Over the years our family has moved, a lot. We’ve always loved to travel and the adventure of packing our things and heading out into the unknown. New faces. New places. Finding our new favorite restaurant, the new best place to hike or ride a bike, meeting characters from all walks of life. It’s thrilling and invigorating, but sometimes it gets lonely, even for the most intrepid wanderer. What has become clear to us from all of our experiences is that anyone can move into a community, but finding community is another matter altogether. When you do find it, it transforms the notion of home from a collection of things and a circle on a map to a collection of feelings, from the literal to the abstract.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary a community is “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” When we moved to Florida, for example, we chose a town that was in a part of the state that we were unfamiliar with. Not knowing anyone, we found some places we liked to hang out and spent time getting to know people. That led us to eventually joining an outrigger canoe club. For the uninitiated, outrigger canoes are Polynesian style. They are 45 feet long and can seat 6 people. It was something completely new to us, be we knew wanted to be on the water, get in shape and cultivate relationships with like-minded people. Eventually, this led us to a race in Hawaii, which was thoroughly life-changing. We flew halfway around the world and experienced what it really means to be fortunate enough to have friends that are your ‘ohana or family. Now our town is more than just a dot on a map, but a place to call home.
A person may have the most beautiful mountain view, a perfectly curated home or the best restaurants in the country at their fingertips and still feel that something just isn’t quite right if they haven’t found their sense of belonging. As we move, we pack each box with our hopes, dreams and aspirations. When it’s time to unpack and put each thing in its rightful place, we must not forget to take care to put ourselves where we belong.