“It’s only by saying “No” that you can concentrate on the things that are important.” - Steve Jobs
It seems like a contradiction; we're committed to being inclusive but then we've made a statement on what we stand for. We are taught that inclusivity should equate to an open door, and the idea that “all are welcome”. But when it comes to building a community, years of learning have shown us that creating a safe space requires boundaries.
As a community of freedom-lovers, there are infinite possibilities and an infinite number of ways we can all build deep relationships with each other. Rather than trying to frame all of those things and losing the magic of serendipity, we decided to produce a list of the things we don’t tolerate or want in our community.
At first thought, it can feel a bit negative. We felt the same way as we were writing it. But the more we fleshed it out, the more we understood the power of publicly stating our thoughts on important matters. There was greater clarity. Rather than the journey to authenticity feeling elusive, it was suddenly something we could see and touch.
So with that said, our “Statement of No’s” are as follows:
No to Cultural Hierarchies
Many of us have been subject to the pain and suffering that comes when one culture is held in higher esteem than another culture. We expect our members to approach interacting with new cultures as something beautiful leading to greater understanding and deeper empathy. Each culture will have its own unique merits and flaws. We might not agree with said culture and that’s okay. You might be really proud of your culture and that’s perfectly cool. But no culture is superior. They are all just different. Quite simply put, if you feel that the culture you come from is superior, stay where you are. There’s no space for big egos and arrogance in our community.
No to Antagonising Communication
Don’t say inflammatory things just to be controversial. We’re the first ones to jump in for a frank, authentic discussion about matters related to the human existence and beyond. But frank communication and deliberately hurtful communication are two different things.
No to Microaggressions
We wrote a pretty extensive section about this which you’ll soon be able to view on our website. But the long and short of it is: don’t do mean things that will make others feel unwelcome. In our guidelines, we went on to define what microaggressions might look like, which means there’s no excuse for this behaviour.
No to Bullying
Intimidating behaviour will not be tolerated. Verbal. Physical. Psychological. Whatever it is, if it looks like bullying, we don’t want it.
No to Harassment
This section covered verbal, physical and sexual harassment. We also covered online harassment.
No to Negative Peer Pressure
If someone opts out of an activity or a conversation, it’s unacceptable to try and force that person into a corner and make them feel uncomfortable. We’re all for stepping out of your comfort zone and encouraging growth in each other, but if a person is subject to an unhelpful kind of pressure, it’s gone too far.
No to Reckless Behaviour
Yes to adventure. Yes to taking reasonable risk where it isn’t illegal. But behaviour that endangers yourself and other people is not a community-friendly philosophy. For us, that also means no to substance abuse and reckless behaviour under the influence of alcohol.
No to Disrespect
Respect is one of our core values. We’re saying “No” to disrespecting each other and the local communities we visit. We’re saying no to disrespecting the cultural heritage of the places we visit as well the cultures we all come from. We’re saying no to disrespecting team members - feedback is welcome, but disrespect isn’t.
And that about sums us up.
Our stance on anti-racism is a matter that we’ll tackle separately, but of course, it’s a huge, resounding “NO!” to racism and the persecution of minority groups.
We built this community on shared values. Now, we’re adding the details to leave no doubt of how we live out those values.
There’s so much power in doing it. It’s a statement that outlines not just who we are but who we, unapologetically, are not.