Visiting Communities with Anthony ‘Campo’ Campbell
Inside Community Podcast — Ep. 013
Listen to ideas on how to best engage with communities you would like to visit, so you and your host get the most benefit from your time together.
Campo, Katie and their three daughters (4, 6 and 8) have spent time travelling the world to learn from intentional communities. They’re on a mission to share their compelling story, and untold stories of community building and living, with the world.
In this episode
- Why they are sharing their story – 11 minutes
- Creating routine for the kids – 16 minutes
- How to approach communities with clear intentions, for regenerative visits – 20 minutes
- ‘There is no perfect community’ – 28 minutes
- ‘Community – it’s not for everyone (but it is for a vast majority)’ – 37 minutes
- Changing the embedded cultural programming of castle building – 46 minutes
- Community is a place of motivation and action – 1 hour
- Breaking bread together and celebrating life – 1 hour 8 minutes
About Communing with the Campbells
Communing With the Campbells is the project documentary filmmaker Campo and his family are sharing with the world through TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. They showcase their global communities tour and aim to bring a new spin to how the world sees the movement.
Ways to support
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- Podcast platforms: Subscribe, rate and review on your favorite podcast platform, and share with your friends and folks you know who are curious about living Inside Community.
- Donate: consider donating. Your financial support of Inside Community helps us to continue to create meaningful and exciting content.
Thanks from Rebecca, your podcast host
Rebecca Mesritz 0:03
Hello inside community podcast listeners, you know, we are getting close to the end of the first season of this podcast. And if you’ve been listening along to the season, and have been thinking, you know, I really want to go online and donate and help support the show. Now is the time. As we wrap up the season and are thinking ahead to what the future might look like, your support of the show will be exactly what we need to keep this thing going. So if you’ve enjoyed the content if you’ve enjoyed the interviews if you’ve learned something from each and every episode, or even just half the episodes, I hope you’ll consider visiting icy.org/podcast and making a donation. Thank you so much for your generosity, it not only warms my heart, but makes it possible for us to keep going.
Hello, and welcome back to the inside community podcast. I’m your host, Rebecca Mesritz. If you’ve been listening offseason and have your curiosity piqued about visiting communities, you might be wondering what the best way to go about that would be whether you are looking to actually join a community or just want to see how other communities are doing it. Visiting is one of the best ways to ascertain what will be best for you your goals, your lifestyle and your family as you continue on your community journey. You may have seen today’s guest on their YouTube and Tiktok channels. Anthony Campo Campbell, his wife Kate, and their three adorable daughters are communing with the Campbell’s, and they have been traveling all over the world, visiting communities and learning more about this way of life, and really trying to bring a new spin to the way that the world sees community. Campo has learned a lot in his journey about how to visit communities. And he’s here today to share some of his insights from his experience. Campo actually came to visit us here in Oregon. And so we got to do this interview in person, which was super fun. But it might sound a little bit different from my normal interviews. So I hope that you enjoy it. And I hope you enjoy our back and forth style. Well, this is the first time doing something like this. I have today combo Campbell, from communing with the Campbells, and we’re gonna have a little in person interview a little in person chat. He and his beautiful family have been touring the United States, they’ve been down to Costa Rica, and they basically have a global community tour that he’s going to tell you a little bit more about here in just a second. But while we’re here, and we wanted to do an interview and share with you a little bit about what it’s like to go and visit communities as someone that’s interested in starting or building or joining a community and how to be prepared for something like that. So combo, thank you so much for joining me today.
Thanks. It’s so exciting to be here and to be on the inside community podcast, which I think is absolutely outstanding. So well done on everything that you’ve achieved. So far. It’s been a real, it’s been a real resource for us, actually, as we’re starting our community journey. So thank you.
Rebecca Mesritz 3:25
My pleasure. i It makes me I feel like I get so much when people say that. So thank you for saying that because it’s an honor to be able to do that. So can you just tell us a little bit about what it is that you’re doing? What your vision is?
Well, we left the UK back in early October 2021 And we are traveling around the world visiting different intentional communities, eco villages, cohousing projects all around the world. I’m a filmmaker. And the idea is to tell what I think is a great untold story around community. You know, I think that mainstream society still thinks about community as this outdated hippie model, you know that the stuff that we generally see about community tends to be sensational stories about the Mormon community or some kind of crazy cult somewhere in the world. But actually lifting the lid on intentional community, which is very grown up eminently sensible. well thought through that story. I don’t think it’s really been told. And I’ve been thinking about intentional community for 10 plus years, and got caught up in This thing called life that buffeted me along the route of setting up my own business and, and doing all the things that we all do, right, you know, looking after your family, creating a community of sorts within the town that we’re from, which is Henley on Thames back in the UK, which is a beautiful quintessentially English town. But I got to this stage where I would be walking down the high street. And you know, walking past the houses that identikit houses with all the lawn mowers out the back garden and two, sometimes three cars parked out the front with my recyclable bag, which I take to the supermarket and think that I’m doing my bit for planet Earth, which I think we’ve been in mainstream society, I think we’ve all been duped into thinking that that’s, that’s enough, right? That’s what we need to be doing. But deep in our hearts, we know that that’s not true. And so I and Katie felt compelled in many ways to take on this journey take on this mission to investigate intentional living for ourselves. But whilst we’re investigating it for ourselves, kind of sharing that story with the world because I think it’s a story that needs to be shared. Yeah.
Rebecca Mesritz 6:34
So you’re traveling around, you’re in an RV, you’ve got your wife and your three gorgeous daughters. So they’re three, seven, and no, sorry,
the four, six and eight tours, six
Rebecca Mesritz 6:48
and eight. Okay, so you got three little very precocious, adorable, highly energized girls. How are you doing?
Well, look, I mean, it there are challenges. There’s no doubt about that. But my word What an adventure. I mean, it is just incredible. So we’re kind of combining our community research with some bucket list stuff, right? You know, we’ve, we’ve just been to Yosemite National Park, you know, we, we had a break on Mammoth Mountain. You know, the girls went to school in this incredible school in Costa Rica for a couple of months, when we were staying in that ecovia They are seeing things and having their eyes opened to nature and the world and community in such a visceral way, you know, you can touch it, you can feel it, and we are watching our girls flourish and thrive in front of our eyes. And, as parents, there’s something very special about spending this time with them. You know, I think that as parents, we, we tend to, you know, send our kids off to school and the little, little tap, off you go, have a good day, come back. Whereas we’re spending this year, which is such an amazing, really formative time in their lives, you know, that the ages they are, and just watching them, grow with us alongside them. And I’m also a big believer in that phrase, it takes a village to raise a child and watching our girls be influenced by all the people that we’re meeting, a lot of whom are wise, and see things from a completely different perspective, to the perspective that we perhaps see things. And that’s such an amazing thing to have our kids exposed to. So, you know, I’m just saying all the good stuff, there are challenges of, you know, living out of an RV at the minute, but you know, at the same time, you know, they’re broken up by these amazing experiences that we’re having in community. And here with you as a really good example. Right? You know, we’ve rocked up here not really knowing what to expect. And there’s a little cabin that you’ve very kindly given us for a couple of days. The kids are up homeschooling right now with Katie in the cabin. I mean, wow. Yeah. Fantastic.
Rebecca Mesritz 9:34
And how are they? How are the girls? You know, what are their perceptions of these different communities? I mean, do they seem you know, obviously, your younger years are a little younger, but did they seem enthusiastic or excited about how communities are or do they seem kind of like as a little weird?
No, I mean, what’s been really interesting is They, it just looks and feels so natural to them. Right. So, like, they’re now used to the idea of community. And they’re excited about the next one that we’re gonna go in and see and like, what happens like, Katie and I were really worried about this kind of transient life that we were throwing them into, right. Because sometimes you’re only in a community for a couple of days, and you meet people, you make a connection, then onto on to the next. But what’s good about having three girls that are quite close together is that they’re a tight little crew themselves. So they have always got each other. And then they go into another community, and they make buddies and, you know, I think we witnessed it yesterday, within five minutes of, you know, meeting your beautiful daughter in the, you know, is holding hands and, you know, two little souls walking, walking through this field together. And it’s just that that is just a beautiful thing. And, and kids may kids do that, then they they, they make friendships so fast, and it, it’ll feel so natural. So
Rebecca Mesritz 11:13
yeah, yeah. So so you’re, you’re capturing all of this. Obviously, for people that follow you on Tiktok. And Instagram, you know, you’ve got you put out a lot of videos sort of sharing what you’re doing with the world. I have so many questions about this. I guess the first one is, you know, like, kind of why? Yeah, first of all, like, Why, yeah, why?
Well, I’m an oversharer. Definitely. So I’m one of those people that likes to share. And I like to share human stories. And there’s nothing more kind of, I suppose bonding than for parents definitely then sharing your experience of raising kids. And so you know, a lot of our material is about that. But now in this bigger context, in how we can raise kids in community. And whether, you know, the question that we are asking is, is there a better way? Right? Which has been a real challenging question for us. Because on the surface of it, if you looked at our lives, anyone that knew us back in, back in Henley, we’re like, I got this this family that they’re doing okay. Yeah, you know, like, lovely house business going, okay. We’re just on track, right? Like, we’re doing everything you’re meant to do on the track. But, you know, I’ve said it before, I’ve, I felt very compelled to do this, because I think that there is a better way. And I think that we have to, we have to take mainstream society, at least into a zone where they’re thinking about this stuff more. And at the minute, for whatever reason, I don’t think that those stories are there. I don’t think the examples are there enough yet, for people within mainstream society to genuinely get on board with this and take action. And I suppose our mission is about trying to change that.
Rebecca Mesritz 13:42
Yeah, I want to, I want to go down a little bit different in the line. But I just before we get there. I want to ask, you know, just about that, the how this is happening. And I imagine that there are people who might listen or see this, who might also say, Oh, I’m gonna get in a van, and I’m gonna go and travel and see a bunch of places. And I guess, yeah, there’s so many pieces of the hell but in terms of doing it with a family and doing it with three, three young kids, how do you preserve that? You know, what do you do to preserve that sense of, of home, really, inside of this kind of transient reality that you just described?
Good question. I mean, I think that one of the things that I’ve always believed in is that your home is where your heart is. Right? And it’s something that we talk to the girls about quite a lot, is that the thing that you really need as each other, you know, and at the moment, our home is our van. Right? And you know what, we’re so happy in our, in our van exploring the world, and the world is our home, as well. And so that’s not too say that we won’t, at some point need roots that are deeper than right now. But we just recognize that we’re on this, this journey. And we talk to the girls a lot about where that journey is going to take us in terms of creating community and the excitement of that. I mean, I love talking to the girls about what they want to see within their community, like, how do they want the community to function? Right, because we spend a lot of time talking to adults about that. Right. But I think listening to the next generation about that is really interesting. And, you know, if and when we create our own intentional living community, I want their input into that course. And so, my God, I’m not sure whether I answered the question that the original question.
Rebecca Mesritz 15:52
Yeah, I mean, just, I guess what I’m thinking when I’m seeing is a possibility for a family traveling is that, you know, you have days when one of the members of the family just isn’t up for it, you know, just doesn’t want to do it isn’t into it, and feels this kind of unrouted reality, especially on on kids who tend to thrive on rhythm and things like that, you know, I guess that’s kind of what I’m really more speaking to is how do you is there? Do you have practices or ways that you kind of anchor that allow people to have their off days? Or have that sense of rhythm? Yeah, preserve? preserve them a bit?
Yeah. Well, look, there is definitely Katie’s a teacher, teacher, a secondary school teacher, so high school in the US. But she does have that foundational sort of knowledge of teaching. So we’ve got to kind of, we try and create some type of routine for the kids, even though that routine is, you know, it’s not every day, because one day you might be traveling all day. But normally, when we’re in community, we will try to have as they’re doing right now, some homeschool time, right? Where it’s kind of just, it’s maybe writing simple things like writing a diary about what’s happened two days before we try to do homeschool in the in, in the way of thinking about what we’ve seen and and what we’ve touched and felt and experienced, and then going a little bit deeper into that area. That’s not to say that there isn’t a bit of Madison literature as well. But yeah, so that’s, that’s the kind of routine that maybe gives us some level of anchor. But that said, sometimes you just don’t have that routine. And sometimes everyone does feel a little bit like, Ah, what’s happening next. But I think one of the things that Katie and I have discovered is that, I mean, sometimes we don’t know where we’re going to be in two days time, right. And I think that if you had said that, you’re going to feel okay, about that, at the beginning of our adventure would have been like, No, we won’t feel we won’t feel okay with that. Like, we’ll be like, totally discombobulated by that. But actually, we’re learning that. As long as you’ve got good intent, and you roughly know what’s, what’s next, things will fall into place. And when you meet good people, good people help you to get the next bits of the jigsaw into place, as well. So it’s not all about you don’t have to do everything yourself, right. I mean, it’s probably something that we’ve learned just from community, right, is that they lean on people, like, let people help. You know, I think we come particularly in the UK, we come from this culture, where it’s kind of like, Don’t let anyone help you. Right? You gotta you gotta work all this out yourself. But it’s not that’s, that’s not the reality. You don’t have to do that. Like when someone offers help, like, be thankful. Appreciate it, and take it and run with it and see where it takes you. Right. And that’s definitely something that we’ve learned as we’ve, as we’ve gone on, don’t don’t take that health for granted. Make sure that you’re thankful for it, but let it happen. Yeah.
Rebecca Mesritz 19:42
So as you are going about this journey, I mean, I imagine that for anyone listening, wanting to a similar journey, they’ll have their own criteria by which they determine what kind of communities and where they want to go and when. But what are some things that you’ve learned about how to approach communities that you’re interested in visiting and and how to be successful in that visit?
Yes. That’s a great question. So I think that one of the things that we are absolutely Adam adamant about is that when we go to a community, we want to go to a community, and we want to leave that community, in good spirit, and maybe even in a better place for having had us there. And I think that’s really, really important, right, you don’t want to go to a community and just take take take, you want to try and give something back in some way, shape, or form. Now that might be in the shape of something practical, like, you know, putting on a potluck, rather than relying on a community doing a potluck, like, No, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do that for the community, it might be leaving that community with a digital asset of a film of some description that they would never have had the opportunity to do if if we weren’t there. And it may even just be that through conversation, you feel like you are leaving some of the things that you’ve learned over the time away with that community that they can take on in some way, shape, or form to make community improvements, because, well, actually, there’s a community down the road from you that does this. And this is really interesting for X, Y, and Zed reason, and they may not have kind of thought about that or open their eyes to it. So that’s the first thing about visiting communities trying to leave something that is positive that that makes them feel good about having had you there. Right. And then I think the
Rebecca Mesritz 21:55
same guys are also pretty your self contained, which is also I’ll say, from, I mean, at least where we’re at, in our inception of community here, you know, knowing that you don’t need anything is is kind of clutch. It really makes it a lot easier to say yes, because we didn’t have we happen to have a place, but we didn’t need to have a place. Yeah, you know, we don’t need to, like feed you or do anything. You’ve you’ve got all that.
Yeah, absolutely. And you know, the reason one of the reasons that we’ve we did this was because of the pandemic. But actually, regardless of the pandemic, I think it’s a great thing to be able to be completely self contained. And you can look after yourselves, because the imposition on on a community is that much less? Yeah. So yeah, that’s that’s a great point. I’m just trying to think about whether there are any other things in terms of showing up I think, making sure that you’re, what you want from the community is very transparent from the start, you know, so I’m a filmmaker, right. And a big part of this is about creating content that is going to help spread awareness of intentional community to a wider audience. And being super clear about your intent, and what you want to do, and why you want to do it is really important for a community to get on board. Because by the way, there are plenty of communities that really don’t want that, you know, they don’t want to be up there in lights. And you know, a surprising amount actually, like, you know, you know, a lot of intentional communities, not a lot, but there are intentional communities that are very insular, right? We’re just going to look after each other, we’re happy with the status quo. Leave us a no blame, we’re okay. And actually, even within communities that aren’t like that, you will still get certain people that do think that. So it’s about being really respectful of everyone’s position. Because, you know, throwing a camera in people’s faces that don’t want to be on camera is a disaster.
Rebecca Mesritz 24:17
Yeah. Nothing worse than trying to get footage of someone that’s uncomfortable. Like,
yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And of course, it for anyone that’s watching this, that’s that’s thinking about doing a journey similar to ours. You know, they may well not be a filmmaker. So actually, it becomes easier then perhaps, but understanding
Rebecca Mesritz 24:41
whether or not okay, I’m here because I’m I’m looking to join a community and you might be a community that I want to join, or I’m here because I want to learn more about community and I’d like to see how you guys do it. I think being clear about your timing, like how long you want to stay what your requests are I mean from we haven’t had a whole lot of outside visitors here, you’re actually the first outside visitors that we’ve had people that we didn’t know already. But at the Emerald village, we’ve been field requests all the time of people that wanted to come and see what was up, see what we were doing. And, yeah, people are busy. Everybody’s busy people have busy lives. So I think if you are interested in visiting a community, it’s important to know that, as combo is saying, like, maybe have something to offer offering to come to help for a work day or offering to put a few hours into washing dishes or something like that can really make it a lot easier for people to be a yes to having you come. Because otherwise, they’re like, I don’t have time. Like I got seeds to sell, or harvest or whatever the thing is, so yeah, 100%
Yeah, yeah, I think you’re entirely right there.
Rebecca Mesritz 25:55
Yeah. So, you know, it’s interesting, this idea about kind of what the mainstream culture thinks about community. And I think about this movie called wanderlust that came out a while ago is a comedy movie that takes happens to take place in an intentional community. And it is, it’s very, very far out hippie, the way that they are, you know, they don’t clap because it’s too violent. They like snap or something like that, because it’s too violent to clap. That kind of that kind of level. And I know at the Emerald village, we always used to joke that we were 50% Less hippy than people thought we
would be. Yeah. And I liked that phrase, by the way. Yeah, it’s
Rebecca Mesritz 26:42
good. Right. So I think that’s a nicknaming actually, so props to you, Nick, wherever you are. But, you know, I just think about a conversation we had before you came and and I don’t know, in my mind, community can be really, I mean, maybe it’s part of just how I am in the world, but like, community can be sexy and fun and an engaging, and it’s not just for people, although there are lots of people that don’t shave their underarms, you know what I mean? It’s not just for for people that you know, want to be in service to the earth and in the garden, it’s also like, there is a real need. And there’s a lot of people that really thrive, for example, in tech jobs, who come to community, and want community as a balance, for example, to their very kind of computer based professional life, but then they want to have the interpersonal connection and the earth connection and some of the other things that you get from community. So I say all that to kind of ask you, you know, in your storytelling, how do you how are you kind of portraying that? Are you finding ways to show that it’s not just because I feel like the the like people working together makes for really great footage, but some of the things that community also is like, administrative stuff on the computer doesn’t really make for good film. You know, so I wonder how are you capturing some of these other sides of community that maybe are not what people normally think of when they think of community?
Yeah. So the most important thing, I think, around film and telling the story is authenticity. Right? We’ve got to tell this story, authentically. And what’s been really lovely for me and talking to people is that people are very honest about community, right? Like, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns, we know that the thing that I’m really clear about is that there is no utopia, right? Like community does not solve all your problems. There is no perfect community, right? Because we’re human beings, and we are imperfect. So you have to recognize that from from the start. And so when we’re portraying it on camera, I think it’s very important to be balanced about that. Right, like, people see through, you know, like, Oh, look at this kind of incredible biosphere with permaculture and, you know, like the sunlight that yeah, we can get those shots. But it needs to be balanced with the reality of, you know, conflict resolution, and all the hard work that you have to do to create a successful community. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Right. Ultimately, with the documentary that we’re going to put together. We want to put together a real realistic story that represents what living in intentional community is. I think it will be very positive about intentional community because that That’s the way that I feel about it. Right? I happen to feel that this is the way forward for a big percentage of us. And I want to open up that, that possibility that avenue to mainstream audience. I suppose something else connected to this, but for me is that and I think this is upon all intentional communities to potentially think about is that I come from a marketing and ad world, right? Like I made ads for beauty brands, right selling lipstick, and God knows what right. So I kind of understand a little bit about how you sell how you package something up to entice an audience into going to buy that or, or finding out more about it. That is not something in my experience, so far that intentional community is very good at or interested in or has done, right. If you trawl intentional community websites, it’s, it’s pretty depressing, right? Like, there’s, there’s no kind of what you talked about, like, happiness glamour, like it’s like, it’s, it’s very much rooted in this kind of, like, outdated sort of phenomenon that that’s sort of linked to the hippie movement. Right. Whereas actually, like, we’ve gone a long way from that. Yeah. Right. And, and I think we, we have to, and I’m talking about we as if I’m part of intentional community, which we’re not yet but we as people were putting it out, we as people are putting it out, right, we we have to do a better job of showing made mainstream audiences that this is viable, right, that this is not just viable, more than viable. This is cool. This is something to be desired, right? Like, we got to be super ambitious about this stuff, right? We can’t kind of be oh, well, you know, there’s some good things about it. It’s not threat, you know, the thing that everyone says all the time, it’s not for everyone. I know, it’s not for everyone, but it’s for a lot of people. It’s a lot of people. Yeah, it’s for a lot of people, and it’s for a lot of people that don’t realize that it is for them, right.
Rebecca Mesritz 32:32
As I was getting ready to do this episode, I thought I’d go back and look at some of the back issues of communities magazine, and see what kind of articles they had written in the past about visiting communities. I found an old article from the spring of 2004, written by Julie Pennington, called visiting communities, tips for guests and hosts. Now, obviously, kambos experience is as a guest, but if you are a member of a community and you are interested in hosting visitors, I thought she had a pretty good tip in her article that maybe you could integrate into your visitor program. She recommends drafting a general letter about what folks can expect as a visitor to your community. And then also including a photocopy or reference to an article, like her article about how to visit communities and just send that on to the visitors ahead of time. I just think this is great because it really helps prepare people who might be coming to stay with you as to how your community operates, who they can be in contact with to answer questions about different topics. And it’s just gonna help them feel a little more prepared as they come and basically stay with a group of strangers. Communities magazine is full of great tips like this, and you can get a digital subscription that will give you access to their entire back catalogue. For more information, you can visit Gen hyphen us.net/communities.
As I mentioned earlier, we are about to wrap up this first season. And if you have not had a chance yet to check out the show sponsor the foundation for intentional community, I hope you’ll pop on over to ic.org. They are always offering new classes, free workshops, tons of amazing resources. They have an incredible forum for people to talk and share about their community journey. And it’s really just a wonderful place to get connected to the movement. They have an online communities locator that can help you find and start visiting local communities in your own neck of the woods. And I still have a coupon code available for their bookstore. So you can click the link in the show notes and do a little shopping over there. Maybe you’d like to pick up a copy of their communities directory, which in addition to having hundreds of communities listed details about their size and availability for visits. It also has their contact info and charts and maps and informative articles. It’s pretty great. You can check out The Foundation for intentional community firstname.lastname@example.org. I like that I like this idea of, you know, maybe saying that last, it’s not for everyone. Because I think that part of me that realizes that thinks that it’s not for everyone is, and I’ll just, I’m just going to name this, maybe it’s even my own judgment around it. But I know people who have said, it’s not for me, and that part that I think people really struggle with. And the part that I see people struggle with is, there’s something about the leaning in. And this this assumption, which is sometimes correct, that there’s not a place to hide, or that you won’t be able to, like, kind of, I’ve got my stuff in my process. And I don’t want anyone to know, like, I want to just come over here and beat release, like, I don’t want to have to always share. And you don’t always have to share in community. But the simple fact of the matter is, you know, everybody, it’s like, we think that we’re going through the world, and no one can tell what’s going on with us. We think that we’re such good actors, that people can’t tell about our childhood trauma, or the fact that we weren’t hugged enough or like any of those things. And it’s blaringly obvious to everyone, except for you, that it’s glaringly obvious to everyone. And so, I think there’s a lot of people who are really married to the idea of being able to hide, hide that, and community is a place that you don’t get to do that as much. At some point, you are going to be building intimate relationships with people, and they’re going to love you so much, despite the fact that you weren’t hugged enough that they are going to talk to you about it. And you might have to look at it and work on it. And I think that, for me is the main place when I say it’s not for everyone that I think there are people who I think a lot of people are quite terrified of having to take a look at the fact that they they didn’t get what they needed as a child, or they were abused at this one point, or there was some other trauma or there was some other just like inner like, just way that they are, that doesn’t work for people. And that they might have to unpack that. And I don’t know, I think that that that’s the piece that I wonder about in this portrayal of community. And from the marketing standpoint of like, community like isn’t a great and everybody you know, it’s like you want to put that out to entice people. But at the same time, that’s why talking about the beautiful and messy realities of living in community because there is a messy reality of it too. And either you’re that person that thinks Wow, the messy reality that kind of makes me want to lean in, or you’re not, and you want to stay in your single family home and, you know, watch Desperate Housewives and be like, Man, those girls have some problems.
But you know, I think the extension of it, though there is that I think that you can have that within a community, right? If you want to, like a lot of the communities we’ve been to there’s there’s incredible autonomy for behaving in the way that you you kind of want, right, but being able to access this incredible support network that’s there on your doorstep. And just going back to that original thing that by the way, everyone within intentional community says it’s not for everyone. It’s not for everyone. But I would always say I think it’s for a vast majority of people. Right. And I think that’s it. That’s a that’s a real different way of talking about it. Right. Like, like, I think a lot of people think it’s not for them, because they don’t understand it. Because the storytelling and the examples, and it’s it’s not there. Right? The you are at the forefront of trying to spread this story to a bigger audience. Right. And I am as well, but honestly, I feel like we’re kind of about the only people doing it in a minute. Right? Like, it’s not. It’s not a big movement yet in terms of getting mainstream culture to think about shifting. And by the way, I think we have to shift that’s the that’s the thing that I’ve always felt compelled about, right, is that we have to shift behavior. And what’s so encouraging about the pandemic, is that we have seen that humans can shift behavior very, very fast and effectively, right. So we just have to be able to get At these messages, this sense of urgency, this sense of, look, this is better for you better for the planet, at least take a look at it a proper look at it. But if the resources aren’t there, for people to be able to take a look, right, it’s difficult are we going to transition enough people quick enough to have real impact. And I want to have impact, right? Like, that’s ultimately what I want to do with this journey with this mission is I want there to be impact, I want people to sit up and do what I’m, we are doing and go, I think we’ve got to change. And this looks like it could be a good way to change for ourselves and for the planet. And I think if we get more people on board with that, we’ll be in a better place.
Rebecca Mesritz 41:02
Yeah, reminds me of some of these conversations that I’ve been a part of online, around a movement called Game B, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this yet. But the game B movement basically postulates that the current paradigm that we’re living in is game A, this is sort of the default world. But this default world and its systems based on I mean, colonialism, and capitalism and, and oppression and slavery, and all of the things is not sustainable, environmentally, socially, economically, and otherwise. And that really what needs to happen is a full culture shift. And that’s gonna happen whether we want it to or not, actually, because the environment can actually sustain us in this current iteration of how humanity is acting. And so game B is this is this sort of new reality that we have the option of potentially informing and beginning to create, and similar to what I was saying before, we might not actually be able to even create it, cuz we’re still operating in game a, like, we’re still on this old platform, thinking, but that game B will be this evolution of that and part of game B is is more village style, living in economies and all the things that sort of go with that, and it’s very sort of based on bio region, each one will be a little bit different, and that they can share information. And there’s a whole, there’s a whole online movement that really talks a lot about this. But what I what I see is sort of a parallel and there is this Yeah, just deep reckoning that, you know, maybe it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for everyone that’s going to survive. Yeah. Like, if you if you want your progeny to continue to play on this planet, in a body, you’re gonna have to get on board in one way or another. And, and there’s going to, there’s going to be something whether it’s, you know, economic disease, environmental, some, you know, we got a little taste of it with COVID, it was kind of a very light tastes for, for a lot of people not to diminish those that, that suffered greatly during that. But in terms of our whole culture, shifting, like, kind of a little bit, but but you can easily see how fragile this house of cards is. And yeah, I mean, I appreciate what you’re saying about. Yeah, maybe it’s for a lot more people than than we give credit for. And so I like to think that I’ll carry that into the the future way I talk about this, because I think you’re right, I think it is an imperative. It’s not as optional, as I think folks might think it is.
Yeah. Yeah. I think you’re right. And I just think that you don’t want to be aggressive about it. But I think we we should, and we can be more front foot about it. You know, we can be more front foot about why, by the way, this is something I really struggle with. Right? I do really struggle with the narrative and how firm you are in getting the view across that this is a better way, right? Because for us, Katie and I who have come from this this beautiful community in in Henley to be saying to people, guys, we’ve got this got this little bit wrong. Right. It’s it’s a tough thing to hear. Right? And I’m super aware of that. Right? Because there is, I think, this quite natural human instinct to look at someone that’s saying that and go Why are they? Why are they saying that? Like, what what’s what? What’s their angle? Right? The fact is, is that there is no angle for me right? We we’ve, we’re putting all our own money into this, we’re doing this ourselves, right? Where there’s no sponsor, there’s no like Kellogg’s behind this telling us what to say. We where we’re doing this
Rebecca Mesritz 45:23
Kellogg’s, if you would like to sponsor Campbell’s maybe maybe like more organic brand.
Yeah, we’ll go with some type of. But I suppose the point is, is that there is no angle. But it’s quite a tough thing, therefore, for people to accept, or even listen to someone saying, Guys, I think we’ve got, we’ve got this wrong, particularly, by the way, if you’re quite successful, right, you’ve built your castle, which is kind of what we’re saying. And what many people within this movement is saying is like, that definition of success has to change, right? The idea that success is building a castle and having gates and how many cars you’ve got parked in your driveway. Like that definition of success, we all know, has to change. But if it’s going to change, we’ve got to have examples and stories that people can grab ahold of. And go, Ah, okay, well, if I’m not going to do that, I’m going to do that. And at the moment, the problem we have, is it, it’s not really there. It’s certainly not easy to access for people, right? So if you’re a super successful individual on on a path to making your millions and building your house, like, at what point do you get attacked with this story, that there is a better way, and this way is viable. And there’s an option. It’s difficult, certainly in the UK at the minute to access that, right. And the challenge, I think, for all of us in this movement in this in this in this brave new world, is getting to the position where those people recognize and feel that they should be doing something different to building that castle with all the resources that it takes. And the cars and the lawn mowers and doing something different. I
Rebecca Mesritz 47:29
mean, I think you’re the perfect person to talk about that, quite frankly, because, you know, it’s trying to remember this exact phrase, but my friend said at once a long time ago, a long, long time ago, something to the effect of I think we would have been in middle school actually, or high school, something to the effect of you have to you have to play the game in order to beat the game. And I think it’s, you know, for someone who’s coming at the world and the structure from, I mean, this really comes back to class and privilege. And I mean, all of these other things that we sort of talked about earlier. You know, when you’re at the bottom, and you’re saying, hey, this system doesn’t seem like it’s really working. It’s, it’s kind of hard for anyone to hear you, like you’re at the bottom, when you have have made it up to the top and your are have leveraged your, you know, your education and all of the all of the things that you’ve gotten to enjoy in your life. And then you can still say, actually, I’m here, guys, I have made it by all accounts. And I’m telling you, it is not it. Like it is not it. And I think that’s part of what we’re starting to see what’s give me hope gives me hope in the greater cultures, we’re starting to see people say, hey, this system of you know, all these tax cuts for the rich, like this actually isn’t working, this isn’t going to sustain us long term, you know, or whatever the thing is, and to be able to say, I mean, on so many levels, that’s really what I think culture shift is going to take is people saying, I’m actually willing to give up all of the things that we thought were valuable, because the only reason we thought those things were valuable, is because some marketing guy told us they were valuable. Some ad agency somewhere said if I had this, I would be happy. And now I’ve built this cookie cutter life. And I’m still not happy and I don’t understand why.
Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the other things that I’m toying with which is linked to what you’ve just said there is is how we approach this in terms of shifting mainstream culture. So one of the one of the big things that we’ve experienced and by the way, this isn’t to say that this is bad, right, because I think this is natural and good. But when we talk about CO Housing and those types of ideas. Often it’s about creating an affordable way for people to live. And their time is, you know, more effectively used because the shared resources, meaning they don’t have to work so hard, etc, etc. We all know about that. And it’s and it’s great and it’s admirable and it works. We’ve seen it, we’ve we’ve taught it. But I’m quite interested in what happens when we take the top down approach, right? What happens when we get super ambitious about an intentional community? And the only people that I’m gonna recruit, and this is all like, this is just spitballing. The only people we’re going to recruit for our intentional community are multimillionaires, they’ve got it. They’ve made it. But what he’s gonna do said that
Rebecca Mesritz 50:50
not me it’s controversial. It’s pretty controversial already.
Already. But what if we did that? Right? And we said, okay, so you’re a multimillionaire, you’ve got you’ve, you’ve got it all. Get rid of it. Okay, pool your resources into this, okay? Because, honestly, I think you’ve got a pretty amazing thing here, like that pool is really nice. And the pillars on your rear, it’s really nice, but you’re missing this bit, which is all the community to suddenly for argument’s sake, you’ve got a few multimillionaires that are pooling resources to create something that, you know, that’s the big challenge, right around intentional communities? How do you find the money? Like, you know, we’ve seen it or we’ve but definitely want to, but the money is there. The the reason, I think the top down approach is interesting, is because when you see examples, when other rich people see the examples of so and so having given up that and done this, and then hang on a minute, they’re happier, they’re creating more value for other people. Because what if it’s not just the rich people are doing but there’s some kind of social responsibility that allows for some affordable housing within the community that you’re creating, as well thought through, right? Okay, you’re initially you’re attracting those mega wealthy people to get this thing rocking and rolling. But there is a social responsibility as well. Like I coined the phrase champagne socialism, right? So you’re, you’re kind of you’ve got this kind of those socialist kind of ideals and values at the heart, but you will recognize that we like the good things in life as well. And therefore your, your swimming pool, your shared spaces are extraordinary, which we’ve tasted a little bit in Costa Rica, right. The Costa Rican mug model, let ecovia I mean, it was like five star Country Club stuff. Okay. Now, there was some challenges, from my perspective, in terms of when you dug deeper as to how that stuff was maintained? Because they were using it was kind of the expert model, right? You’re using
Rebecca Mesritz 53:10
the Tico? were cheap labor.
Correct? Yeah, to do this, right. Does it have to be like that? I’m not sure it does. Right. You just have to, perhaps shift the shift the game a little bit, right. Like,
Rebecca Mesritz 53:23
I mean, I think as long as I like this suggestion that I like aspects of this suggestion. And I think what’s important is that you’re the structure, whatever it is, doesn’t value the voice of the people that are coming with the money more than it values, the voice of the people that are coming with the heart and the labor and the energy 100%. And that’s the main thing that that I would just interject. And this is because any system that is built on slavery, and you know, you can say it’s not slavery, we paid those people honest day’s wage based on their economy. Like you can say, it’s not slavery, but let’s be honest, like somebody’s being subjugated here, somebody’s not getting the fair shake, somebody doesn’t have the same access to the pool. Somebody doesn’t have the same access to the to the club. And I think that is that’s a big piece of what needs to happen in terms of the culture shift is recognizing that. You know, I love multimillionaires. I love hanging out with multimillionaires. It’s great. Yeah, it’s nice to be around those things. But what’s important is to recognize that part of the reason most people who are multimillionaires are multimillionaires, is those dollars are based on a system that allow them access to things that other people based on their skin color, their geographic location, their whatever their sexual orientation, have not had access to. And so the system as it’s been said, up so far is is the deck has been stacked. And so I think in order for this movement to move forward in a good way, there has to be a very conscious effort on the part of the haves who are coming with the money, God bless them, we need them. But they have to also recognize that that money that they have that privilege that they have, it wasn’t all earned. It wasn’t all like their blood, sweat and tears, even just the idea of investing and like your investments paid off, like, yeah, you took some risk. And also like just to be the ability to be able to do that was based on something, you know. So I would love I mean, I like this top down approach. And I also just want to interject sort of the, the bottom up as well, like the two that you have to, and it can’t be a charity, it can’t be like, oh, yeah, we built this lovely country club. And we have a few low income houses over here for our impoverished neighbors. And we let them come to the meetings, and sometimes they get to vote on whether or not we it’s like fuck you. Like no, that is not the system. That is not the intentional system. This has got to be based on a shared collaborative culture.
Absolutely. That yeah, no, I hear that totally. And it
Rebecca Mesritz 56:17
can still be pretty unsexy. And there can be nice amenities and all of that. Yeah, no, yeah, absolutely.
I suppose that. Yeah, one of the things about this journey that we’re on, is that we just get to think about this, and interrogate it day after day, for basically the whole year. And it’s amazing to be able to do that. And to be able to sometimes just throw some stuff out there, that is a bit of a curveball, you know, like, like your reaction there was like, What are you talking about? Man, this is, this is crazy talk, right? But sometimes it takes a little bit of crazy to get to, you know, something in the end, that is that is better, right? That is different. That is something that, you know, because we do we have to get high net worth individuals on board with that we have to, like it can’t, it can’t just be the bottom up, like we do need a little trickle from from above as well. Because that’s how we’re going to bring the whole society together. Because if we end up if we end up with like, this two tier system, whereby I will if you, if if you haven’t got any money, or you’ve been you know, you need support, because you’ve been abused as a kid, that’s when you go into community, right? Like, I’m a little bit against that. Because for me, like, I’ve had the most fabulous childhood. I want it. I want community, right? So you don’t have to be in this position where you where you need to bid not, I mean, I think everyone needs to be healed to an extent. But we need super together functioning individuals, many of whom have been successful, to get on board with this. Right? Because the sooner we get those people on board, the sooner actually, there’s a level of ambition and look at him. And her. They they’ve done look at that family. They’ve done it they’re doing it
Rebecca Mesritz 58:32
what you were saying kind of reminded me of some something that Dinah leave Christian has said in her in her courses and in the way that she teaches about community, which is, if you have not dived into her work at all, I highly highly recommended. Yeah, she’s got she’s got up, she’s got classes that you can take and the book creating life together is really, it’s really excellent. So for everyone, that and I’ve interviewed her on the show, and she’s great. So that being said, one of the things that she talks about is really, that people have this idea about community and they’re like, that’s not community communities more like this, and like everybody should be solving my like, personal problems are like, you know, people come to community who are broken and, and desiring to be fixed a lot of times, and she’s like, No, just no, there’s no room for you here. And other people have said this to I think in my conversation with with Lee Warren, she also said the same thing. She’s like, the as I was saying earlier that the community is the baby and like, you’re either here to support and help the baby or there’s, we can’t carry you here. Like there’s only so much we can give. And I think you know how I viewed it is there’s a level of, you know, financial responsibility that, you know, might come with privilege or not, but there’s still like, you gotta be able to pay your rent. You know, what Diana leave Christian talks about is basically that there, that there’s not really a place for people who are, like broken, you know, the community is a place for people who are organized, who are active, who are motivated, who are doing things. And not that, as you said, like we’re all in need of some level of healing, we’re all in need of support in our lives, like our lives as humans is a healing journey. And not that if you have some kind of disability or trauma that you can also address that in community, but definitely don’t come to community to get your problems fixed. Like, that’s not that’s nobody’s got the time or the space or the bandwidth for that. So you know, I think that there, is there some misconception out there, like when I hear you talk about about, oh, yeah, like, if you don’t have money, you could come and do this thing, to like, save money somehow. And community is not a good, it’s not a good financial investment, at least in any models that I’ve seen, unless you were potentially building and growing a business there of some sort. But the community itself isn’t going to be a way to make money. And it might be a way to pull resources. But ultimately, yeah, that’s there’s like a branding issue, like a disconnect there. You know, I think, really, at the end of the day, you know, when you come to community, whether or not you have abundant resources, or maybe less resources, you have to have some kind of resource, maybe it’s not financial, it’s got to be skill, or maybe energy, or just the willingness to dig a ditch. Like, you have to come with something you can’t come so similar to how you were talking about how you visit the communities. You don’t want to come meetings to take something you want to come bringing your gifts, you’ve got
to show up ready to play? Definitely. I think the the thing that Katie and I say quite often about what we’re envisaging. And actually what I think I’d like to do is I would love to create a community of people that don’t realize they need community. Because I think that there are lots of people that are very together. Very, as we were talking about before, let’s let’s take the finance away, but just successful in in from the outside world looking at them. It it all seems that everything’s hunky dory, and, and going well, but actually, can you get even better? Right? I mean, that’s, that’s the thing that Katie and I talk about a lot like we had good. In fact, I’d say we had really good. We went really, really, really good. Right. And I think that finding those people that have that, you know, life is good at the minute, but we recognize that there are certain things that we can do even better. And in doing those things, even better is going to be better for the planet as well. And we feel a sense of responsibility to it. But that’s exciting. converting those people into community champions, I think is the next frontier a little bit. Because I think so far from what I’ve seen, those people aren’t in community yet.
Rebecca Mesritz 1:03:44
I mean, that’s how I came to Emerald village. That was definitely like, we were all we’re doing good. We could keep going on this path. But but we want what’s, what’s next, like, what’s more,
maybe that’s why we love the village so much,
Rebecca Mesritz 1:03:57
probably. And I think there’s something else too, which is that, you know, when I mean just to push into this idea of creating community, people that don’t think they need community, it’s like, you can create community. The feeling of interdependence, and the many benefits that you might get from community without owning land together without being on the same parcel together quite easily you can start doing I mean, I say this all the time. You know, start doing a potluck with your neighborhood, start doing a weekly or monthly potluck with your neighborhood, build a community garden and invite other people to come and plant garden beds in there. Start a kid Kid Care Program, where you take turns watching each other’s kids after school one day a week. You know, there’s so many things you can do to build interdependence that aren’t the intentional part of intentional community. They’re somewhat intentional They’re like kind of they’re a piece of it. But they’re not people don’t have to be fully bought in necessarily. And they can still have that feeling of conviviality and connection. What happens with intentional community very much, I mean, what I’m starting to understand is really around the governance, the collaborative culture, building, the shared responsibility, the economics of it, and how people are engaging on the economic front. Like, that’s, that is kind of where that next level of interdependence really like gets in and locks in it, like felt together. Because you can stop doing the coop, you can stop doing the car share, you can stop planting the garden at any point in time. But when you’re like actual decision making strategies, and your financial strategies start to become interdependent. There’s a, there’s an increased forced interconnection and, and that’s why it starts to push into people’s personal processes, is because now we’re talking about money. We’re not just talking about money, we’re talking about security. We’re talking about entitlement. We’re talking about safety, we’re talking about inheritance, we’re talking about my legacy for my children, there’s all these other things that are attached to the idea of money, that now gets that stirred up. And when people’s sense of security and that their control over their over things might might not be what they thought it was. Now that triggers the fear. Now that triggers the anger or the hesitation or the pulling back. And that’s when you start to have in my experience, the conflicts will start to to boil up because now you’ve got these little traumas, it’s like, yeah, I’m fine. Like, I had a great childhood, like, my life is great. I mean, I feel that way. For the most part. I had a great childhood, my parents were wonderful, they love me, you know? And still, like, oh, money, stuff, like, oh, oh, I’m feeling it, I’m starting to have feelings. And this person thinks differently, and what if we don’t get along? And you know, all of that stuff? So it’s just sort of throwing that in there, this sort of like weaving of what do we really mean when we say intentional living and intentional community, or building a community and who’s involved and how involved they need to be? Because you could have a lot of the accoutrement or, you know, the benefits without actually being like, an robot in together. Yeah.
And, you know, and that’s funny enough, you kind of described very much our lives as well, you know, we were those people that created, maybe not so much the potluck, per se, but there would be regular celebration dinners, right? Not, not celebration dinner, it’s just been it’s right, like, the dinner party scene was a thing. And it was kind of breaking out of that idea of like, you know, bow tie and black tie, it was just no come over for dinner, relax, too. So that was all going on. But what I love about intentional community, is creating the space for that, to be an everyday part of spontaneous life. Like, you bump into someone and it’s like, dinner tonight. And actually, there’s, you go further than that, don’t you that, you know, there is, you know, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, whatever it is, there is the ability to come and break bread together and celebrate life together in in in ways that we don’t design very well in mainstream society. Right. And, you know, I’m, I’m, you know, one of the visions that I have for my girls is that we have created such a magnificent celebratory space that I watched my children get married, within a place that we called home. And maybe that’s wishful thinking. But, you know, that is one of my ideas. And it’s an idea that’s come from watching very wealthy individuals be able to do that. Right. You know, I’ve grown up in this this very privileged culture where I’ve seen you know, the daughter get married in the back garden, around the swimming pool, and everyone looks at it. Wow, it’s incredible.
Rebecca Mesritz 1:09:36
I rent a place like this, but I don’t have to because I live here. Yeah, totally.
And that’s fine. But it’s all you know, there’s there’s a price to pay for. We all know the price to pay for creating that for yourself. But you can and you can do that together and watch other people within your community have kids that are going to get married. They’re, you know, God, I’m getting ahead
Rebecca Mesritz 1:10:05
of myself. You’re very romantic. I didn’t know this
this romantic Yeah, but you know that that is that’s, that’s, that’s a big thing for me like, life for me is about celebrations. Right, big celebrations. And and I just think we need to learn how to do that better, you know, and intentional community seems to do it better, more regularly, more spontaneously. And I think people need to know about, right, we need to shake people and wake them up. But luck. That’s what life’s all about. You know, come and do it. Let’s create something that allows us to do this better.
Rebecca Mesritz 1:10:58
I can’t think of a better person to put that message out to the world. Oh, yeah. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, you have such a natural enthusiasm. It comes through everything that you guys put out your years Raviv and, and your excitement for this way of being so I’m very grateful to you for your for your mission and your vision for sharing this to the world. And thank you so much for for talking with me about it all today. It’s been really juicy conversation. Getting in there. Thanks, Rebecca. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the inside community podcast. You can follow Anthony Campo Campbell and his lovely family on their communities journey on Tik Tok at communing underscore with underscore Campbell’s, and on YouTube at communing with the Campbells and of course, I will have links in the show notes. For more information about the show links to guests and sponsors, coupon codes. And of course, that also helpful donate button, please visit ic.org/podcast. reading and reviewing the show really does help us to reach a wider audience. And a big thank you to all those folks who have done that already. I also really appreciate those of you out there who are sharing this to your friends and other networks. It’s been really cool to hear from people that someone had shared an interview that I’ve done on a thread that has nothing to do with community but maybe something to do with conflict or real estate. I love that you guys are out there really engaging with this material and also engaging with my guests. You can engage with me on Instagram and Facebook at inside community podcast. Thanks again for tuning in. And I’ll see you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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About the Show
The Inside Community Podcast brings folks along for an inside look at all of the beautiful and messy realities of creating and sustaining a community. We provide useful and inspiring content to support people on their quest for resilience, sustainability, and connection.
Meet Your Host
Inside Community Podcast host Rebecca Mesritz is a community builder living in Williams, Oregon. In 2011, Rebecca co-founded the Emerald Village (EVO) in North County San Diego, California. During her ten years with EVO, she supported and led numerous programs and initiatives including implementation and training of the community in Sociocracy, establishment of the Animal Husbandry program, leadership of the Land Circle, hosting numerous internal and external community events, and participation in the Human Relations Circle which holds the relational, spiritual and emotional container for their work.
In June of 2021, with the blessing of EVO, Rebecca and 3 other co-founders relocated to begin a new, mission- driven community and learning center housed on 160 acres of forest and farmland. Rebecca is passionate about communal living and sees intentional community as a tool for both personal and cultural transformation. In addition to her work in this field, she also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University and creates functional, public, and interactive art in metal, wood, and pretty much any other material she can get her hands on. She is a mother, a wife, an educator, a nurturer of gardens, an epicurean lover of sustainable wholesome food, and a cultivator of compassion and beauty.
The Inside Community Podcast is sponsored by the Foundation for Intentional Community (FIC). Reach out if you are interested in sponsorship or advertisement opportunities on the podcast.