The blog in on a road trip in the US for a couple of weeks. We’re driving round Florida chasing great music and alligators. Updates may be a little erratic as i get wifi.
We don’t have a plan. More of a loose list of things we want to see and places that we want to explore. A chance to unwind and broaden our horizons.
The thing about travelling is that you get to meet a lot of great people: you join communities, but often only for a short time. I started yesterday in my own bed and finished it twenty four hours later watching live music in an old bar in Tampa, surrounded by a community of musicians. Some people you bond with and they remain part of your life, others you just drop in on and leave, taking memories. These communities are based around places or events, groups that come together for a purpose. Some physical communities are old, steeped in history and generations, whilst others, like festivals, are transient: coming together in the autumn sun and fragmenting shortly afterwards.
I’m particularly interested in the emergence and development of a different type of community: social learning spaces, personal learning networks and communities of practice. Similarly based around shared goals and purpose, these are virtual spaces, groups that form and reform often around specific challenges.
In the physical community we are used to certain structures: town centres arranged along a street, industrial zones on the edge of town, police forces to patrol and a railway line to bring in commuters. We are used to the physical infrastructure and also the structures of authority and control. We are used to them because we are part of them: governed and supported by them. As i drive through the edges of town here, things are familiar, but different: the lots spaced out, each with drive thru. Lit up with neon at night.
Social learning spaces are different: they are not governed by the same rules, not accountable in the same way, not as old or stable. We can take certain notions across from the familiar physical spaces, but we shouldn’t be naive to the risks. We still travel and explore, but without the jet lag.
Travelling broadens your horizons, removes you from everyday concerns and restrictions. It changes us, like the very best learning, it changes us. Today, we’re driving down to the Everglades. It’s a time for me to tune into a new landscape, to join new communities.