- March 23, 2016
- Posted by: Anjana Sreedhar
- Category: Ambassador, Partner, Wednesday Wisdom
What are the opportunities to grow personally and professionally from a travel experience? Marcela Fernández, founder of ON BOARD, one of EA’s newest partners, is a globetrotter and life-long education-hacking journeyer. She enjoys meeting people and new cultures. She has also helped victims of natural disasters, e.g. typhoon Yolanda in 2013 (PhilippiNOW) and was confronted with human tragedies of war in her home country, Colombia.
Now 25 she visited 50 countries, lived in 7 of them, and learned 6 languages (French, Spanish, Italian, English, Portuguese and German).
She’s on a journey to live out and prove that non-traditional educational paths can be viable options for young people by creating her career as a Flow Consultant. With “EduAction” she’s working on a documentary as a side-project about alternative education projects as a way to spend your gap year or replace it for a formal university path.
Being passionate about making the world better, she’s now co-creating On Board, a mobile outdoor classroom where mindful, continuously moving students learn, travel and make an impact in the communities they visit.
She is a TED speaker, has been on stage in 8 different countries giving more than 40 talks distributing 2,000 “unforgettable moments” coupon books to help people find their flow.
“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.“
― Augustine of Hippo
This quote has become more and more popular these days and although we agree with it, we want to add the ON BOARD vision to it.
Let the world be everyone’s classroom.
If we don’t use traveling as an engine to learn we are missing an immense opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
Granted, it’s not always easy. Nowadays, traveling has turned into a way to escape from reality where we only do it for the sake of it – this is what counts. We doubt that.
We believe in the power of transformative traveling and created a program that was urgently needed but didn’t exist before. It’s called ON BOARD and the metaphor of a school bus that uses traveling as the most authentic way to learn — from local mentors in a small group of travelers from all around the world.
One of the reasons why ON BOARD exists is because we believe we are lacking more spaces for inspiration in our life. The journeys you go on with us can become that space where you can connect deeply with yourself, the community of travelers you will be learning and traveling with, and the country that you visit.
We visit, talk, observe and learn from local communities to eventually exchange our travelers’ talents with the needs of the local people — avoiding a paternalistic approach.
We discover the destinations we visit through the eyes of the locals. Our program participants enter the country as a tourist, transform into a traveler and become an ambassador of the country when we leave it again.
We are ON BOARD. A “rites of passage” facilitation where seekers are welcome to discover a new way of traveling. More conscious. More sustainable. More transformative.
The why behind ON BOARD is also the belief that one person traveling around the world or in any destination can’t really make much impact, but a group of travelers with different stories and talents can do it.
As the founder of ON BOARD, I consider myself a nomad, but as a backpacker, it was hard for me sometimes to identify myself with the way people were traveling and I felt sometimes like a misfit, longing for different experiences.
I also decided to take an alternative education path and started a documentary and a research about the future of education. The creation of ON BOARD was the result of learning about many programs and realizing that there was a need for a new program where traveling and learning could become one.
We have done experiences in Colombia, Slovenia and Guatemala so far and this semester, we are planning new and exciting destinations.
One of the communities we visited in Colombia is an indigenous tribe that lives out of the organic coffee that they sell. Because of our visit and learning about their context and reality we were able to connect them with people that could help them export their incredible coffee.
Also, visiting Slovenia we had the chance to have a great fair trade organization and experts as mentors and they were so fascinated about the experience in Colombia that they decided to create a group and do a learning journey about coffee that we organized for them.
What a traveler can get out of ON BOARD is a scope of many possibilities, not only long lasting relationships with fellow travelers, mentors, and people they will meet in the country we visit, but also the opportunity to expand the learning curve in every aspect and even find opportunities not only to help but to awaken the entrepreneur inside you.
Some participants join ON BOARD because they already have a program or idea in mind that they want to develop and after the journey it becomes clearer for them that this is not only what they want to do but they have the tools and skills to pursue it.
ON BOARD allows you to grow personally and professionally and take every lesson you learn while traveling an apply it into your daily life.
People will get a better understanding of who they are thanks to the facilitated workshops that we lead during the journey and specially the kind of life they would like to live and how can that be possible.
ON BOARD allows people to learn how to travel differently and how it is possible be an eternal travel-learner and understand our world as a classroom.
Wednesday Wisdom is a weekly series curated by Everyday Ambassador Partnerships Manager Anjana Sreedhar. Every Wednesday, we will feature updates from our partners and reflections from the Everyday Ambassador community. To stay current with our latest posts, follow #wednesdaywisdom or #wordstoliveby on our other platforms, and check back regularly for updates.