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How to Join a Commune

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Have you ever fantasized about dropping out of mainstream society and joining a commune? Today there are plenty of intentional communities, and joining so can actually be a realistic option for some people. There are, however, plenty of considerations that you should keep in mind when investigating the possibility.

Do some initial research into existing communes, now generally called intentional communities. The Federation of Egalitarian Communities is a good resource, with information about a wide variety of communal living situations, ranging from a few people to the size of a small village. Learn about the different types and features of various communes.

Consider your priorities and the lifestyle you are hoping to achieve. Do you want to live in a city or the country? In what climate or part of the world? With how many other people? What type of work would you like to do? How much personal property or income do you want to own individually, and how much do you want to share?

Narrow down the list of potential communities. Figure out which have the features you are looking for, or at least most of them.

Research the specific communes you are considering further by looking up their websites or contacting them directly for more information. As well as learning about their features, investigate their admission policies.

Arrange to visit any communities that seem like potential matches. When you visit, make sure to ask plenty of questions, talk to a number of different members, and directly experience as much of the group's lifestyle as possible. If you enjoy your stay, you may be able to begin making arrangements to become a member at this time.

Decide if life in a commune is for you, and if so, which one is the best match. Start settling your affairs in your current life, such as quitting your job, storing or getting rid of any property you won't be taking with you and preparing for your move.

Many communes begin with a trial period for new members. When you join, be clear about expectations and rules, and do your best to fit into the local culture. Take the time to figure out whether permanent membership is right for you.

Tip

Many communes permit visits from people who aren't seriously considering membership. If you're somewhat interested in the possibility but unsure of how seriously to proceed, try visiting one or two to see whether you enjoy the experience.

Warning

Beware of any groups that pressure you to join or make it difficult to carefully weight the pros and cons of membership. There are plenty of legitimate communities around.

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