December is usually a time for reflection on a personal and professional level. And it’s also when businesses, like our own company, review what happened this year and what needs to be improved.
We won’t talk about figures, statistics and all that. We have in mind to start a conversation about the transformative aspect of traveling. Our friend, Eric Glustrom, Founder of Watson University, gives you an idea of how traveling can be transformative.
Traveling on different levels
You can travel just going to one place and spending the time in the hotel area. Hotels offer comfort, luxury, food and drinks all the time and nice swimming pools. You are definitely in a comfort zone, moving from your room to your pool and some shady places within the hotel area. The difference to your home place is maybe only the weather and the people are maybe also nicer.
You can travel on a road trip where to way is the goal. You may have or have no end destination. Your main variables defining the end of your travel are either time (e.g. being back before the semester or work begins) or money. On the road you don’t really care how and where you sleep. You don’t wanna get sick and enjoy the time. In fact, you could be on the bicycle, on the motorcycle, walking or in the car or van. The important thing is the movement.
A mixture of hotel and road travel is couch travel which refers to traveling in the couch surfing way. In this case you are often on low budget — but it doesn’t have to be like that. Couch traveling enables you to live in any kind of home (family house, single apartment, low-income apartment, run-down something, etc.) as long as it is offered through platforms like the world’s best known called Couchsurfing or other ways like friends or connections you made on the road.
The adventurer inside you is definitely awake when you travel like that because your time in the place where you stay is limited and you always will need to look for and arrange a new temporary place to sleep.
A comfort zone won’t build up in this kind of traveling, although you can be lucky or have good friends who can host you longer than a few days in very nice apartments or houses.
Definitely one of the most popular ways to travel. You take a backpack, not too small, not too big. It’s your permanent companion. Backpacking can mean that you use couch surfing, that you travel permanently on the road or stay in hotels (or hostels). It’s therefore only the term that is different from the types of travel mentioned before. No type of traveling is exclusive to one another.
Transformation in our understanding means that you as a person or professional experience a transformation through an intense, immersive travel-learning journey. One month is ideal for the transformation to take place, and is the ideal length we are aiming for — like in Colombia (March / April 2015).
Transformation takes places on different levels and in different qualities. What every transformation has in common is that it reveals a quality, skill, wish, etc. that was covered deep inside you. The magic of traveling, learning, doing good and connecting (the four central pillars of ON BOARD) provoke this uncovering or discovery process. Of course you will see super nice, breath-taking places. Of course you will these profound conversations you have been looking for in every day life. And yes, you will meet outstanding people who inspire you and initiate a mindset of possibilities and options — a mindset of abundance (“more”) instead of a mindset of scarcity (“less”).
But the most important thing is what happens to you and your environment in a social, economical, ecological, spiritual and (also) political sense. After an ON BOARD learning journey a lot can happen to you if you allow. So, you need to be willing that things happen to you. If you are open for transformation, transformation will happen. If you are unwilling to open up, you don’t allow transformation to happen. It’s like with hypnosis: It will only work if you allow it to work.
Therefore, pure willingness is the most crucial prerequisite for personal and professional transformation. Two past participants told us what they thought about their experience and the impact it had on them:
Marion Gabioud, from Switzerland:
ON BOARD is not an «anonymous» organization. To me, it is Alex, Marcela & Camilo, and all the other people who made me live 30-days of travel in Colombia, co-travellers as well as contacts carefully (and amazingly!) chosen by the On Board team, giving me the opportunity to meet special people who had a true will and a true love in them, that they were just incredibly open to share! It made me more conscious of what is done in this country, who believes in its value, and just opened my mind again to how I can change what I want in my own life to live more in adequation to my philosophy.
Traveling with a special team and other travellers willing to see the places with new eyes, meet people who share stories and put yourself at the place of the others while living besides them, in their houses, drinking their freshly picked coffee or tasting the cheese made with the cow’s milk you’ve milked the same morning!
Jorge Aristizabal, from Colombia:
For me ON BOARD was an awakening moment, it was that small push that I needed to get me moving in the direction of my dreams. It can be so deep and so light at the same time that I learned the biggest things about myself at the same time we were joking and hanging around.