What I’ve Learned from #MayontheMove2020
Comments create connection
Because I committed to commenting on every post (I’m not quite up to date at the time of writing, mind you!) it really brought home to me what I already knew but didn’t always engage with. Following someone and liking their posts is great, but when you take a moment to share with them what you liked, even if it’s just highlighting the words that resonated, it creates a deeper connection. Firstly, because that person knows they reached you, and why, but also because that comment can open a deeper conversation. While we are likely to have spent a bit of time crafting a post caption, our responses to comments can be more spontaneous, and, dare I say it, more authentic. I’ve found this way that I have more in common with some people than I thought.
You can tell a whole lot of your story in 300 words or fewer
I’ve only just looked up the official limit for an Instagram post, which is 2200 characters. 300 words was my own unofficial limit for trying to keep posts from being too long, and to be honest, I often went over! But I loved seeing how people could summarise their response to a prompt and still cover a lot of internationally-lived ground. (There are a lot of potential memoirs out there!) For an even greater challenge, check out the six-word memoir, and see what you can come up with.
There’s someone awesome out there for you…
You’re not going to find deep connection with 86 other people, but there’s definitely someone – a few someones – in that number whose experience, perspective, sense of humour, or leftfield interests chime with yours.
…and they might have been right in front of you all along
If you’re anything like me, you’ve discovered that people you’ve been following for a while, and maybe not paying much attention to (see thoughts on comments, above) are already your awesome people.
How do we stay connected as we go into the summer months?
- Make sure you’re following the people whose posts resonated most with you, and build up a commenting habit!
- Have a browse through the ‘Discover’ and ‘Community’ highlights at my profile @thefrustratednester to see what you might have missed. I’ll leave them there for at least a few months.
- Encourage each other by sharing what you love.
- Find ways to support your favourite accounts further: follow their links, buy their books, listen to their podcast episodes and, especially, sign up for their emails! (Want to know why this last one is the most important? I’ll share more on that soon.)
- Get more support and community from one of the following Facebook groups: Tandem Nomads, Expats on Purpose, Portable Careers for Expats, Two Fat Expats…there are many more. Recommend your favourite in the comments.
THANK YOU!! to everyone who took part in this year’s challenge. Last year it started small, and I thought maybe this year it could double in size. But it really found a moment, and according to my final reckoning, we had 87 participants who made reference to the challenge! There’s a lot of new connections in that arbitrary number, and a lot of stories being told, whether for the first time, or with the benefit of new perspectives, or to a new audience.
As well as watching people connect, what really gave me a thrill was seeing common themes emerge across the month, themes of longing and belonging, cultural challenge, and growth.
I do love it when a plan comes together, but actually, my plan was: boost my network, give myself things to write about, have some Insta-consistency. It became a lot more than that. So this is less a plan that came together, more a community that grew together, perhaps just at a time when some needed it most. I don’t think the A-Team could have driven that out of a garage in the space of one montage.
So thanks once again to all who participated, whether you posted once, a few times, or completed the set – you created the community.
Thanks to Catherine and others at The International for giving us all a boost.
And especially thank you to my awesome co-host Erin! She brought her perspective on life in Copenhagen, travel, and a thoughtful, sensitive response to the times we are living in. Make sure you visit her website, Oregon Girl Around the World, and have a look at her travel blog community, Faraway Files.
I’ll just leave my own call-to-action here before I go, obvs…
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