Presenting our European Communities Tour

Leading up to our trip to Europe, I often referred to it as an “extravagant diversion.” I’d known for several years that the Star Family (Pax, Hawina, Willow, and myself) would be taking this trip.  Hawina is from the Netherlands and after our trip there in ’04 we’d planned to return in ’08 for her parents 40th wedding anniversary. When Hawina’s dad died early in ’08 it changed the nature of the trip but not the importance.

Last summer Kassia decided to join us. Her mother had promised her a plane ticket to Europe as a graduation present, which Kassia hadn’t yet used.

Circumstantially, it all made sense. But it also didn’t really make sense. After deciding not to move to the west coast (being on the other side of the continent from Willow just wasn’t going to work for me), and deciding to move to C’ville all of our explorations and learnings about building community became a very focused beam leading us back to the east coast.

It became very clear to us that we couldn’t justify a two month vacation. We needed to make the trip relevant to our future lives in C’ville. We also needed to find a way to give back for the opportunity to take such an amazing adventure.

Our trip became a communities tour. We documented our experiences in photos and words, sending emails back to a collection of correspondents in the states. Upon returning to the states we started working on two key pieces of follow up. We created a website of the material we’d generated during our travels. We also created a live presentation, which we’ve been giving at a variety of communities around Virginia.

getting ready to share Twin Oaks to Svanholm

getting ready to share Twin Oaks to Svanholm

show 'n' tell at Chrysalis Community

show 'n' tell at Chrysalis Community

While we were in Europe we did presentations on Twin Oaks and other US communities. Our intention then, and our intention in our Euro-commune presentations has been to show people that the world is both bigger and smaller than we think it is. It is bigger in the sense that there are so many groups all over the world coming together based on goals and values that are similar to groups here in the US. And it is smaller for a similar reason, that people all around the world are struggling with the same challenges and finding similar joys in the effort bring a little more beauty and a little more sanity into this world.

We’ve given our presentation here at Woodfolk House twice, at Twin Oaks, Acorn, Shannon Farm, Chrysalis, and CHUVA, to a total of about 120 people. The feedback we’ve gotten at the end of each show has been tremendously positive. People often say afterwards that they feel inspired, or that they feel like they’ve just been traveling themselves!

It’s been an honor and a pleasure. The stories we’ve been able to relay are truly amazing, and to feel like we’ve done them justice in our retelling is deeply gratifying.

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~ by karmakas on March 15, 2009.

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