I’ve thinking a lot lately about how to create community. This is a conflict I often face as a poly person and as someone who wants to travel. Ben and I are now in Zhengzhou, China. We are quite happily working as English teachers at a university. We have a contract until June 30 of next year and we don’t think we’ll stay longer than that. We do like our jobs here, but the city is quite polluted and we’re living in the boonies. When I did my Master’s, I attended York University in Toronto, which is in the suburbs – I would compare our university to that. Over the weekend, I took public transit from downtown to where we’re living and it took nearly 2 hours. You, dear reader, can imagine that this isn’t exactly the spot we want to live in. However, what would happen if we formed relationships with people here? Those might be friendships as well as romantic relationships. Would we be more inclined to stay if we connected strongly with people here? That hasn’t happened so far and it can take a long time, but I do hope we form strong relationships here.
I have another friend who likes to travel and he has lovers in different places. There are many di1fferent types of polyamory such as ‘solopoly’ and I gave him the title of ‘travelpoly.’ Many of us have a strong urge to explore the world, especially being the open minded poly people we are. On the other hand, if we want to form multiple romantic relationships, it would do us well to settle down every once in a while, though not in the traditional sense of course. Ben and I were talking the other night about what we want our future lives to look like. We both want to live in a place where we can be part of the community; we may want to do something like grow fruits and vegetables. It can be very difficult to do both of those things in an urban area. In some cities, you can grow your own food, depending on how much space you have. However, the city is almost always an anonymous place where you can get lost in the crowds. In that regard, it’s easier to be polyamorous and it’s easier to find likeminded people in the city because there is more of a selection. In certain countries, which are mainly in the West, being polyamorous is becoming more and more acceptable. Here in Asia, meeting such people is quite difficult. Given all these things, where can we find a community? You can also create your own community with all of the partners, friends, and family you have, but first you need to meet them. Living situations can be tailored to meet the needs of different groups of people. However, could this type of community exist anywhere in the world? Polyamorous people are still in the minority in every country. Our practices may not be acceptable to those living around us, but we don’t want to live in isolation. All of these issues are worth considering.
On a personal note, travelling has been a very important part of my life. When I was a teenager, I wanted to live in Europe. I’ve been very fortunate to live in England, Japan, and briefly in Germany. As a Master’s student, I studied the German anti-nuclear movement and specifically, why people protest. I got to travel around Germany in 2011 and interview Greenpeace volunteers. That was 1 year before I became poly. While in Germany, I got the chance to go to a conference in Istanbul and I met someone who was in an open relationship; I developed feelings for him. Thus, if I had never travelled, I wouldn’t have had the exposure to different relationship arrangements. I feel like travelling is a way to pay homage to the life I have now. I also find that staying in one place makes me feel stagnant; I always have the urge to explore. On the other hand, I still want to find community.
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