We are in between villages. Some might call it lost, and certainly it feels that way at times, but we like to call it discovery.
One definition of discover is to “make known or visible.” When we leave the known for the unknown, each time and without fail, we feel exposed and vulnerable and tempted to retreat… But instead we leap, relying on past experiences where we have trusted the uncertainty and landed on both feet.
We recently had a conversation with Brian Gardner. He has been a mentor of ours for years through his work on Nosidebar and Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist website. He also designed the template we used to re-build the Livology website.
Although we only recently spoke for the first time, he left us with a profound question, “Who is in your village?” He was referring mostly to our on-line community surrounding Livology and our clarity around whether we are a travel blog or something else. To answer his question, we turned to the Portuguese village we were living in for clarity.
Our village is safe. It is a place where the senior members of the village keep their eyes on the children. It is not in order to punish them if they are out of line, but rather to keep them from harm’s way. The oldest protect the youngest, and the youngest gives the oldest purpose and joy.
Our village is complete. It provides what is necessary within walking distance. Without a car, villagers can reach the doctor or dentist, grocery, daily produce and fish market, school, church, and restaurants and bars where the community gathers daily.
Our village has an open door. People from all walks of life visit. Some stay for a week or a year or forever. Some understand the culture of the village and some don’t, but all are welcome for as long as it takes them to figure it out for themselves.
Our village is timeless and yet it is full of firsts. First jobs, first crush, first flights. There are ways to connect and ways to disconnect because both give our village balance.
Our village honors the past and welcomes the future. This was one of the things that felt profoundly different from the relationship to death we had before leaving on this journey. The cemetery is a hive of activity. It is part of daily life for many to visit, tend, adorn, weep, laugh, sweep, ponder, dream, and connect with generations past.
As we walked around our Portuguese seaside village, images from the many communities we have lived in the past four years flooded our experience and we were left with new questions:
- In what ways do we align with the values and norms in our village?
- In what ways are we supported?
- In what ways do we contribute?
We left Portugal and are in that space in between. We realize through this process of discovery, that village life, virtual or physical, is not as much about building a village, but rather about uncovering the authentic connections that already exist. It is about first making what matters most “known or visible” to ourselves. Only then can we harbor the magnetism that connects us to others and honors us with the title of villager.
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. – Ceasre Pavese
Who’s in your village?