In Praise of Slow and Community

I visited Vancouver for the first time in over two years this month. It made me appreciate Montenegro for a couple of its unique traits.

The first being the incredible sense of community that is present there.

When I was walking the streets of Vancouver, considered one of the cities with the highest “quality of living” in the world, you cannot help but notice the homelessness and panhandling.

In Montenegro you see non of that. So even though the country has a relatively low average per capita income and very few social institutions to protect those in need, there is nobody left out on the street at night; nobody begging for food or money. No matter how little anyone has, there is always room to help a neighbour, family member, friend or stranger. The only apparent exceptions to begging are the Roma people.

Peter Block has written an excellent book entitled “Community” about how modern society is plagued by fragmentation. The people of Montenegro seem to have taken some positive lessons from his book.

The other thing you notice in Vancouver are the vast numbers of people walking around (often quickly) with big paper cups full of coffee. With the exception of the Costa Coffee shops at the airports, you never see Montenegrins walking around with their coffee in throw away cups.

They always take the time to sit with friends, have a conversation, and enjoy their coffee.

As I sit in my London hotel room about to continue my journey back to Tivat, I look forward with anticipation to the sense of community, respect of time and the slower pace of life that Montenegro has to offer.