For the past year all I’ve heard are the following words or phrases…community building, community managers, community, communities of practice, community exchanges, buzzing communities, online communities…and the list goes on for a while. Also my husband happens to work at the World Bank as a coordinator of their communities of practice program, and he started out as a community builder in undergraduate developing a Bosnian Diaspora Network. Before meeting my husband I had no clue that people actually took the time to create/build communities.
So what is a community? According to Webster Dictionary it’s the following: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common or a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
I never thought of starting a community or joining one because I was fine with my “tribe.” I’ve always had my social circle of friends, in which we shared similar characteristics or interests, to share trips, food and talks with and it came quite natural to have this community or circle. Also all my cousins in Spain have their social circle of friends that get together quite often to have drinks, picnics, excursions and just to hang out. They don’t use any fancy online tools to organize these outings or plan months ahead to see each other it just comes natural. I also always remember my grandpa knowing every neighbor and employee at the supermarket and taking joy in socializing with them on a daily basis. These communities were organic and shared a common interest of a desire to belong to something and know that they were not alone in this world because someone had their back.
And according to the book Blue Zones one reason some people live to a 100 and more is because of the following:
- The world’s longest-lived people are either born into or choose to create social circles that support healthy behaviors. Ikarians enjoy tight-knit communities that socialize frequently, while Okinawans build “moai” groups of five friends that commit to each other for life.
- Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness and even loneliness are contagious. Assessing who you hang out with, and then proactively surrounding yourself with the right friends, will do more to add years to your life than just about anything else.
As the years went by I realized that my lenses were quite narrow because I was fine with my tribe and not worried about the bigger picture of being part of something that was greater than just me such as my neighborhood, city, workplace, association, religion, homeless, health clubs, business, etc… If I wanted to make an impact I had to get out of my little circle and know that as a citizen of our planet Earth I had obligations to be there for others. If I had certain skills or passions I needed to share them with people who could benefit from them in some way. Thanks to all those community organizers like our President Obama real change has happened and for that people are better off.
My passion is wellness travel helping people decompress their emotions and be more satisfied with their lives by taking them to historic unknown small towns or sites to gain new perspectives and appreciation for their lives. Since I was a little girl I’ve enjoyed travel and have seen how therapeutic it can be and what a positive impact it has had in my personal life. I wanted to share that discovery with the world. And for the past couple of years I’ve bonded with several wellness practitioners because I was looking for ways to feel better both mentally and physically due to all the stress I had in my life. I’ve delved into yoga, meditation, therapy, healthy eating (yummy green smoothies), energy healing, reiki, creative expression, art expression….ok you get the picture I’ve tried it all. All those things have helped me grow in some way which is why I wanted to combine the wellness with the travel. To my surprise I found many people who found my passion for travel exploration and wellness as a great combination to help them through tough times. I decided that I needed to create a space for those people because nothing like that existed in DC so I started the “DC Wellness Full Spectrum” community to get like-minded people together to help one another and create a strong bond…it’s really that simple. I believe one should build a community only when something doesn’t exist on the subject matter or idea. There are too many communities that in the end are very similar all working toward the same mission. A community is about collaboration so if you see many communities that are very similar try to bring them all together into one nice community.
Since there happens to be a void in using travel and wellness as a means to help one’s well-being I’m currently working hard to connect people and get them to feel like they belong to something that will bring about good change. I really get joy in reading people’s posts or when they engage with one another online but the best part is when we’re all able to meet in person to talk about the common factor which is helping improve one’s well-being. My question to you is, how do I get people to become active participants in order to create some type of impact? Please answer the question on the community.