I've been on the road for eleven months now. And as the anniversary approaches and I'm more and more able to say "I've been doing this almost a year" the reactions of others (and my own feelings) have moved from "Yikes! That's scary" to "OK, so it seems to work for you, that's interesting".
One of the things that comes up regularly is the idea that I'm travelling through my network, through people rather than places. It was one of the big learnings for me from #PLATE11 and it's continued to be an important insight.
It's not that I don't like the places I've been or that I'm not interested in seeing new sights, it's that the people are much more important to me. My commitment is to the people in my network (that's a horrible way to talk about acquaintances, colleagues, friends and family, but still) not to any one place or space or house or community.
It helps me to think about it in the frame of interpersonal relationships. I think that what's happened is I've let go of the idea of a long term, exclusive relationship with one place, one set of rooms in a fixed location, one group of people who share that space. I can't be married to a postcode anymore. I get more out of being able to move between them. And i'm able to give more too, but it does mean that my community work is distributed, not concentrated in one place and sometimes I make that mean that I'm not doing anything valuable, because there's little to show for what I've been doing, but I think overall that I'm actually more effective.
I hope that they all know that they're all special to me, but that I can't, at the moment, stick with any one.
And I expect that, having noticed it and written about it, it will probably change.
PS If I heard anyone talking about their intimate, romantic relationships like this, I'd say they were kidding themselves. That it would ultiimately lead to too much pain and confusion. What's the difference? Is it something to do with places not being people? Am I kidding myself? How would I know?
Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous