And after a month or more on the road, our son is being remarkable. And I think constantly of the things which I am always commenting on: for example, the need humans have for connection and belonging. And I am told repeatedly that 3 year olds need continuity, regularity…routine. And what do I know? Sounds reasonable. And occasionally our boy melts down, and he will sometimes say…let’s get food and go home and eat it. ‘Home’ being wherever we are staying at that time. And possibly because almost all of our travels have involved staying with loving, playful families, all friends, then maybe he feels part of many places. Maybe he feels part of ‘us’…his family…maybe he feels safe and secure with us his parents, (we have travelled with him since he was born…he usually sleeping between us wherever we are) so that his sense of belonging and connection is something that travels with him. This seems to make sense too. And he seems to be flourishing.
So in our work of community, health, education, and all those related fields, our ideas of ‘connection, security and belonging’ can possibly stretch to mean more than traditional senses of place, community and country. And as important as these ideas are, and they really are, in a modern world of movement I am coming to think that we can create sense of connection and belonging in many ways.
Travellers can feel connections with each other, people who have had similar life experiences, those who have shared a sense of exclusion in life, being gay or lesbian in Sydney during Mardi Gras (or even looking like you might be gay or lesbian) creates a link.
In our travels and now in Athens and in between places and on our way to our next family connection, I came down to breakfast on my own today as my family slept, and over coffee had a delightful conversation with a woman from California working on family connections here. A brief encounter. Yet worthwhile and meaningful. And we found what we shared.
Towns and schools, restaurants or whole communities, can feel welcoming or ominous. So maybe that sense of belonging and being connected and part of something which is so important to each of us, can be a feeling, a spirit and a sense that we carry with us. A travelling sense of connection and being part of something.