Things I've collected along the way

Things I've collected along the way

Some of the many Tribes that live on Capitol Hill in Seattle

Some of the many Tribes that live on Capitol Hill in Seattle

What does it mean to be part of a Tribe in the 21st Century? Some people still live a tribal life but most of us live now in cities or close to them, far from where our ancestors were born. Our social geography forces us to bump up against our differences every day, and we've become, for the most part, successful at tolerating, even embracing, those differences. But I think we all need to really connect with certain people, to know there are others who share our passion for something, whether that's politics, photography or tiny houses. I don't want to feel that my tribe is exclusive or factional. We all know that too much tribalism can lead to conflict and war. There are many many definitions of the word "tribe" out there, some not so positive. But below is the simplest definition I came across and the one I want to emphasize:

Tribe: A group of people sharing an occupation, interest, or habit.
— American Heritage Dictionary

Since I've spent so much of my life roaming, I've become acutely aware of my Tribelessness. I've dabbled in a lot of different things; biking, climbing, crafts, cooking. But I never really got enthusiastic about any one thing. And I didn't do a very good job of staying in touch with the many wonderful people I'd encountered.  About the time my biological alarm clock became deafening, C and I were traveling in Australia. There's something immensely powerful about that continent.  The ancient tribes of Aboriginals seemed to always be whispering through the wind about embracing the earth, animals, sky and water. I knew then that the first tribe I would belong to was Mothers. 

It took several more years for us to enter the Tribe of Parenthood, and it's been well worth the wait. But as my child grows and discovers his own interests, I'm realizing there is much more I want to explore. For example, mobile photography rivets me, and all the images in this blog were captured and edited on an iPhone or iPad. What mobile photographers are doing with their images and imaginations is fascinating, and I'm starting to "liberate my art" and connect with others through this interest. (Please see the fantastic work of Kat Sloma, organizer of "Liberate Your Art", who has brought thousands of artists together through art swaps).

My family and I are now about to move to England where my husband C has taken a job in London.  Just as I was in a groove, feeling at home, hitting my stride, I find myself leaving a job, friends and family I adore to go live in another country. Writing this blog will be one way for me to stay connected and make new connections, as so many of us these days are finding our Tribes through what interests we share over the internet.  I will be looking out and looking in and contemplating where my personal and professional energy will go. I will be sending my family's story out into the universe and hoping to converse with many of you virtually.  And along the way, I will be Finding My Tribe. 

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
— Jane Howard