Third Culture Kids (3CK for short) are people who grow up between several cultures – home in none or all of them. Kids who grow up between several countries, whose parents move around the globe – children of diplomats or military families, of emigrants and expats, of parents from two different countries or cultures.
A recent discussion about the notion of 3CK got me thinking. Because almost everything about my life spells 3CK – except, well, my heritage.
See, I grew up in Germany, with German parents, didn’t move at all until I was 18. Had it ended there, there wouldn’t be much to report. But then I started to move about and my life changed quite a bit. I moved within Germany a couple of times, spent some time in the US, studied in Australia. Started traveling more and made more friends in other countries and time zones. Married an American who grew up between the US and Germany (mostly in Germany actually), which means our relationship is half German, half English. In my work it’s mostly English and some German. My job has me travel a lot and work with people around the globe.
My travel and work history probably has something to do with it.
In other words, my life pretty much feels like a Third Culture Kid, confused time zones and languages and pop cultural references and all. And I’m not alone in this, I think a sizeable part of my peer group feels the same.
One of the widgets on my dashboard I use daily.
Unlike many of my friends, I don’t identify with the label of 3CK. A true Third Culture Kid wouldn’t recognize me as a fellow 3CK, yet to The Local People I probably often seem to be a weird global nomad of sort, a Technomad as Sean Bonner refers to this kind of lifestyle.
So I’m wondering: What’s the equivalent of 3CK for people who don’t formally match the criteria? Is it Technomad? Something else, and if so, what? How does this group self-identify, and how large is it? Maybe there are so many of us that it isn’t even worth pointing out?
Mentally I refer to the whole bunch as The Tribe, particularly if their global nomad life is also powered by jobs in technology and run through the web. Close to Technomads, but not quite. A subset, maybe?
Curious to find out what other labels there are, what identifiers, social signifiers, etc. Any pointers welcome!