to me and your email contact details and comment is private too)
Have your say too. Comment below – what do you think of tribes, creative groups or any other creative issues connected with following your creative dream, whilst living an expat life? or Do you think the same issues apply whatever lifestyle you lead?