Call it a network, a clan, a tribe, a family; whatever you call it and wherever you are – you need one. When you travel, move, relocate, and move away from ‘home’ I have always found the most important thing to do is to build your community around you. To find your people.
Following a weekend filled with ‘community’ time, I have found myself feeling more settled now than I have felt in a long time. As I sat out under the stars, laughing and drinking and singing with the people who have become my community here, I felt a sense of calm. I looked around me and saw people I love, and who love me. People I am able to trust and people who make my heart feel full.
For most of my life I’ve been looking for my people. The people who get you; who are on the same wavelength. Some might even say the people who share the same brand of quirky, crazy, or oddness that you do. The ones who understand why you do what you do, or if they don’t understand, they either ask or they just accept, and either way is fine.
Being someone who never quite ‘fit in’, finding my people has never been easy! As I grew up, I always felt this sense of never being at home or comfortable within a group of people.
Of course, I had friends and close family, but there was often a particular connection I was missing. The connection where my particular sort of oddness was accepted and cherished. In my late teens I started to understand what it was I was looking for and who, in turn, was looking for me. In my small group of long-lasting friends from that time I know I am accepted, loved and cherished – no matter where my path may take me.
However, in travelling and uprooting myself as often as I do, I sometimes find that it is when I get out of my comfort zone that I finally find what I have been looking for.
When you first arrive in a new city and new job, you find yourself going on a 24/7 charm offensive as you are introduced to new people. You attend every event you are invited to and are the best, most likeable version of yourself as you navigate the social groups and potential friendships. Yet, as a natural introvert, this was against most of how I would normally act, and there was always that niggling feeling that this was not quite right, and I was unlikely to find my people by not being completely myself.
I realised that the only way I was going to find my people and be able to have the urban family around me that I needed was to step out of my comfort zone and do more of the things that interest me rather than what I thought others wanted of me.
Through exploring my interests, engaging in conversations I actually wanted to be a part of and, most importantly, being myself, I met people who genuinely accept me, like me, respond to me, open up to me, and both value me and appreciate that I value them. I found genuine, fun, creative, caring people with whom I can connect and completely be my odd, awkward self.
It takes time to find your people, and I’m thankful for my urban families, my tribes, my communities – every one of them both here, at home, and all over the world.