One of my photographs and a haiku have been used by Thomas Armstrong, a ‘mostly armchair sailor’ based in the Pacific Northwest to announce an interest group that he is forming around Flotilla’s. These are loosely defined as waterbourne seafaring intentional communities. I’m a landlubber myself, but I enjoy exploring everywhere and have been dipping my toes into Thomas’s blog 70.8%. Go check it out!
One of my current thoughtstreams is about community and how this has radically changed over the past several decades. Most of us don’t have extended families, a hometown that we still live in or even a network of friends based in a particular geographical place. Much of our shopping and other daily consumer experiences are transacted with anonymous workers in chain stores and restaurants (double skinny latte from Starbucks anyone?).
I think that many people are using blogs and internet-based interest groups as a means to create a sense of community and connection. Of course connecting via cyberspace is no substitute for real time relationships, but I am amazed at the quality of some of the connections I’ve made with people whom I’ve ‘met’ online. I am going to London for a few days and plan to meet Margaret Cooter at the Knitting and Stitch show. We met via our blogs and got together at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham a few weeks ago. I really like to visit her blog to get a glimpse into London life and culture and to see what she’s up to in her studio. Great photography too. I have several other cyber fibre-friends all over the world, most I’ll probably never meet face to face, but they are interesting, inspiring people to be in electronic contact with.
Another very rich connection has been with Nicky Getgood over at Digbeth is Good. Nicky is sort of the Hostess of Diggers, a cyber social networker if you will; keeping tabs on all of the goings on and her blog is like a drinks party (anyone for Pimms?) where you can find out about the recent Digbeth gossip and upcoming happenings. After my first visit up there in August, Nicky linked up to Inspiraculum and my Digbeth posts. She was my first point of contact and I planned another trip up in which she rolled out the virtual red carpet and introduced me to a few like-minded people. We still need to get together for that Scrabble game! Maybe when I’m back up in November.
And now Inspiraculum is connected to an alternative seafaring community which includes artists and musicians. Sounds like people who are defying the norms and pushing the boundaries and making a new life based on who they are and their values, not fitting into the cookie cutter, follow the dots world. My kind of folk!
I kind of like the idea of cyber-flotillas – electronic communities of open ended voyagers, travelling in the same general direction and making the occasional rondevous. We all voyage alone, even when we are in the company of our beloved or our friends or our family, however we choose to define it. Yet the connection with kindred spirits, whether in real time or in cyberspace, reminds us that we are not totally alone in our journey. In a genuine connection with an other, we can find succor, celebration and encouragement, and share the delights and sorrows of our journey. And when we are very blessed, we meet a fellow traveller to share the journey with and to chart a new course together, exploring virgin territory and crafting a new world.