My recent trip to New Zealand wasn’t for soaking up the scenery or to visit hobbit holes, although I did manage to get out to some of the beaches on the North Island. Insetad, the reason I flew across the Pacific Ocean was to participate in Kiwi Foo, aka Baa Camp, organized by my friend Nat Torkington. He’s been trying to get me to go down for years and this year, I finally was able to make it.
Nat’s taken the Foo Camp formula and made it distinctively Kiwi. Instead of being hosted by a corporate sponsor, it takes place in the school that Nat’s kids go to—the same one that he went to school when he was a lad. It was a good vibe for an unconference. The tableau of being in a school only reinforced the idea that we were all there to learn from each other and participate in the intentional community that was formed for the weekend.
As a private unconference, all the discussions were off the record and some of the attendees took serious advantage of being able to talk frankly. More than a few conversations went deep into some serious territory. But then, everyone still managed cut loose and have fun—including building a hover chair, playing the inevitable game of werewolf, and jamming late, late into the night.
It was an interesting being an American attending a distinctly New Zealand based event. In some ways, New Zealand is the least foreign country I’ve been to in a very long time. In others, they’re very aware of being a small country that’s a long way away from anywhere else. More aware of it than they should be, as far as I’m concerned. As the globe continues to effectively flatten thanks to the Internet, many of the people attending Kiwi Foo have the chance to live the dream of many: Live where they want and work on things that matter to them while being connected to the world and participating in the global community at large.