Jim and Dorianne are the type of roamers you really want to get to know better. While the couple has been roaming with us in Miami for quite a few months now, there’s always something new to discover with these two. Wise and well traveled, Jim and Dorianne have taught us everything from how to drink wine to meditating and being better leaders. As leading academics and public speakers who like many of us, traded the comforts of traditional living for something more “roamantic”, they’ve been a wonderful addition to our Miami family. We sat down with Jim and Dorianne to learn more about what really gets them moving and shaking. Like, really.
Where were you guys before coming to Roam?
D: We were in Europe for about six months. Last June we left the U.S. to go to Spain, so we were in Spain for six weeks, we had an apartment. And then we were in Prague for about a week and then Ukraine for three weeks, we were invited to speak at a conference on Creative Living with Peace, Purpose and Possibility. We were both speakers as well as we gave workshops at this conference for a group of people who are in a spiritually oriented community, and it was quite an experience going to Ukraine. And then after that we went to Poland, we were in Kraków for ten days at another conference that I was speaking at which was an academic conference, and then U.K. for about five weeks.
How come you get to go to all these conferences? What’s the background story there?
[Lots of laughter…]
D: Well, maybe we should start at the beginning.
J: Let’s start at the beginning.
D: Almost two years ago we made a decision to sell our house in California, and we sold our house, our cars, our furniture, and we put the rest in storage and said we were going to travel until we figure out where we were going to live (with a strong desire to live in Europe). So, two years ago we also went to Europe and spent almost six months there, then came back, and spent some time here, so we’ve been back and forth. And we spent some time in Mexico learning Spanish. I can move around as much as I want because I consult and coach, and we’re both writing and speaking and I do some work with academia and then some in just the regular business world.
What kinds of topics?
D: Leadership, self-awareness, building one’s own consciousness. In fact, I’m editing a book on authentic leadership right now. And then I do a lot of work with leaders and helping them with their organizations and how their organization is structured and creating an environment that people feel they have a sense of purpose and a fulfillment in the work they’re doing.
Amazing. And you, Jim?
JM: Well, I retired in the beginning of 2015 as a Minister, pulpit Minister, in an organization called Center for Spiritual Living. It’s kind of a new thought, metaphysical organization. I had been doing that for about twenty years after I retired from my first career, which was in law enforcement and I worked here in Miami Dade County as a police officer. So I’ve lived in this area for twenty-five years, so that’s how we ended up here. Dorianne said, “Where do you want to spend the winter?” and I said “South Florida”, and then we found Roam. So it was a good, good connection.
Have you ever co-lived before?
JM: I have for brief periods in our organization. We have a young adult ministry called The Launching Pad, where people between the age of 18 and 32 can spend up to two years in residence to kind of get launched into the world from a supportive environment. So I’ve spent up to two to three weeks at a time there, which is a simile. They have a big house and you have a room, some people eat together, some don’t, that kind of thing. So I’ve had that experience, but just in very small chunks.
What do you think about the idea of co-living in the 21st century? I feel that as the future of work shifts, and we become more location independent, the concept of home has changed.
D: Well, when we were young, there was a whole idea of a commune, you know the idea of a community kind of in similar concept, except…
JM: …there was no money. [Lots of laughter]
D: Yea, well not that there was only no money, it was more about living off the land and I don’t know, people were living in communities that were away from cities and that kind of thing. This takes a very small slice of that idea but it’s combining it with a really different focus. I mean, the people that we’re meeting here, they really do want to do something good in the world, right? They’re creating businesses, or they’re doing non-profit work, or they’re doing something, but they’re actively involved in stuff that’s going on and creating, and so I like that. I do think, again from my perspective of organizations, work organizations around the world of all my experience in organizations, that the big, monolithic, corporate idea is going to go away over time. I don’t think those are sustainable. The giants are going to start to crumble.
Wouldn’t that be nice!
D: Yes, and so what I think is happening is that there’s this emergence of new ways of being and working and creating, and so this is one example. I think its still kind of in evolution and experimentation, right? They’re not very many co-living and co-working places around the world.
JM: Yea, well I think…people have always wanted to travel and now the technology and the way the economy works is enabling that more, so I think that’s part of what allows this kind of concept to work. I don’t think its anything new that young people want to see the world or have the freedom to do that. Everybody that we’ve talked to about this idea seems to think it’s a great idea. Not that they’re necessarily going to do it, most people our age are too settled.
Although I think again, at our age you get other windows to open up, because the kids have moved out, and things like that, so we have had some folks in our demographic who have shown up here and I think that’ll continue to be a factor. So it’s kind of the young and the old…
Most people at this stage in life are settled in some kind of way. A lot of people come up with excuses for not stepping out into the world and facing things and starting a new lifestyle at this stage. What was it for you that gave you the push?
Well I think we both love to travel and I think it was just recognizing an opportunity to move away from what we were good at but wasn’t feeding our souls at the level it could have. So it was a, “let’s explore for a while and meet new people and have different experiences and see what that does to the decisions we make about how we live the rest of our lives.”
D: Yea, I also think for me an important aspect of the work I do, the teaching that I do, and the helping people is to help people how to learn to shift their perspectives. That’s actually something I write about is the knowing of your own worldview and being able to see the world views of others. And so, what better way than to travel and go to different places? But not just be there as tourists but to actually live among the people who are living there. So whenever we’ve gone someplace, we try to rent an Airbnb or apartment somewhere where there are no tourists, where there’s no expats, where only the language spoken is the language of the place, and not that we can speak that language but I try to learn a little bit of it. That’s how you get the experience of really being somewhere and understanding someone else’s world views. So for me, that would be a big part of the underlying is actually experiencing what it is I’m trying to teach.
Right, exactly. I think that if more people would find ways to take that leap and to really get to the underlying “why” of what they want to do, there will be a bigger shift in consciousness.
D: It’s mindboggling, isn’t it?
JD: Yea, it is but it isn’t at the same time. I feel like people are being handed a little bit of what they need to to see and to experience, and perhaps that’s what is going to make people understand a little bit that hey, it’s time to be active and be a member of society if you want to keep certain things from happening.
Have you been doing any kind of workshops here or talks on these subjects?
D: Yea, I’ve been facilitating a meditation session a few times a week. We’ve talked about the idea.
JM: I’m speaking at some of the centers near; I’m speaking in Fort Lauderdale Sunday and Boca Raton in a couple of weeks.
What are you speaking about specifically?
JM: Well, it’s a different topic each week at the spiritual community. There’s a workshop that I do called “Are you a Spiritual Edgewalker?” That basically looks at your orientation to change and coming to identify that and seeing how you work with other people and how change needs to happen for you first. You know, some people are very much all about change and they’re bored if something isn’t changing, other people are dragged kicking and screaming into change and we understand that there are innate orientations to that that’s helpful for leaders to understand how to facilitate change and so forth. That’s one workshop.
I think it’s important for people who are having this lifestyle; to have access to this information.
JM: Sure. I’m sure the people who come here are the ones to go home for family holidays and are looked at as the odd duck. Like, “I don’t know what they’re doing but they’re doing something,” you know that kind of thing.
[Lots of laughter]
JM: And I think we’ve always been those kinds of people anyway. You know if not in terms of relocating and in terms of our spiritual and political outlooks and things like that, so you know, we have a lot of people praying for us.
Ah, that’s hilarious. Well it’s working! Because now we have two more locations open so you’ve got opportunities to just actually live in five different countries if you want.
You know, I think there will be more and more people who want this kind of lifestyle but it isn’t for everybody. There are some people that are really total introverts and they are kind of fearful. We were talking earlier about fear, how fear is systemic in the world and some people are just fearful about uprooting themselves and moving from place to place, so those people are probably not going to be attracted to this kind of a community.
JM: …As much, unless they can find a room and stay in their room.
[Lots of laughter]
D: Yea, and what’s the point of that though, right? When you come to a co-living, co-working community, you want to have people around you.
But again, it’s fear. Sharing your experiences with others makes a huge difference.
JM: I think, a lot of the entrepreneurs and young people here are very young and they have incredible smarts and they know the technology. What they lack is life experience in many cases, especially in terms of business life experiences, you know, and also, your own personal growth. It takes time to grow up. So I think if its something that we could bring it would be more that kind of (I hate to use this term but) wisdom of the elder’s kind of thing.
JM: Yea, guidance, thank you.
D: Anyway, so you know that’s been really interesting because we love being around young adults, because they’re just more open, it seems like, you know and so forth. That’s one of the real attractions for us about being here…it kind of fits our lifestyle in terms of what we’re doing now. We’re not leaving a home behind, you know, we’re carrying it with us.
JM: I’m sure you’ve seen the picture of the horse tied to a plastic chair that doesn’t move even though it could just walk away. And I think that’s the way a lot of people are with home and possessions and the idea, because you know you’re taught, this is what you’re supposed to have and supposed to want and at some point it may become that its not anymore, but it’s still hard to separate from the idea because “there must be something wrong with me if I don’t want the American dream”. It’s kind of underlying, and its fear like you were saying, its attachment to something that you think you’re supposed to want.
Because I don’t think there are too many structures out there that support people that decide that they don’t want that. You’re kind of left on your own, right? When you follow the herd and you’re on this systematic way, you know that you have someone to catch you. There’s always a backup. If something doesn’t happen, I’ll just do this. If this happens, I’ll do that or I can go here. There’s a support system to support that old idea.
JM: Yea, good point.
D: There’s no support system for this new way. And that’s why I think it’s important for us to be very verbal and very supportive of the community by saying, “Hey, there are ways, there is a support system and you can do these things.” And I think it’d be cool to share some of that with our Roamers. In writing and in workshops, I think it’d be great to do something together. Shall we?