Travel Means To Touch Lives

To understand how travel means to touch lives, to travel with the purpose of meeting locals. Read about an encounter Joao from Learn To Travel Team had when hitchhiking to the airport to start his journey to South America.

Learn to travel

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles”Tim Cahill.

A start on the right foot – Journey to the airport

We are a team of 12, and on this day we only had a ride for 8 to the airport.  4 of us decided to hitchhike. Day started with some light rain, and we were left off at the Circle K in Lillehammer.

After a cold, shy start we weren’t being fortunate. Most of the people who went to the airport had their cars full while others lived nearby. I was confident that people would avoid us, as we carried huge backpacks and insecure faces asking for a favor. The opposite happened: people were interested in helping and genuinely sad for not being able to give us a ride. Some even went out of their way to get us a driver by asking in nearby shops.

Even if no luck for a journey, this was a good chance to have conversations with these people and a lift of positive spirit.

From strangers to friends

Well, at that point we didn’t have the faintest idea of who Lisa was, but I soon came to find out. Our driver was in a desperate state of excitement, smiling, laughing and checking his phone often. After some chit-chat, the initial excitement calmed down. The people in the back started to chat in Hungarian, and I went into a more private conversation with the driver.

The story

It didn’t take long to figure out that that restlessness he was feeling was a consequence of something: Our driver lived in Lillehammer and his girlfriend, Lisa, lived in Oslo. They had had a fight, and our driver was upset that Lisa just told him very solidly that something happened with her and another person. She didn’t care to explain, abruptly hanging up the call which is when he had decided to drive himself to Oslo in a desperate attempt to be able to reach her. “I need to get my other phone back.” was the excuse he was telling himself.

Hitchhiking to airport


I felt very sympathetic. Situations like this where communication, the basis of any relationship, is cut down intentionally by a loved one can be very revolting. I felt his restlessness as if it was my own.That conversation he planned on having with her was not going to have any positive outcome. I saw him as an honest man with honest feelings. Clearly, this woman was caring more for her personal interests above their relationship.

Asking the right questions – Travel means to touch lives

This conversation stretched for about two hours, as we were analysing, very rationally, what it all meant. I felt like I couldn’t help more since I didn’t know either of them, so I did my best to guide his thoughts and feelings to be organised and settled. After a profound observation of himself, he went quiet, and I respected his silence.

He took us to the airport!!

Almost in Oslo, he left the highway into Gardermoen airport’s direction. “I’m taking you there.” – He said. We, of course, said that he already had done enough for us, but he proceeded to explain. “I don’t need my phone. That’s just a bad excuse. I was going to Oslo to barge into her house and cause a fight that wouldn’t bring any of us any good. That would humiliate me as a man and deepen the feeling that I am worth nothing to her. I don’t want to be this person, I want to travel and look out for myself. I believe things happen for a reason. The reason I picked you up was so you would prevent me from doing something I would regret. I will take you to the airport and enjoy the rainy ride back to Lillehammer”.

I couldn’t leave him without a hug. A heartfelt embrace of two random strangers left me feeling like I was readier than ever, to go.

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You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore – Christopher Columbus

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BTP period – 3 months

Returning to school with heads and hands full of new knowledge and energy for Bringing it to the Public. Meeting with the team, showing, telling, exchanging experiences and making it common knowledge.

Producing articles, pamphlets, videos, presentations, exhibitions, speeches for debate forums, books and more. Studying further the curriculum in Fighting with The Poor, bringing the truth to the public. 

Going to different schools around Europe to spread the new knowledge in various creative ways – speeches, newspaper articles, lectures at universities and colleges, debates and other public events, exhibitions – leading to a better understanding and inspiring to take an action.

Passing the final exams in Fighting with The Poor. Using the last months together to conclude our future perspectives and possible ways of improving The Poor’s quality in life with humble ways of sharing knowledge.

Volunteer period – 6 months

The Project Work in Africa or India in cooperation with Humana People to People. In this period, you can work at:

  • Teacher training colleges
  • Educating teachers for rural areas
  • Vocational schools for young people
  • Schools for street children.Preschools
  • Sanitation and hygiene in rural areas
  • Tree planting campaigns
  • Raising funds for social projects by forming partnerships and selling second hand clothes and shoes
  • Stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS (following the program TCE/Total Control of the Epidemic)

Arriving at the project in Africa or India, having left behind a courageous journey where fundamental human capabilities have been turned around, refreshed and energised by knowing that things such as travelling can be done in a totally different way than the mainstream tourist travelling.

Ready for doing the work needed at the project, bringing plans and materials from the previous periods. Getting to know the people at the project, the vision and idea of the project and the many concrete tasks to be carried out.

Carrying out the tasks as defined within the necessities of the project and by the Project Leadership. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with The Poor: building preschools, starting Garden Farming, doing literacy campaigns, eradicating malaria, teaching about big issues of our time while working as a teacher at DNS, starting income-generating activities, working as a TCE Special Force in the fight against HIV/AIDS – as a few examples.

Studying and working with your Specialisation in Fighting with The Poor, finalising with a People’s Exam and a written thesis at the end of the period. Acquiring skills in information work: making interviews, taking notes and pictures, writing summaries and reports, recording videos.

Living together with the people at the project, being a good example of living a humble life while improving things with small means to make daily life better.

Travel period – 3 months

Living on the road, being on the move, finding means of transport and places to sleep, talking to people on the road, being curious to understand and know about the countries you are traveling through.

Making investigations, meeting people, visiting their workplaces, staying in their homes, understanding their problems, meeting their culture and values and sharing thoughts with them about the world and the future.

Telling people about your venture to a third world country, trying out bringing it to the public what you have so far experienced and learned. Putting up investigations on a higher level, asking tough questions to self and to the group, getting hold of more answers and putting up new questions.

Taking notes and pictures, writing reports and discussing the seen and the experienced.
Finding good ways of sticking together in the Trios and in the group as such during the travel period.

Study Period – 6 months

At this school, you will find that learning is not first and foremost about listening to the teacher.

The school’s Program consists of a range of intense and spirited activities, theoretical studies and experiences that constitute the sum of learning and life processes carried through by a group of people who for a considerable period of time share a Program with each other that demands cooperation and efforts, and which at the same time is sprinkled with elements that are inspiring and also quite out of the ordinary.

Thus, learning will also take place through communication, deliberations, through working out your plan for learning and sticking to it, and putting to use what you learned, the methods you used, the ideas you got from it and the results you harvested from the training.

You will train yourself in being adventurers and survivors, living and traveling under very humble conditions, not using much money and always finding a way out by ingenuity, being smart and sticking together with your teammates.