I hope by now you’ve seen my building excitement for #MayontheMove2019 over on Instagram. It’s building slowly, but I can’t wait to see what connections will emerge!
If you’re still not quite sure what it’s all about, read on for a primer and some inspiration.
Depending on what you choose to follow, you might well have seen similar challenges on other Insta-communities. As a lurker in the online sewing community (I’ll get to that fabric stash someday!) I watch my favourite sewing bloggers share their makes in challenges like #MeMadeMay. I get more involved (or at least start with great intentions) when it comes to challenges for writers, such as #prep_toberchallege, in the run up to NaNoWriMo.
There are a few challenges around for travel bloggers, especially the kind who have curated, colour-coordinated grids full of azure seas and girls walking away from the camera with their hand stretched out behind them. (Nothing wrong with that. You do you. And you’re welcome here too.) But I’d been looking out for an expat-themed challenge for a while, thinking somebody could give me some prompts to help up my Instagram game.
But, I didn’t find one. So I made one.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, a host will share a set of posting prompts, usually lasting a week or month. There will be an associated hashtag. Everyone who gets involved by responding to the prompts will follow the hashtag, and perhaps make connections with others who are also responding. It might mean you get inspired to post in a way you wouldn’t usually, find new motivation for creating what you care about, and even pick up some new engaged followers along the way.
So for #MayontheMove2019 I’ve prepared 16 prompts (paced for introverts…) to share throughout the month. I’ll post every other day, starting on 1 May – you can follow the same schedule, or catch up as and when, picking and choosing just the prompts that inspire you most, if you prefer.
And don’t fall into the trap of thinking every post has to be a beautiful insta-worthy azure-hued square of gorgeousness. Au contraire mes amis. That is not the point. By all means share your favourite sunset photo of your favourite-ever location. But if that’s not to hand, share a quick (filtered or not – no judgement) selfie to go with your thoughts. Or knock up a typographical image instead of a photo. Or snap a sketch. Or scribble the prompt on a post-it and share a picture of that. And you can use stories too; it’s all up to you. I’ll say it again – you do you.
However you decide to share, just make sure you are tagging #MayontheMove2019 as you go, and following the hashtag to see what others are posting.
(And ideally, follow @thefrustratednester of course, for regular updates!)
The prompts are designed to be wide open, so interpret each prompt as the mood takes you! But in case you get stuck, here’s a quick rundown of ideas for each prompt.
Day 1: Introduction. An easy one to start with! Introduce yourself! Tell us as much or as little as you like, and perhaps what the idea of what being ‘on the move’ means in your life.
Day 2: ‘Home’. The quotation marks are very deliberate here, as although all the prompts can be taken in any way, this one will surely be the loosest for many of us. For you, home may be one geographical location, or many, or none. Your ‘home’ may be defined by a group of people, or by an activity in which you feel free. Tell us about what home is, or isn’t, to you.
Day 3: Away. This could mean the place you are living just now, where you go for escape, or what it means for you to be away from a certain place or people. Or perhaps it makes you think of what or who is far away from where you are now.
Day 4: Dream. Is your dream destination still on your bucket list? Or have you been there already? Perhaps your ultimate dream is to return home, or you feel you are living the dream right now.
Day 5: Country ❤. Tell us about a country you love, or have loved, or would love to visit. What brings out the love in you in a particularly country? Or is it that you love the countryside, whatever that evokes where you are right now?
Day 6: City ❤ Is there a city that has your heart? Or a city where you lost your heart to someone else? Do you love city life in general? Tell us your urban dreams.
Day 7: Local. Perhaps you have a recommendation for a place that only comes from having spent time as a local. Where do you consider yourself a local? Is it in more than one place? You could give us a snapshot of what is local to you right now, or describe a local custom that has surprised you.
Day 8: Bucket list. Do you have a bucket list? Is it for the region where you’re currently living, or more globally ambitious? You could tell us what’s at the top of your bucket list, or give us the must-go bucket list destination that you recommend to everybody.
Day 9: Culture shock. We’ve all been there. How hard did it hit? What’s been the biggest culture shock you’ve experienced? What stage of culture shock are you at right now? What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done as a result of culture shock?
Day 10: Culture blend. Perhaps you’ve lived somewhere long enough that you’ve adopted aspects of another culture. Have you been through the process of observing your own cultural assumptions being tempered as you see it from the perspective of another? Or maybe you already identify as a TCK or ATCK. Then again, you may be resisting other influences, and holding on to your own culture as you move through the world.
Day 11: Missing. What do you miss from home, that you wish you could bring in your suitcase? Perhaps you’ve repatted, and now you’re missing the open road. Or are you missed? Tell us your thoughts.
Day 12: Language. Have you learned another language? Do you find it liberating, or just feel frustrated by language barriers? What insights have you gained into other cultures by studying or observing the language? Or, on another tack, you might have thoughts to share about the language used in the expat sphere, and what it means to be globally mobile.
Day 13: Souvenirs. Show us your favourite mementos of life on the move, or simply share one of your favourite memories. Do you think that having souvenirs is important? Is there an item you look for in every destination?
Day 14: Lodging. This could be a chance to share your stories of challenging accommodation experiences: the komodo dragon in teh back garden, or the maribou stork at the front door. Or state your travel preferences: are you a luxury lover, an airbnb addict, or a devoted camper? Perhaps you can just reminisce about your Middle East mansion, or that special hotel you dream of going back to.
Day 15: Best advice. What’s the best advice you received about living abroad? Or the crucial advice you have to offer others? Every day’s a school day – let’s learn together!
Day 16: Repost. This is the only prompt where I have something specific to ask you: look back over the posts from the month with the #MayontheMove2019 hashtag, and choose one (at least!) to repost and share. Let’s share the love!