Has your life been impacted by more than one culture?
Have you lived abroad or grown up in a culture different from the one that surrounds you today?
Have you lived or worked amongst people who did things or thought about things very differently?
If any of these questions resonate, and you’re an Instagrammer, then this year’s #MayontheMove2021 community challenge is for you. Whether you are balancing between two cultures, embracing many or struggling to get your footing in a new environment, this is your call to action!
Digital nomads, expats, immigrants, children of immigrants, global citizens, third culture kids, repats . . . Over the month of May, we’ll share 16 prompts on Instagram encouraging you to connect and share your story – as much or as little of it as you like: just a picture, or a short caption or hashtag, or something longer if you’re inspired.
Last year, I was so motivated by the way stories emerged through posts, and especially by the insights and recognition that came through as people commented on one another’s posts. And I made new friends!
One of whom is the brilliant and astute Margarita of Diverse in the City. At her blog and in her Instagram feed, she shares her insights about how we experience, perceive, and communicate diversity. I’m always inspired by how deeply she engages and encourages in this community, and I’m so honoured that she accepted my invitation to co-host with me this year for #MayontheMove2021. It’s such a buzz to have a new buddy along for the ride!
The relaxed pace of last year’s challenge was well-received, so we’re sticking with just 16 prompts across the month – you can follow the suggested dates here or go at your own pace. With one exception, these are all-new prompts, but they are wide open to your own interpretation!
Alongside crossing cultures and global living, we’ve included storytelling as a theme with some of the prompt words. I was so inspired by the stories that emerged through the challenge last year, and I know how much I have learned about myself through telling my own story, the connections that emerge and insight I gain in the process. At the FIGT conference this year there were several mentions of the ‘hero’s journey’, and it’s clear that examining our lives with the help of story structure can be powerful!
But you might prefer expressing your ideas visually – so whether you prefer to write a caption, or just share an image that connects to the prompt, it’s up to you! But there are suggestions below, just in case you get stuck for inspiration. And remember, you don’t have to share for every prompt! Just drop in and out if that suits you better.
1/5 Back Story
Introduction time: tell us where you are, how you got there, what matters to you… whatever you want to tell us about yourself, so that we can start getting to know you.
Do you have roots in a particular place, or not? Are roots important? Or is it better to have wings? Do your roots go back through previous generations or are you setting down new roots in a new a different place? Or in multiple places? Perhaps you have planted something and you love watching it grow?
5/5 Mentors and Mates
In any story, the hero encounters characters who’ve gone before them, who can offer advice, or a sounding board, or help them understand themselves better. And there are companions alongside the hero, making sure they don’t have to meet their challenges alone. Who are, or have been, your mentors and mates? What memorable moments have you shared with them?
This is the one prompt that has stayed the same from last year, because it is so integral to our perspective of our world, and there are so many different aspects to it. 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? Perhaps you have thoughts about the cultural impact of the language we use, or the way we frame our own experiences with language choice.
A change of place, the way we travel, or an emotional impact – there are very different ways to interpret this word. You might share about a challenging move from one country to another, or how it feels to have your movement restricted, or maybe you read something recently that moved you to a particular action or reaction.
We all have generations that have gone before us, and many have generations going after us. In what ways are your experiences the same as or different from theirs? What have you inherited, and what will you be passing on? Are you striving for balance between the expectations of different generations?
Are rituals and traditions important to you? Do you maintain traditions that connect you to a particular culture? Perhaps you rely on family tradition or rituals to create a sense of belonging. Have you adopted traditions from different places and cultures? Maybe you prefer to buck tradition altogether.
15/5 Plot Twist
What has happened in your story that went against all your expectations? Perhaps there there was something unplanned-for, or very surprising. Or maybe you set aside expectations and accept all the twists and turns as they come.
Is community important to you? Where do you find it? Whether in real life, or online, in one place or many, what helps you feel a sense of community, or how do you create it?
Perhaps you have found ways to create a sense of continuity while moving from place to place. Do you seek to create continuity across generations? What has stayed continuous in your life across cultures?
Recommend something to us! A book, film, Netflix binge, podcast, blog, writer, location, cafe, piece of advice, life hack…anything at all!
This is a powerful Portuguese word that doesn’t have a direct translation. Here’s one explanation from an article on NPR:
The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again. My favorite definition of saudade is by Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo: “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.”Jasmine Garsd at npr.org
Does this resonate with you? What are you nostalgic for, from a place or culture?
Simple pleasures, or guilty pleasures (an oxymoron, surely), or unadulterated joy… what do you enjoy most?
27/5 Mental Health
It’s normal to have mental health challenges. You are welcome to share something specific, or make a general comment about what impacts our mental health as we live across cultures. Or even just post a photo of something that helps lift your mood. Remember to be compassionate and careful in engaging with each other’s posts.
29/5 Inspired by…
For this prompt, we’d love you to share a post that has inspired you during #MayontheMove2021, whether in your feed or as a story. The best part of the challenge is connecting with what others have shared, so pass it on and show some love to what you loved!
31/5 Next Chapter
Looking ahead, do you have goals you will be working towards? Will you be on the move, or putting down deeper roots? Are you optimistic? Perhaps you can see changes that need to happen, close to home or in the wider world.
Hopefully that has provided some inspiration, if you needed it. But remember, the way you interpret each prompt is entirely up to you.
Look forward to seeing you in the squares!
Thanks so much to Margarita for her help with putting all of this together.
Thanks for reading. I hope it was useful! If you want to keep up to date with future posts and behind-the-scenes insights, click here to join my journey, and receive a preview from my memoir exclusive to your inbox.
And thanks for all the likes, comment, and support here, and on Instagram and Facebook. It costs you nothing, but means everything to me!