It’s no big hardship driving through the Rocky Mountains to Calgary at this time of year: gorgeous, relaxing and, with a totally dry road, not even risky.

But last weekend’s drive up proved to be exhilarating for an entirely different reason: the trip’s goal. This time it truly was the destination, not the journey, that made the trip worthwhile.

I went up for an afternoon (1 pm – 8 pm, to be exact) meeting of CAROP, the Canadian Association of Rent to Own Professionals’, annual summit, AGM and dinner.

Now, why would this be exciting, you ask? Well, I can think of three reasons:

First, it helps us grow a network of ethical and professional operators of rent 2 own programs that hold each other accountable to high standards, and thereby build credibility for the industry and confidence in our clients and prospective clients. We want them to know they can trust us, and everything we do to build the professional standards and to build the only association that holds rent 2 own operators accountable, the better it is for everyone involved.

Second, we operators learn from each other. Despite coming from a variety of provinces—three were represented at this meeting—and operating a range of slightly different models, we all have something to contribute to each other, to make us all better. We care that each other succeeds, and that each others’ clients succeed. “How do you handle such-and-such a situation?’ we ask each other. “How do you tweak your model when the market isn’t as robust?” “or when it’s rising too rapidly?” “How do we deal with the new CMHC rules?”

The questions are endless; the discussion could go on longer than the time allotted.

The third reason is simply the joy, and comfort, of being with “my kind of people.” For many of us, being fairly isolated from each other, we don’t often interact with “our kind.” It’s a little like an annual celebration of the tribe. We definitely complete our assembly with a “celebration dinner.”

And that’s how it relates to many of us, I think, because everyone knows that feeling to some extent. We live within social and work settings that are unique. We may have friends, work colleagues, or business partners who share many things with us, but not all of them. Sometimes we feel that we don’t have enough of the type of people around us that fully understand and appreciate our unique situations in life.

Until we have these tribal celebrations.

I witness them all the time. When I go to Sicamous to maintain my houseboat, I tend to patronize the local Timmy’s for an early breakfast (and free wifi). There’s always a table there with eight or ten cap-wearing, blue-collar, borderline retired, types, laughing, joking, sharing their joys and sorrows (“I just had my last visit to my oncologist,” I overheard on the latest visit), commiserating over a range of topics. Mostly truck drivers, I’m guessing, given the long line of parked rigs outside.

Not exactly my tribe, but clearly a tribe having their periodic mini-celebration with people of like mind. I doubt the group is ever the same as last time—they likely come and go, depending on who’s in town this particular morning–but they seem to have this “shared understanding of life.” (At least, that’s what I pick up from the overheard conversation while I peck away at my lap-top, perhaps composing my next blog post.)

Medical doctors tend to have annual tribal celebrations in winter, often in Hawaii, I’m told. Many other professionals, from our area at least, tend to have fall tribal celebrations in Whistler. Many seniors, I’ve witnessed, tend to have these tribal moments almost daily at the Bourquin Ave. McDonald’s. And then there’s another tribe I see in the Mall, often huddled around a chess board.

Then there are those tribal celebrations, more youthy in appearance, huddled around board games in basement suites. Or partying on the Fort Lauderdale beaches during spring break.
Of course, there are also the family tribal celebrations, at Christmas or Thanksgiving, at funerals or weddings or birthday parties.
Tribal celebrations are everywhere because we, as humans, need them. . . to identify with, and to celebrate, our kind!
At least, that’s how I see it . . .

Quote of the Week:
Life should not only be lived; it should be celebrated. – Osho